How to Make Sandblasted Wooden House Signs

What You'll Need
Wood blank(s)
Sandblasting machine
Air compressor
Grit sand
Waterproof epoxy
Router, chisel and other carving tools
Scissors and utility knife
Heat gun
Stain or varnish
Sandblasting masking cover (i.e. 3M, Anchor Continental or Hartco)
Protective glasses, mask and gloves
Sign mounting hardware
Paint brushes
Router and bits
Lacquer or paint thinner

Sandblasted wooden house signs are among the most attractive and interesting signs you can hang in your home. If you have access to a sandblasting machine you can create your own signs. However, the process does require some patience and a modest amount of skill. To make the job easier though, here is a step by step guide that will walk you through the process.

Step 1 - Choose Wood Type and Create Blank

First, you will need to select a type of wood for your sandblasted sign. Although you can choose any type of wood you like, woods like cedar, oak and balsa are easy to work with and make beautiful sign boards. If you need a large sign, you will have to create blanks from smaller pieces. You can reinforce the blanks with dowels and wood glue if you need a stronger sign board.

Step 2 - Draw Stencil for Wording on Sandblast Resist

Draw or print the lettering for your wooden sign on the resist material. The material is similar to foam. You can use a marking pen or pencil to create a layout and design for your sign lettering.

Step 3 - Cut out the Stencil

Use a pair of scissors and the utility knife to cut out the lettering (and any other designs for the template) from the resist material.

Step 4 - Affix Resist Masking Agent to Wood Blank

Peel off the tape on the rear of the resist material and affix the stencil to the wooden board. Use the heat gun to create a better adhesive bond for the resist material to the board.

Step 5 - Sandblast the Wood

Start the compressor, set it to about 80 psi and load the sandblasting machine with sand. Hold the spray nozzle about 4 to 8 inches away from the wood and spray the sand in smooth, level strokes across the face of the sign board. Continue sandblasting until you etch a depth of about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch around the resist material stencil. Then, sandblast the rear face of the sign board to give the sign a more authentic and older look.

Step 6 - Remove the Resist Masking Cover

Pry the resist material from the face of the sign board. You can use a chisel or putty knife to help remove it. Use lacquer or paint thinner to help dissolve the adhesive from the face of the sign.

Step 7 - Create Borders and/or Routed Edges

Use the router to create routed borders or beveled sign edges. Be creative and let your imagination run wild.

Step 8 - Stain the Sign

Apply two or three coats of stain or varnish to the front and back of the sign.

Step 9 - Paint the Lettering

For a more dramatic effect, paint the raised lettering on the sign a different color than the stain or varnish. It will make the lettering easier to read also.

Step 10 - Install Mounting Hardware

Install the mounting hardware on the rear of the sign. It is now ready for hanging in the location of your choice.