DIY Wood Sign for Indoors using Cricut Maker

Hi friends,

It has been a long time since I have posted here. I recently purchased a Cricut Maker that I absolutely love and I’ve talked about it sooo much that I convinced my friends they need Cricut’s too. #SorryNotSorry

Buying a Cricut is a huge invest because you are not only buying the machine and the tools to go with but you also need a variety of supplies. When you’re just starting out it can be easy to become overwhelmed.

That is precisely why I am back on my blog. My goal is to write tutorials for my friends (and all of you) while linking the actual products I am using on Amazon. Any Amazon links on this page are affiliate links and I will earn a small fee if you complete a purchase. Any other links on this page are not affiliate links.

Our first tutorial is super easy once you have the right supplies.

This post is pretty long and I didn’t realize that it would be this long as I was typing it. I am planning to make a YouTube video to accompany this tutorial in the future but until then if you find me on Instagram @kimberlaylayyy_crafts I have a highlight that goes over the “Merry Christmas” truck sign I made and I am going to create another one that goes over each of these steps!

Step 1 – Cutting Wood to size:

I typically go to Lowe’s to purchase wood for my wood signs because it is much cheaper than buying a piece of wood from the craft store. I like to buy a 1-in x 6-in x 6-ft and cut it into 12 inch pieces. At my Lowe’s this piece of Whitewood Board costs $7.22 which allows me to make six 12ish inch signs for about $1.20 per project before tax. Keep in mind the actual dimensions of this board will be 0.75-in x 5.5-in x 6ft.

That being said I’ve also trolled the clearance section at Hobby Lobby and Michaels and repurposed a sign by sanding it down and v4YRmTuARiWqBF7SRtOfUw_thumb_1cd.jpgspray painting over the existing design. That is a tutorial for another day.

The next step is to decide how long you want your pieces of wood to be and cut them to size with a saw. If you don’t have a saw when you purchase your wood at Lowe’s you can ask them to cut the wood to size for you. I use a Dewalt Miter Saw but whatever you have will work!

Step 2 – Sanding:

I can’t stress how important it is to sand your wood before you start staining and painting it. Even if you follow the remaining steps exactly if you have not sanded your wood you are likely to have bleeding under your stencil. Believe me. I’ve been there. The sign below is the first one I made. I was too lazy to sand the wood before painting it and it bleed.

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I absolutely hate sanding, sand paper, and nail files because they are sandpaper. I can’t stand them! It is so disappointing when the finished project isn’t what you were expecting. The first step to ensuring you have a fantastic wood sign is sanding. Okay I think I’ve said that enough.

As someone who HATES sand paper I do not do this by hand. You can either do it by hand or use a tool like a palm sander. Make sure to sand all sides and edges of your wood sign.

I recommend starting with a medium coarse sandpaper either 120 or 150 grit. Sand with the grain using even pressure until you’re happy with how smooth the board feels. If you use uneven pressure you can end up with dips in your wood which can allow paint to seep under the stencil.

The next step is to use a finer sand paper like 220 grit. Once you’re happy with how smooth the board is blow on it to get the saw dust off and then wipe it with a clean cloth. You want to make sure you get all of the dust off of your wood sign.

Step 3 – Staining:

Once you’ve finished sanding it’s time to stain! My absolute favorite stain is Minwax Penetrating Stain in Dark Walnut 2716. I love the dark rich color it has and how well it contrasts with white paint. If you’re into lighter colors another popular stain is Minwax Penetrating Stain in Classic Gray 271. I find it much hard to achieve the color I want with the light stain but it’s perfect for farm house themed signs. Here are pictures of projects I made using each of these stains!

It’s best to follow the instructions on the back of whatever stain you have available. I prefer to apply my stain using cut up white paint rags and my work surface is an unfolded cardboard Amazon box. I dip my rag directly into the container of stain because I don’t like to dirty any extra containers or risk spilling stain while trying to pour it into a small container for application.  I dip the corner of my rag into the stain and apply it onto the wood with the grain until I’ve dried out the rag. Then I continue to dip into the stain until I have covered all sides.

