DIY Vinyl and Wood Signs

Have you ever been to the craft, department or home décor store and loved all the fun wooden signs they have for sale? We're thinking specifically of the type of signs someone might hang in their dining room, offering a funny or sincere quotation, or maybe the ones for your bedroom, with a saying about your favorite hobby and a matching image. These signs are great for decorating with, firstly because they make great conversation pieces, and secondly because they can tell your guests a lot about who you are and what you like.

There’s just one problem, however. The signs you’ll find at a store are all pre-made and mass-produced. While they’re still funny and potentially applicable, they aren’t personalized for you. What if you’re thinking of decorating the living room wall with a wooden sign that has your last name on it? Or what if you’re thinking of the perfect gag gift to give a friend — an inside joke emblazoned on a wooden sign?

In cases like these, the words and phrases you’re looking for won’t be available in a store. It’s up to you to design and make these signs yourself.

Don't worry, there's no need to panic. We know that might sound like an intimidating prospect, but it’s much easier than you might think. With vinyl decals on wood, you can easily achieve the customized sign you’ve been looking for, and you can do it all yourself without any background skills or knowledge.

Ready to get started? Today, we’re going to walk you through the process of making your very own vinyl and wood signs.

Vinyl Lettering for Wooden Signs — What Is It?

We know what a wooden sign is. That needs no real introduction. Vinyl, however, is a material you may not have come across as often in your daily life. For the purposes of this project, vinyl is a thin, film-like material that is smooth on one side and self-sticking on the other. In simple terms, think of it as a giant sticker that will adhere to surfaces when you press it down.

Now, apply this concept to our wooden signs. By using this sticking film, you can design and create letters to say whatever you want. You can then apply these letters to the wooden sign via their self-adhesive properties to produce a final product that looks just as polished and professional as anything you might find at your local home décor store.

What Can You Make With Vinyl for Wooden Signs?

The answer here is simple. You can make absolutely anything you can think of. If you can imagine it, you can make it. From simple, block letters to swirling cursive fonts, from stick figures to smiley faces and leaf borders, you can make it all with a good, sturdy vinyl.

It’s worth mentioning that while some things will undoubtedly be a bit more complicated than others, very little is out of the realm of possibility. If you’re worried about the difficulty of the vinyl design you have in mind, start by creating a few simpler things, building up your skill and confidence before you attempt something more intricate.

Remember, however, that even the more complicated shapes and letters are not very tricky, and are easy to accomplish once you have a solid grasp of the process. Before you know it, you’ll be able to make vinyl decals of anything you can think of.

What Do You Need to Make Vinyl Lettering for Wooden Signs?

At this point, you may be thinking, “That all sounds well and good, but I probably need all kinds of specialized equipment to do it.” And while it’s true you do need the tools for the job, most are items you will already have around your house, and none of them are large, heavy pieces of equipment you’ll only use once before they retire to take up space in your closet for the next decade.

If you’re looking to create your very own vinyl lettering on wood, here’s what you’ll need.

  • A piece of wood: We’re thinking of a wooden sign like the ones we’ve mentioned, but really, this could be anything. It could be a wooden coaster, a wooden pallet or any number of other wooden objects.
  • Sheets of vinyl: Ideally, this will be a self-sticking type of vinyl such as 3M Scotchcal 50Graphic Film, which features an air-release adhesive design. This type of vinyl is easy to manipulate and cut and, best of all, it adheres well to surfaces like wood. Alternatively, you can opt for a heat-transfer vinyl, although this is slightly more involved to apply.
  • Wood treatment: Something like acrylic paint will help pre-treat your wood, creating a surface the vinyl will stick to better.
  • Sandpaper: This is for use in pre-treating the surface and preparing it for the decals before you apply vinyl to wood.
  • A cutting machine: This is an optional tool. If you have one, it’ll make your job much easier. If not, scissors will get the job done, too.
  • A computer and printer: If you’re skipping the cutting machine, you can use a computer and printer instead to create your designs and print them out onto the vinyl itself.
  • Weeding tools: These are small hand tools that will help you cut out the more delicate details of your vinyl, as they can typically get in the tiny gaps where scissors or a cutting machine might be too large. If you’re using a cutting machine, this will be a valuable tool to pull out the positive space in your vinyl design.
  • A credit card: Finally, you'll need a credit card or something else with a similar type of edge to help smooth the vinyl stickers down and press them into place.

If you’ve got all these tools, you’ve got everything you need to start designing and creating your vinyl and wood signs.

How to Make Your Wood and Vinyl Signs

You can use plenty of different methods to make your signage. While most of these methods diverge in little ways, they all follow the same basic steps, and those are the same steps we want to walk you through today.

1. Pre-Treat Your Wood

The simple fact is that vinyl doesn’t always stick to plain, untreated wood very successfully. It will hold at first, most of the time, but eventually, the corners may begin to peel up, and the vinyl may lose its stick altogether. To combat this type of deterioration, you’ll want to pre-treat your wood.

