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Learn how to paint wood signs with vinyl stencils step-by-step with pictures.
If you’re like the rest of the decorating/DIY world, you are very interested in learning how to make your very own wood signs with letters, words, or phrases on them! If so, you’ve come to the right place!
In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a sign from start to finish using a piece of wood, a vinyl stencil and paint. I will also share tips and tricks to avoid paint bleed through. Let’s get started!
- How To Make A Wood Sign – Farmhouse Style| From Start to Finish
- How To Paint Buffalo Check on Wood Porch Signs
- DIY Wood Circle Ornaments Using Transfer Designs
- How To Apply Transfers to Wood To Make Small Signs
Let’s first go over what you need.
- piece of wood – sized to whatever your project is
- vinyl stencil – I created mine using my Silhouette Cameo. See my full tutorial for How To Make A Wood Sign – Farmhouse Style| From Start to Finish to learn how to make your own stencils
- paint – I love using Dixie Belle chalk paint, acrylic paint, latex paint or even spray paint for my signs
- paint brushes – you will need a regular 2″ paint brush to paint the background of the wood sign along with a dabber brush to paint the stenciled design
Let’s Make A Wood Sign with Stencils Together!
Step 1: Paint wood sign background
I used an angled paint brush to paint the entire piece of wood.
Pro Tip: if your wood has imperfections, use wood filler to fill any holes, chips, etc and then lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 2: Create vinyl design
Next is the fun part, it’s time to create your own stencil design. I created mine using my Silhouette Cameo and cut the design on sticky shelf liner (mine looked like wood). Once the design was cut, I “weeded” the design (removed the vinyl inside the letters) with a sewing seam ripper.
Pro Tip: using sticky shelf liner as your stencil is a much cheaper and cost effective option than using Oracle or Silhouette vinyl.
Step 3: Cut vinyl stencil to size
Next I used a pair or scissors to cut the vinyl design out like shown below. This was not totally necessary. I then used transparent Con-Tact paper (clear shelf liner) to transfer my design. See images below.
Pro Tip: don’t cut so close to the design because it makes it hard to “stay inside the lines” when you’re painting.
Step 4: Transfer the vinyl stencil to wood
I applied the sticky side of the Con-Tact paper to the right side of the vinyl design, using a gift card to ensure there were no bubbles and that the design was completely transferred). Next I peeled away the paper backing on the vinyl design (the wood looking vinyl)
Place the sticky side of the design and clear transfer on the wood, ensuring that your design is centered. Using the gift card again, apply pressure to release the design (wood looking vinyl) to the sign.
Next, carefully peel away the clear Con-Tact paper, leaving the design vinyl (wood looking) on the board
Ta da! The sign should look like this at this point – the vinyl design successfully transferred to the wood sign.
Step 5: Paint stencil design
Using a sponge dabber paint brush, apply a light coat of the base background color paint over the stencil (inside the letters). This ensures that if any paint bleeds through, it is the same color as the background paint, not the design color.
Once the background (white) color has dried, repeat the process with the black paint. For my black paint, I used Dixie Belle Chalk Paint in Caviar. I LOVE using chalk paint for signs because I love the matte finish it dries in.
Pro Tip: Snag a copy of my Paint Like A Pro Guidebook to learn more about using chalk paint and various techniques.
Step 6: Remove the vinyl stencil
Once the paint has mostly dried, carefully peel away the vinyl stencil
Pro Tip: I say “mostly” dried because I have personally found that if the paint is fully dry when I peel off the vinyl stencil, there is a chance that the paint tears away with the stencil, ruining the stenciled design.
Step 7: Display and Show Off Your Work!
Once your sign has dried, it’s time to decorate with it!