Introduction: DIY Dremel Carved Wood Cedar Sign

Got given a slab of live edge cedar and just so happened needed a quick and easy gift. My parents have been looking for a sign for a while now and never settled on anything. We were always going to make something or we were going to buy something... but alas... never did. I picked up this router attachment for my dremel and decided now was the time. :)

Side note while I was filming all this my camera (which is also my phone) decided that it didn't want to keep the first bit of footage. Sooooo I had to use a separate piece of cedar (luckily we had some scrap available) to re-film the middle bits. That is why you will see in my photos a different piece of cedar and a much better finished product.

Step 1: Supplies

Things you'll need:

Dremel (or Rotary Tool)

Dremel Plunge Router Attachment (not Sponsored... Wish it was lol)

Router bits for the Rotary tool

Slab of Cedar (or any wood you happen to have) big enough to fit what you want to say, but also not too big - it is a sign after all.


Print out of what you want the sign to say



Wood filler (if your cedar needs it)

Palm sander and sand paper

Lots of different grits of sandpaper

Brown spray paint

Varathane high gloss outdoor finishing spray

D ring hooks

Drill or screw driver



Optional Painters Tape (although I don't recommend.)

Step 2: The Beach

Step 1 Sand. Yup. Prep the front for your work. If there are any kind of cracks, holes, or in my case bug caves (don't worry it doesn't have bugs, it's an abandoned home.) you'll also need wood filler that matches what you are working on. Fill in any really big cracks (leave the tiny ones, no one will notice) and then continue sanding. I started with an 80 grit sand paper and worked my way up to a 500 grit.

Step 3: Mark It Up

Lay out your printed out design. You can hand write what you want it to say, but it's always easier to read and lets be honest more lined up if you let the printer take care of all the measuring. lol. Clamp your print out down, not hurting your cedar, and using a pen press hard and trace all your lines right on top of your printout. This will make an indent on your cedar. From here remove the clamp and the print out. Take a pencil and scratch over the letters. It's ok to be a little messy, this will help you to see where you want to route out. Don't worry about making marks all over the top of your cedar slab, we will sand those off later.

Step 4: Pick, Route, and Go With It.

Set your plunge on your router attachment and set the depth. Once you are happy lock that in place and carve away. Safety glasses and plenty of light are a must! Follow as best you can along the pencil marks you made. Go slow and remember "the less is more" because you can always remove extra, but can't add any back. If possible try a few test passes on a scrap piece of wood.


Ok here's the kooky part. Get out your brown outdoor spray pant and paint over your letters. I know sounds like you are messing up what you just worked so hard on. This will add depth to your sign and help it be noticeable from a distance away. Choose a color spray outdoor spray pain that matches your wood. You could also use a paint brush and fill in, but I find it's just faster (and dries quicker) if you use spray paint. If you are really worried you can lay painters tape around your letters, but in my opinion, it takes way to much time and effort. Once all letters are filled in let the paint dry. I tend to over-wait just because running the palm sander over it could cause issues if your paint isn't dry. Start with your 80grit sandpaper and palm sander and work up till you feel it's smooth on your hands. I went up to 500grit. Make sure when you remove the paint with the sander to only take off the top layer of paint and not the stuff that's inside the letters. This will remove all the excess paint, your pencil markings and any other mark ups from cutting out your letters.

Step 6: Coats to Finish

Once you have sanded both the front and back to a smooth finish, go ahead and spray the front with two coats of a Verathane outdoor finish. I used a high gloss, but you can use whatever you would like, just make sure it's safe for the outside. Once that drys, two coats on the back.

I used some large D ring picture hanger hooks on the back of my sign, making sure it was level when it got hung up. Then I fed twine through the hooks and looped it around a few times. I then tied off the twine to the hooks and tested it out.

Turned out very pretty (in my biased opinion). My parents loved it as part of their Christmas gifts. Mom has it hanging out front of the house now. Hope you enjoyed! If you make a sign that was inspired by this instructuable/video - SHARE IT WITH US! We'd love to see what you came up with!

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