The instructions say that you’re supposed to wait 4-6 hours between coats to achieve a darker finish. Craft projects are typically last minutes gifts and I don’t have time to wait that long. So I prep all six of my boards at once using very thin coats. One I finish with the last board I will start over again adding additional stain to the first board if it looks too light. Wood will only accept so much stain. Any stain that is left sitting on top of the wood won’t be absorbed and should be wiped off with a clean rag.

The Minwax instructions say to wait a minimum of 8 hours before sealing or in our case painting. But remember we’re typically making a last minute project we don’t have 8 hours. At this point I walk away from the project and let the stain dry as long as possible before I move onto the next step. Let’s be honest If you’re crafting using a Cricut there is probably someone else you’re neglecting. Go take care of the dishes, laundry, walk the dog, and/or catch up on the show you’re watching. Once you run out of other things to do (or get tired of cleaning) your sign will probably be dry enough to move onto the next step. If it feels dry to the touch and not tacky you’re safe to move on. If you start too soon, when you remove your stencil material at the end you will pull up stain with the stencil.

Step 4 – Stencil Material:

For my projects, I use a Cricut Maker to cut Oracal 813 Stencil Vinyl. You also have the option to use Removable Vinyl but your board needs to be completely dry.

The stencil material is less sticky and it kind of gets a static cling to the board as you’re trying to find the perfect placement. While the removable vinyl starts to stick immediately and is harder to move around.

If you’re okay with using extra material it is best to cut your vinyl the exact size of your piece of wood. This makes it easy to place the design perfectly when its time to transfer it onto your project. When you’re in design space you want to cut your stencil using the “Stencil Vinyl” setting and I always set my pressure to “more”. I try to use the blue light grip mat for everything if you have a newer mat that is still very tacky the light grip mat will work well for this I almost always add painters tape to the very edges of my design to hold them in place. Once your design has been cut flip the mat face down on your work surface and peel the mat away from the stencil material slowly.

Now you’re ready to weed your design and adhere transfer paper. I recently discovered the joy of using Con-Tact Brand Shelf Liner. Not only is this product cheap but it works wonderfully. I like to stick my transfer paper to the design and use my Cricut scrapper tool on both the front and back to make sure it is adhered well. Your next step is to peel the stencil material backing off very carefully. If any of the pieces come up with the backing lay that section back down and apply pressure so it will adhere to the transfer tape.

Step 5 – Applying Stencil

Once your stencil material or removable vinyl is adhered to the transfer tape its time to apply it to your prepped, stained, and fully dried wood sign. If you cut the stencil material to be the size of your wood in the previous step this step will be easy. You simply line up the edges and begin smoothing your stencil material onto the wood working your way from the middle to the edges.

You want to make sure the stencil is completely flat on your wood sign. If you hold it up towards the light and hold it at different angles you will be able to see any air bubbles that need to be worked out.

Once your stencil is applied and there are no air bubbles your next step is to remove the transfer tape. If you’re using Con-Tact Paper this step is a breeze. If you’re using Cricut Transfer tape you will need to be very careful not to tear your stencil as you slowly pull it off of the stencil. When you remove tacky transfer tape like the Cricut brand your stencil may come up with it. Unfortunately that is normal and you just have to move very slowly to make sure everything stays in place. After the transfer tape is removed repeat the steps above to make sure your stencil is still adhered well.

Step 6 – Mod Podge

Once your design is adhered to the wood sign you are ready to apply Matte Mod Podge. Mod Podge is used as the first layer just in case anything bleeds under the stencil. It is very important to use Matte because it dries clear. If any of it seeps under the stencil you won’t be able to tell. If you use Glossy Mod Podge you will be able to tell if seeped under the stencil.

Some people will tell you that you can be as sloppy as you want and use a ton of Mod Podge because if anything is going to seep under the stencil you want it to be your Mod Podge layer. While this is true you need to be careful not to use too much on intricate designs.

