How to Write on Wood

Wood signs can be a great way to express your creativity while also decorating your home. Wood signs are not only a beautiful and popular type of DIY home decor, but they are also incredibly simple to make! All you need to do is choose the wood and then treat it so you can add your lettering with a typography template and paint markers. You’ll be well on your way to making a beautifully personalised addition to your home decorations if you have the right tools and knowledge!

Part 1 Treating the Wood

1. Choose any size rectangular piece of plywood or MDF. Before you begin working, you must first obtain the appropriate piece of wood. Plywood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which can be purchased at your local hardware store, are the easiest and best types of wood to use. Ask the hardware store attendant to cut the wood to a specific size, or buy a large piece and trim it yourself.

You can make your sign as big or as small as you want, depending on how you intend to use it. The majority of precut wood is sold in 48 in (120 cm) by 24 in (61 cm) or 24 in (61 cm) by 24 in (61 cm) dimensions (61 cm).

Square or rectangular wood pieces are the easiest to work with, especially for beginners. Use a woodcutter to shape your wood differently if you’re trying to fit a specific theme or simply want something different from the norm.

Circular signs, for example, make excellent wall art. A heart-shaped sign with a romantic quote, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for decorating your and your significant other’s bedrooms.

2. Select or design a typography template for the letters. You can’t write on wood unless you know what you’re going to write! Draw your own template on a piece of paper with a calligraphy pen if you have an eye for design and typography. Alternatively, conduct an online search for typography designs and print out a design that appeals to you.

To make an entrance sign for house guests, for example, you could write something like, “Welcome to our abode.”

If you’re making a sign for a specific room in your house, use your favourite phrase to describe it. For example, for your living room, this could be a literary quote about enjoying family and the little things in life.

Alternatively, create a nameplate for a family member’s bedroom by writing their name.

3. Sand the wood smooth with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper. Sand the entire surface of the wood, including the sides and back, with fine-grit sandpaper rubbed back and forth along the grain. Sanding the wood will make it easier to stain and write on.

Alternatively, an electric sander could be used.

4. Stain the wood with an oil-based stain. Using a wooden spoon or a stick, thoroughly mix the stain. Use a paintbrush or a clean rag to apply the stain. Stain your paintbrush or rag and swipe it across the wood. Apply stain to the wood from top to bottom.

Before you begin staining, don’t forget to put on a pair of gloves!

You can make the stain any colour you want. Don’t be afraid to be inventive!

5. Wait until the stain has dried before beginning to write. It may take up to 2 hours for the stain to dry. Waiting to add lettering ensures that your writing is clear and tidy. Swiping a gloved finger across the wood to see if it comes away clean is a good way to test for dryness.

6. To protect your lettering, smear a stain blocker onto the wood. This is especially useful if you’re using permanent markers. Concentrate on coating the darkest parts of the wood and apply the product with a soft cloth. Once the first layer has dried completely, apply a second layer. The majority of stain blockers dry in 6 to 8 hours.

You can find stain blocker at your local hardware store.

7. Make a rough sketch of the size and spacing for your lettering. You might want to use a ruler to figure out where you want each letter to go and what size you want your writing to be. Make a box (or boxes) to fit your letters into to figure out how much space the writing will take up on the wood. The box(es) will serve as a guideline to help you centre your template and organise your letters.

Alternatively, use masking tape to create a frame to place your letters in.

Part 2 Adding Your Lettering

1. Place the template on top of the wood and centre it. Remove the template you created or printed and place it on top of the wood. Align your template with the guidelines you’ve created. Tape the corners of your template to keep it in place while you draw.

2. With a pencil, trace the outline of each word on the template. Trace the lines of your template with the tip of your pencil on the paper. Concentrate solely on the outlines of each letter. Use firm pressure to make the strokes visible on the wood. Make use of a pencil so that you can correct any errors.

3. Remove the template from the wood and examine the visibility of your outlines. If your outlining was successful, you’ll notice pencil strokes left behind. If you can’t see the lines, place the template over the wood again and trace the letters. You can use a pencil eraser to correct any mistakes you’ve made.

4. Use a permanent marker or paint pen to carefully write each letter. Permanent marker and paint marker blunders cannot be erased! Take note of the lines as you trace over them. Concentrate on drawing each letter in the proper position and shape.

5. Accent your letters with a variety of stroke widths and curly designs. Once the letters have been properly outlined, concentrate on making them look appealing. To add visual interest, make wider strokes where the letters loop. For a flourish, add curls to the ends of the letters. To remember where to add the extra designs to your letters, refer to your template.

6. Darken the words by going over them with a pen or marker. Using your paint marker to add a second layer to the letters will sharpen them and create a cleaner design. Before re-applying, make sure the first layer has dried! To save time and create bolder lines, use fast-drying paint markers; fast-drying markers dry in a matter of minutes.

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