Monday, November 19, 2012

Carved sign...favorite Bible verse.

One of my FAVORITE things to do is to router a wooden sign.  I have many versions I have created, but this is my newest and latest....and I love it!  I have designed it with my daughters favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11.  I would love to share with you how I create these types of signs.  So here is my best tutorial for this sign.

Items needed:

*  Router
*  1/8th inch straight router bit
*  Sander
*  220 sandpaper
*  Carbon paper
*  Stain of your choice
*  Piece of wood, I usually design my sayings first then make my board fit it!


First I designed what I wanted my board to say on Microsoft word.  I use a small version first on landscape mode.  For this design since it was larger than one piece of paper, I had to print full size in pieces and tape together.

Then I used Carbon paper behind the lettering to trace it onto my board.  Carbon paper, yes that is right they still make it.  Staples has it in their specialty paper section...or you can order it online.  Hint, I tape the top of my stencil paper to the board, so that it doesn't move while I am tracing the letters.  You can leave your carbon paper loose and move it as you need it.

Once it is all traced how I like, I then head to the garage to get my router ready!

I use a Craftsman 1/2 peak HP router.  And I have really seemed to be a big fan of the Bosch router bits, as they uphold a lot more in the straight router-ing before breaking.  I have found less expensive router bits onsale online, but everyone of those that I have bought and used have broken before I could get through one sign!  That doesn't save me any money when they break too easily, especially the smaller bits.

I set my depth of the router bit about 1/8inch down, sometimes 1/16th, depending on what sign I am making and how I plan to finish it.  This particular sign I knew I wanted to be able to puddle the letters with stain, so I wanted them a little deeper, so 1/8th works for this sign.

As you can see above I just follow the pattern of the letters and cut the entire sign.

Next I sanded the entire sign...making sure that I got rid of any of the rough edges.  I also like to use a hand wood carving tool to clean out the sawdust and debris in the letters before I stain!

Next I put two coats of stain onto my sign.  For these kinds of signs, I like to puddle the letters with stain, as you see above, it leaves the letters darker and easier to read, without having to paint them first. When you puddle the letters, use a foam brush and basically let it drip into the carved letter, and once you have a line done, carefully take the foam brush and spread out any extra stain that got onto the top of the sign.  If you don't, you will have darker marks by each letter.  During this process you have to work pretty quickly to keep it an even stain.

I like to use Minwax Polyshade on these, because it is stain and polyurethane all in you don't have to go back over with poly!

As you can see in the above picture, the stain will take on the coloring of the wood....this piece has a lighter bottom shade from the grain of the wood.

So here is finished product....all ready to hang in Cami's room.  Check out my new stamp to go on the back of all of my own creations!

Well I hope this has inspired you to create your own designs from wood.  It's simple and easy to do!


This was shared at

Lovely Crafty Home



  1. This is so awesome! I am so glad you commented on my blog so I could see yours! I am pinning this and would love to try it out sometime, thanks for the tutorial!

  2. This looks so perfect! You must have the hands (or sander) of surgeon! Like Mindi said thanks for the tutorial! Great project!

  3. are too sweet. Actually it is easier to control than you think. Just like painting, but with a router. (My favorite part, is doing it by hand you will always have a few small imperfections, and that makes it that much more special!) Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Hi Pam - I also do routed signs - Google Burts Signs & Designs - I use a 60 deg router bit. I used MS Publisher to design my sign and I just make the outline of the letter (uses less printer ink) and like you, I have to tape the paper together to make a full sign. I used to use carbon paper and trace the letters onto the wood, but now all I do is use scotch tape and tape the paper to the wood and route right thru the paper. It takes a couple of times but it is easy to do and it saves a lot of time. I then spray the letters with stencil ink, let it dry and use a sander with 60 or 80 grit paper to sand the excess ink off and then use a 220 grit to make it smooth. Then you can stain it or in my case I am using BC cedar and I usually just seal the wood and then it is finished. Burt