I made a wood sign for a friend that had a bunch of small snowflakes. I used too much Mod Podge and when I went to remove the stencil all of them peeled off. I was so disappointed because I planned to gift it that day and I couldn’t because I needed time to re-cut that portion of the stencil.

Step 7 – Acrylic Paint

This is arguably the best part of the project because you finally get to see your project turn into the finished product you’re imagining. I use Acrylic Paint for all of my wood signs and I would recommend purchasing a multi-pack of acrylic paints like this one. That being said I would also recommended buying a large size of white if you’re going to using dark stain and black if you’re going to use light stain. I personally don’t think it matters what brand you use because you’re going to seal it and keep it inside.

When I first started making wood signs I was using a sponge brush because that is what was recommended to me but I hate the texture it makes on my wood signs. So I’ve started using whatever multi-pack of brushes I can get my hands on. The most important thing is to make sure you use light coats of paint. For example on the sign above I painted all of the snowflakes, then I did the white, the red, and the black. Then I would do them again in that order if any of the areas needed more paint. Typically that is enough drying time in between. You will know you didn’t let it dry long enough if you start painting over a section and instead of adding paint you’re removing it.

Step 8 – Remove the Stencil

Once you’re happy with the coverage in each section it is time to remove the stencil while the paint is still wet. We do this while the paint is still wet because the paint could peel off completely with the stencil if you let it dry. It’s just like leaving painters tape up for too long after painting a room.

Remove it very carefully starting from a corner using your weeding tool to carefully lift any pieces of stencil that may want to stay behind like the tips of the snowflakes in my picture above. Leave the center of your words to be removed last. It’s inevitable that some of the stencil will get left behind. You can remove these pieces by carefully sliding your weeding tool underneath them. If you’re not careful one of two things will happen you will either mess up the paint or end up stabbing a hole into the wood.

For very intricate designs like the word “dachsund” in the sign above you will need to very carefully guide your weeding tool around each letter to remove the stencil. I regretted using the Sunberry text from DaFont.com as soon as I cut the stencil. But at that point it was too late. I was very surprised that I was able to weed that section without any major issues.

Step 9 – Sealing your Project

The final step is to seal your project. I like to use Minwax Polycrylic Water Based sealer in Clear Satin. As previously stated this will seal your project for indoor use. Again I would suggest following the instructions on the back of your sealer. I apply it on top of a plastic bag that our pellet stove pellets come in. I would not recommend doing this step on top of a cardboard box as I’ve had one stick to a wood sign before.

I usually wait until I have multiple signs before I seal them. I use the largest paint brush out of my multi-pack set and apply it to the front and sides of each sign. Once I’ve finished sealing the front of the last sign if I’ve applied my sealer thin enough I can usually go back and start the front/sides of the first sign again.

I try to wait an hour and a half to two hours at least before I flip over the sign to seal the back. You want it to be completely dry. Don’t try to seal the back too soon because you risk messing up the front of your sign. When sealing the back you have to watch out for any drips on the sides. You don’t want any of that to drip to the front of your sign or be visible from the front.

That’s it – let it dry and you’ve made your first DIY Wood Sign! Congratulations and thank you so much for reading this incredibly long post. I am planning to set up a highlight on my Instagram @kimberlaylayyy_crafts that will go through each of these steps much faster.

 

DIY Photo Card

Recently I wanted to create personalized cards to send to a group of friends. I had a fabulous picture and knew that I wanted that to be on the front. I spent a few hours on a photo gift website and the card that the I made was expensive, there wasn’t any room to write,  and it didn’t seem personalized at all.

So I decided that I would create photo cards on my own.

The first step was to get the pictures printed. I always use Walgreens Photo because its close to me and super inexpensive when you use coupon codes from Retailmenot.com. You can usually find a coupon for at least 40% off and you can pick them up the same day.

Next, I dug through my craft bin and found a box of cards from Michaels. You can always find a coupon for at least 40% off at Michaels straight from their website. A quick google search for “Michaels coupons” and you’re well on your way to saving big. I recently bought a box of cards 100 cards that were $10 and I had a 55% off coupon.

Now that you have cards and photos you’re gonna need a way to adhere the photos to the cards.

