How to make a wooden house sign

Close up of letter carving

Cost of materials = Nil. Labour = free. In this post, I will show how I made a house sign using a piece of wooden panel from an old wooden shed and a dremel. I also used 

a computer (for the template), ordinary aquarelle (watercolour) paint, the oil I use to maintain my wooden bench, a small lint-free cloth (from the sleeve of an old shirt), an old toothbrush and disposable gloves. Tip: don’t throw out the gloves provided in your packet of hair dye as they can be used for small jobs like this one.

I made my design playing with different fonts on Word. As my sign was 63cm x 14cm, I had to print the letters onto two pieces of A4 paper. Tip: as you might have to print your artwork a few times until you are happy with the size and position on the paper, select a light grey font so that you don’t waste black ink. Print your final artwork on self-adhesive paper so you can stick it to the piece of wood.

Using goggles, roughly follow the lines of your print-out with the dremel. Remove the paper so you can finish off the carving, making all the letters the same depth.

Letters drawn from paper template

Sand down any unwanted raised bits, brush off the carved letters and clean the work area.

Painting the sign makes the letters stand out. I used ordinary watercolour paint.

Painted carved letter in wooden house sign

Protecting the wood is very important to prevent it from rotting. I used oil here because that’s all I had, but varnish would have been just as good.

Oil on painted carved letter in wooden house sign

After three generous coats of oil, waiting 6 hours between each coat, this is the result:

Oiled, painted and carved wooden house sign

It is now ready to be nailed into its final position.

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