Learn how to make beautifully painted wood signs using a vinyl stencil you can cut on your Cricut!
One of the more popular home trends these days are wood signs with names or phrases on them. And they’re really so easy to make and personalize. Last year. I taught you how to apply vinyl to a wood sign and you’ve all made SO many beautiful signs. But there’s another way you can make wood signs — you can paint them to give them a more natural look! Now, the first thing people think when I say “painted wood sign” is hand-painting and all the skill required to do that. But, we’re going to do it a better way — we’re going to use a vinyl stencil we cut out on our Cricut cutting machines so we paint exactly what we want—no more, no less! So for Day 15 of The Great Maker 25-Day Gift-Away Challenge, I am showing you how to make vinyl stencils to paint wood signs perfectly — no painting skill needed.
See exactly how to make this adorable customized wood sign with vinyl stencil in my tutorial video (or keep scrolling if you prefer a step-by-step photo tutorial):
One of the challenges with stenciling paint on a wood sign is bleeding — it can be tricky to get the paint to go exactly where you want it and not bleed under the stencil. Wood signs usually have uneven surfaces and this can cause the paint to bleed. But I know a secret … and it’s called Mod Podge! A little matte Mod Podge over your stencil before you paint it will do wonders, and I’ll show you how to do that in this tutorial.
So for this vinyl stencil technique, you’re going to need some permanent adhesive vinyl in ANY color, matte Mod Podge (don’t use glossy), acrylic paint, and a wood board. I’m using this 12″ x 6″ wood board that came pre-hung with a rope, but you can use any board that has a flat surface. You may also want to sand and stain the wood to prepare your sign in advance, and some sealer to protect your wood sign after you paint it. Other things that will come in useful are stencil brushes, cosmetic sponges, and weeding tools. And your Cricut cutting machine, of course.
I have prepared three stencil designs to show you how to cut, apply, and paint your stencil, and you’re welcome to use any or all of them for your projects. The designs for both of these the wood sign are free on my blog! So let me show you how to find them and how to put it all together to make your own customized wood sign!
This wood sign is beautiful and fun to make. The trick, though is to let the paint and Mod Podge dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Ready to customize a fun wood sign with a vinyl stencil? I’m excited to show you how! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials to Make a Customized Wood Sign with a Vinyl Stencil
- A wood sign — I used this sign I found on Amazon. Here’s a square sign, too!
- 220 grit sandpaper blocks (I find the blocks easier to use than the paper)
- Wood stain – this is the exact one I used
- Mod Podge – Matte (do NOT use glossy)
- Acrylic paint
- Stencil brushes and cosmetic sponges
- Weeding tool/Scraper/Spatula – the Cricut basic tool set is my favorite one to use for projects like this
- Cricut premium vinyl in any color. I used yellow for the Happiness sign and black for the Santa sign
- Cricut transfer tape
- Spray sealer, matte or gloss – I used this specific one
- Painters Tape
- Standard Grip Cutting mat (the 12″ x 12″ size)
- A way to cut your vinyl for the stencil (I used the amazing Cricut cutting machine!)
- Design #180 – My free SVG design files and template (available in my free resource library—get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make a Painted Wood Sign to Greet Guests at Your Door or in Your Home!
Step 1: Get My Free Wood Sign SVG File
My free wood sign SVG cut file contains three different designs to make your own wood sign. These designs were all hand lettered.
Get the free wood sign designs (Design #180) from my free resource library (get the password to the library in the form at the bottom of this post).
Step 2: Prepare Your Stencil Vinyl Design File for Cutting
Here is what the customized wood sign SVG cut file will look like when you upload it to Cricut Design Space:
Tip: If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.
Once the file is uploaded, decide which of the designs you want to use and hide or delete the rest. Resize design (if needed) to fit the imprint area of your sign.
Tip: I like to insert a square and resize it to the same size of my sign then select both the shape and the sign design and click the “Attach” button. This way when I put the vinyl on my wood sign I don’t have to worry about it being centered or worry about the paint getting anywhere other than the letters for the sign.
Step 3: Cut Out Your Custom Wood Sign Design
Using a green StandardGrip cutting mat, place your vinyl FACE UP on the cutting mat, select the proper cutting material, and load your fine-point blade into your Cricut machine.
Step 4: Weed Your Cut Vinyl Stencil Design
Remove all of the excess vinyl from your stencil BUT REMEMBER, when weeding your stencil you are leaving the negative and taking out the positive. So you remove the parts you want to PAINT. That’s usually your letters and images.
Now apply a piece of transfer tape to your weeded vinyl stencil.
Tip: Before applying the transfer tape to the vinyl stick it to your clothes to make it less tacky and easier to lift when you go to add the vinyl to your wood sign.
Step 5: Apply the Vinyl Stencil to Your Wood Sign
Line up your vinyl on your wood sign and use a scraper tool to apply the vinyl to the wood. Scrape it down really well to adhere it well and form a good seal.
When removing the transfer tape be careful not to lift any of the interior parts of the letters.
Step 6: Mod Podge Your Vinyl Stencil On Your Wood Sign
Using a paint brush, apply a coat of matte Mod Podge to your sign. This helps prevent the paint from leaking under the vinyl. You do not want your layer of Mod Podge too thin or too thick.
When applying your Mod Podge make sure to coat it in all directions.
Let this layer dry completely. I let my Mod Podge dry for one hour, but you could let it dry overnight to be on the safe side.
Step 7: Paint Your Wood Sign
After your Mod Podge has dried, it is time to being painting. I like to use a stencil paint brush to apply the paint in a pouncing motion, which means to bounce the paint brush up and down rather than brush it side to side. Pouncing is a stenciling technique. To even out the texture, you can dab lightly with a cosmetic sponge.
Wait for the paint to dry (I waited two hours, but you would let it sit overnight just to be safe).
Feel free to add an additional layer if necessary. It really depends on the look you prefer.
Step 8: Remove the Vinyl Stencil
After the paint has dried, slowly and carefully remove your vinyl. Removing the vinyl the opposite direction of the wood grain helps to avoid unwanted paint from lifting. Use a weeding tool to remove the vinyl from the inner part of the letters.
There will be times when you lift paint when you remove vinyl from a sign. This is an easy fix depending on how extensive the paint lifted. I like to use a straight pin and dip it into the paint and then patch up the spots that lifted when the vinyl was removed.
Step 9: Seal Your Wood Sign
You can optionally add an optional top coat of spray polyurethane to protect your project and give your sign a nice finish.
And that is all there is to making a gorgeous wood sign with a vinyl stencil!
Get my free customized wood sign vinyl stencils templates and cut files
I’d love to see your custom wood signs, and all the other fun ideas you come up with to use these! If you make one, please share a photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.