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I swear by this Elmer’s Extra Strength Spray Adhesive. It’s actually intended for science fair backboards but I would use it on anything. It is very sticky!! So you need to be careful when spraying it on the back of your photos. I sprayed mine on top of a cardboard box and it was a sticky mess afterward.

As you can see in the picture above, I used a squiggly edge cutter to add a little personality to my cards. You can use normal scissors to make the pictures fit on the front of the card.

In the picture above you will notice that my photo is turned upside down. That is because I didn’t ask the people in the photo if I could share it online.

I would recommend this project to anyone. It was super easy and a lot of fun as well!

Please comment below if you have any questions or tips on how to make this project better!

 

Wine Bottle Upcycling for Fall

Last weekend we made homemade spaghetti sauce for canning and I found a fun way to combine my love for fall, acrylic paints, and wine.

While I didn’t drink the wine that came out of these bottles, I am sure that would have made this craft project a little more enjoyable. Scroll to the end if you are looking for step-by-step instructions.

Last Photo

The first thing you will need to do is gather a bunch of glass bottles (beer, wine, IBC root beer, whatever floats your boat). Soak these bottles in a sink with hot water and a little soap. This will help soften the labels and hopefully they will peel off in one piece. Find another way to occupy your time for at least a half hour. When you return to the check on the bottles you may find that you need to spin them and let the other side soak. Every bottle is different so your wait times will vary.

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Once you have peeled all of the labels off check the bottles to see if there is any residue. I used Goo Gone to remove the residue because I did not want my paint to have lumps in it.

My boyfriend suggested that I leave the residue so that my pumpkins could have warts. He always makes these kinds of suggestions when he does not want to help with my craft projects. In this case – I only asked for him to get Goo Gone from the garage…but in his defense it was midnight.

The next step is up to you. I tried a few different methods and this is what I thought of them:

Stem:

  • Free hand the top of the bottle bottle using acrylic paint
  • Tape off the top of the bottle for a clean line — allowing the green glass to serve as the stem
    • Depending on what type of lines you want and if “messy” bothers you I would totally recommend this. These lines ended up being the cleanest on my entire project. That being said, I really like things that look clean-cut and neat.

Faces:

  • Place tape across the “face” of the bottle. Draw a design on the tape and cut it out with an x-acto knife.
    • I did not have an x-acto knife but when I tried this with a utility knife I made a big mess. I did not like my hand drawn designs and decided I was too clumsy to make this work.
  • Layer tape and cut out face shapes while leaning on something – in my case cardboard
    • This was a disaster. Not only was it really difficult to do but I pushed too hard and the tape ended up stuck to the cardboard when I tried to peel it up.
  • Paint a layer and realize you forget to tape a face on and then try to
    • This happened because I was so excited to get started. If you do this make sure that the paint underneath is all the way dry – not tacky. When it is time to remove it score around the tape edges with a utility knife. This worked okay — I did it on the clear pumpkin bottle with the painted stem.
  • Paint the bottle whatever color you would like and then paint the faces on by hand
    • Once you get over the fact that your lines will not be perfect…hand painting the faces was by far my favorite way to do this! I used a template of faces included below and tried to copy them.

Face Template

Materials:

  • Empty Glass Bottles
  • Goo Gone
  • Painters Tape
  • Utility or X-Acto Knife
  • Acrylic Paint (used various cheap brands and the Martha Stewart glow-in-the-dark line)
  • PATIENCE

Steps:

  1. Soak bottles in hot water with soap. Check on them and spin them as needed to ensure that all of the edges are soaked.
  2. Use Goo Gone to remove any left over sticker residue.
  3. Decide how you will make your faces/paint your bottles based on the suggestions above.
    • I used acrylic paint and waited until the paint dried completely between layers. If you use tape make sure that you score the edges before carefully peeling it from your bottle — acrylic paint will tear off in one big piece if you work too quickly.

These ones were my favorites. The directions for this are not very clear because it all depends on what you want to do with your bottles. If you have any questions about the process feel free to comment below.

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