Hand Carved Hanging Bar Sign




Introduction: Hand Carved Hanging Bar Sign

About: Dad of two and habitual shed dweller

I have been helping a friend build a bar on the back room of his garage, but he's an in demand mechanic and his hectic timetable wasn't giving me the usual level of fix I need from a project, so while I waited for him to pull his finger out I made him a bar sign.


Work bench



Kids dragon cup

Sand paper and belt sander

Cordless drill driver

Router and bits

Dremmel rotary tool


Paint brushes

Deep mahogany wood stain

Metallic gold paint

Step 1: Planning the Sign

I stole a piece of 30 mm thick 300 by 380 mm pine plank from my Dad's wood store and cleaned it up. After pouring over the fonts in word, I sent a few over to my mate and let him decide which to go with (Algerian if your interested). I used the scientific method of drawing round a kids cup to give it some shape and feature and made sure with the help of my son that there was enough space for the lettering.

I cut out the corners using a jigsaw an cleaned up the cuts with sand paper. To transfer the lettering I used a mix of free hand and a crude debossing which just involved me drawing over the text outline to leave an impression in the soft wood underneath.

Step 2: Carving the Lettering and Routing the Edge

After lightly pencilling the outline of the lettering and the scroll I had to decided what tool to use to carve the wood. The whittling knife was too large, the dremmell was great for quickly clearing the lettering, but wasn't fine enough for the detail, so I opted to use the scalpel and tidy up with the dremmell.

I cut the outline with the blade held at 90 degrees to the wood and then cut parallel lines with the blade at 45 degrees about 2 - 3 mm apart. This cleared it quickly. The shadow lines on the lettering were quite tricky, but I just used the same method of holding the blade at a 45 degree angle with closer cuts.

I did loose a few chips of wood, particularly between the edges of the lettering and shadow lines but I told my self that it gave the sign rustic character, and didn't obsess at all about how it would effect the painting later on.....

I used a very small, very smooth mounted point on the dremmell to smooth down the cuts in the lettering. Then put an roman ogee edge on the sign with my router, then I had a brew.

Step 3: The Hanging Bracket

I started with the back board, I sanded a 32 mm thick, 300 by 200 mm piece of plank and put a chamfer on the edge using the belt sander. once it was cleaned up I marked the centre of the board and then positioned a length of 50 by 35 mm over the centre of the mark and pencilled the out line of it. I also drilled and countersunk four pilot holes for the wall screws.

It was time for me to go to amateur town again, I took a hammer and chisel and slowly, carefully, methodically, cautiously hacked the hell out of it until I could just wiggle the length of timber in. It was a nice fit but I decided to screw a little support underneath just in case at some point in the future somebody decides to start a Drunkolympics and do pull ups on it (P.S. I'm trademarking Drunkolympics).

I offered up the sign and fitted two hooks for the chain. I then gave it all another fine sanding and three coats of stain.

Step 4: Painting the Sign

I gave the sign three coats of stain in total. I have to admit I was hesitant to paint the letters gold as I really liked the look of it with just the stain.

I used a fairly cheap metallic gold paint and acquired my daughters paint brush set. I found that once I had loaded the bristles with paint if I squeezed the firmly in a sheet of kitchen roll it gave me a nice flat point to get in all the nooks and crannies. It also gave me a condition I have named disco finger, double up that kitchen roll or you will have sparkly finger tips!

The small unwanted chips turned out to not be a problem as the viscosity of the paint stopped it from spreading into any voids. I was planning on giving it two coats of gold but I was happy with the finish and after not having any stray drips didn't want to push my luck and risk the greatest spill since the Exxon Valdez.

Step 5: Ta-da!

I screwed in eye hooks to the sign and the bracket and fitted 150mm of chain to each side.

In the photo it is just fixed to my shed as Boswell's Bar isn't ready for the grand opening yet.

If you have enjoyed this instructable please could you vote for it in the wood working contest!

Thank you!

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    6 years ago

    I like it! I've been thinking about making a sign for my own little garage shop for some time, and this is probably just how I'd want to do it. I like the gold - makes the letters pop and contrast nicely. Good project! :)


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you! Its a good budget project