How to Make Carved Wooden Signs

What You'll Need
Wooden Board
Sand paper
Dry cloth
Large piece of paper
V-shaped carving tool
Flat bladed carving tool
Wood Stain

A carved wooden sign can add a rustic charm to a property as well a making it stand out because of its uniqueness. Wooden signs are great for homes, business and even on boats. Carving signs can be an enjoyable craft task, although they do require some patience and skill.

Step One – Wood

Although no wood lasts forever there are types of wood that are perfect for signs and will last a bit longer. Redwood is from a long lasting family with trees that have been known to live for up to 2,000 years. This type of wood is renowned for its longevity as well being light and distinctive in color. Western Cedar is another good choice as it has been known to last for a century after it has been felled; this is because the mature trees produce a chemical reaction that fights against decay. This type of wood is a very popular choice for many outdoor structures and signs because of its soothing natural aroma. Another excellent wood choice is reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is traditionally sourced from old barns, but good quality reclaimed wood can be difficult to find. Choose a wooden board that is at least 1 inch thick to allow for the depth of the carvings.

Step Two – Design

Determine how big the sign is going to be, wooden signs of the desired size can be purchased from a hardware store and they will also cut wood to size upon request. The wooden board can then be sanded around the edges to remove any splinters or debris or carved to create a shape. On a large piece of paper, sketch the design of the wood with the letters as this will help to determine where they should go and how big they should be.

Step Three – Preparation

Clean the wood with a dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Use a pencil and ruler to draw lines on the wood where the letters will be. Place the letter stencils onto the wood and then draw around them using a pencil and following the design.

Step Four – Carving

Start by using a V-shaped tool to create the outline of the letters, start at the bottom edge or corner of the first letter and work around it. Try to stay within the pencil lines and work carefully. Use a flat bladed carving tool to carve out the inside of the letters. Work slowly and carefully to ensure that the wood isn’t damaged and that the carving is even. There are different sized V-shaped and Flat-bladed tools which can be purchased and used in line with size requirements for the letters.

Step Five – Finish

When all the letters have been carved, sand the wooden board to ensure that there are no sharp or uneven edges. The finished carved wooden sign can then be stained to create a purely natural look, or the inner letter carvings can be painted to enhance the letters and then stained to create a dramatic look.