Start by sanding down the wood you’re going to use, making sure the final finish is nice and smooth and creating an even surface for your vinyl to cling to. Next, you’ll want to apply a coat of acrylic paint, stain or primer. Essentially, what this does is create a base layer that makes for an ideal surface the vinyl will have an easier time sticking to.

2. Create Your Design

Now, it’s time to start thinking about what you want your wooden sign to say. Once you’ve got an idea of this, you’ll need to make that design a reality. If you’re using a cutting machine, you’ll use the corresponding software to create your design and print it out through the cutting machine.

However, if you’re not an experienced vinyl crafter, you may not have a cutting machine. If this is the case, there’s no need to stress. You can just as easily create your design in Photoshop or another computer editing program. Once you’ve designed your lettering or words, you’ll want to load your printable vinyl into the printer, send the design to the printer and print it out. You’ll then need to grab a pair of scissors and cut the design out.

3. Apply Your Vinyl to the Wood

This process will look a little different depending on which type of vinyl you’re using. If you’ve opted for a self-sticking, pressure-activated vinyl, the job will be slightly simpler. All you’ll need to do is stick the vinyl onto the wood, remove the backing and firmly press it into place with the edge of your credit card.

4. Enjoy Your Finished Product

So you've securely attached the vinyl, finished the sign and completed the project. Now, all that's left to do is hang it, frame it, display it or put it somewhere you can look at and be proud of the project you’ve created.

What Makes Vinyl and Wood Signs Such a Good DIY Project?

It’s no secret DIY projects are all the rage these days. Everyone, it seems, from your grandma to your cousin to your best friend has a pet DIY project and is encouraging you to do the same. With so many different types of these projects competing for your attention, what makes this one so much more special and worth your time?

1. It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Equipment

Some DIY projects require you to invest in plenty of specialized equipment, much of which you’ll never use again after that single project. These vinyl and wood signs aren’t like that. The cutting machine is the only piece of equipment you may consider to be a real investment, and the project is perfectly doable without that, although it’s a great tool to purchase if you want to continue with vinyl work. Really, all you need to do is buy a few sheets of vinyl and you’ll be ready to start.

2. It’s Practical

The best DIY projects result in useful products. This project doesn't waste your time in creating lots of objects you'll struggle to find homes for after you’ve created them. Instead, you’re creating beautiful and personal artwork for your home or office you’ll be able to cherish for years to come.

3. It’s Easy to Learn

There’s nothing more discouraging than taking up a new DIY hobby or project and realizing it’s incredibly complicated and takes years to master. There’s nothing wrong with practicing something for years to gain skills and abilities, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a project that doesn’t require a lot of background knowledge to find success. With vinyl lettering, that’s exactly what you’ll get. This is one project we believe anyone should be able to do.

What Are the Benefits of Vinyl Lettering?

OK, so we can now see why wooden signs are a fun and practical DIY project to pick up in your spare time. But what are the actual benefits of the signs themselves, and what advantages do they offer over pre-made signs or other types of home décor?

1. It's Customizable

This is easily the largest benefit of choosing a DIY wooden sign over something you could purchase pre-made at a store. When you make your lettering and design your sign, you can write anything you like, and create anything that is personal to you. Rather than having to stick to the pre-written messages you’ll find in stores, you can create something that is truly one of a kind.

2. It's Inexpensive

Aside from purchasing the vinyl itself, most of the supplies you’ll need for this project are ones you’ll likely already have sitting around the house. Instead of spending a hefty sum on a polished and pre-packaged piece of artwork from the store, you can save money by doing it yourself.

3. It Makes Great Conversation Pieces

What better way to engage guests, friends and extended family members who come to visit in conversation than by having a large, personalized wooden sign hanging on your wall? It’s eye-catching, and your guests will instantly notice it and be able to ask about it. It can lead to a fascinating get-to-know-you conversation, and you can even explain how you made it yourself. While pre-packaged art can do this as well, it doesn’t quite have the same uniqueness DIY pieces do.

Shop Craft Vinyl Today

If you’ve got your wooden object and common household tools like paint, sandpaper and scissors, you already have the vast majority of the supplies you need to get started with your very own DIY vinyl and wooden sign. The only supply you’ll need to head out and stock up on is craft vinyl to make the letters.

If you’re looking to purchase vinyl, why not stop by and visit us at Rvinyl? We make our products specifically with DIY enthusiasts in mind, and they’re all simple, streamlined and easy to use. Our vinyl also comes in over 100 different colors, empowering you to truly personalize your design. Best of all, our products are also affordable, meaning that your project can be both fun and inexpensive. And if you’re placing a bulk order and stocking up on craft vinyl for future products, we offer free shipping on most orders.

Browse our full selection of craft vinyl today. If you have any more questions about our products or any of the fascinating ways you can use them, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help.