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Today I will be sharing a tutorial on how to make a DIY wood sign using your printer, and without tracing paper or a Silhouette Machine. I hope everyone had a great weekend and that all the mom’s out there had a FANTASTICAL Mother’s Day! My sister and I took our mom to see the Georgia Guidestones yesterday in the “granite capital of the world”, which she has been wanting to check out since she moved here from Pennsylvania.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com
Georgia Guidestones located in Elberton, GA

I was really surprised that 4 other cars stopped to check out the Guidestones during the 10 minutes we were there, especially considering they are in the middle of nowhere. I had never even heard about the guidestones until after I moved to Georgia and there was an episode on the history channel discussing the controversy involved {you can learn more about them here}. However, the best part of our mini road trip was a row of shops filled with antiques and old wood that we stumbled upon on our way back home.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer

Part of me wants to be selfish and keep this AMAZING discovery to myself because it’s seriously my new favorite store. However, it’s for that very reason that I HAVE to share it. I know most girls get excited over shoes, purses or makeup, but I get excited over chippy reclaimed wood, old shutters, and stair spindles, haha. I’m just happy that my mom is the same way so that the stop wasn’t completely selfish. If you live in Georgia or near Athens, then you may already know about this row of shops, also known as Heritage Heart Pine, located in Carlton Georgia. There are several rooms filled with antiques, vintage clothes, books and TONS of reclaimed wood/materials from buildings and homes as old as the 1700’s!!! As soon as I walked in the store I practically froze because my brain was trying to process everything around and I couldn’t decide which way to go first. Jimmy Poss, the owner, was so nice and helpful and also gave me a little history on some of the different woods.

I’m so sad this place is nearly 2 hours away but that won’t stop me from heading over there at least once a month to check it out and stock up on some treasures. In fact, the piece of wood I used in my “Makeover Monday” project below is from his store. I was originally going to post a different project today, but I was so excited about my “new” old wood that I’ve decided to share the project I worked on last night instead. This was a super easy project that I learned to do from this post, and best of all it was sooooo much fun! I am officially ADDICTED to making wood signs. Seriously.

Materials Needed:

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Step 1:

Depending on the type of wood you are using (new or old), you may way to paint, sand, or distress it to achieve the look you want. My wood is super old and already had the rustic/distressed look I wanted, so all I did was wipe it down with mineral spirits and give it a light sanding to smooth it out a bit.

 DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Step 2:

Print out the word or quote you want to use BACKWARDS. I used Illustrator to create the style and size I wanted for my “I love you to the moon and back” sign, but you could use photoshop, word, etc. The font is “haymaker” from LostType and I then added the arrows using KG Flavor and Frames Two, and created my own, super simple heart and moon graphics {my crescent moon looks more like a banana on my sign, ha}. To make your font backwards in Illustrator or Photoshop, simply highlight your text and click on Object–>Transform–>Reflect – and select vertical, which should be automatically selected. Voila! Your text is now backwards and ready to print! Depending on the size you need, you may need to print it out on more than one page. I separated mine onto 4 different pages.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer | Upcycledtreasures.com

 

Step 3:

Tape your Page{s} where you want them on the wood with the ink side facing down, and the blank side facing toward the ceiling. Taping it down ensures that your word/quote will stay in place and not move around or smudge when you complete the following steps.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Step 4:

Lightly brush water on top of the page{s}, making sure to cover all of the letters without soaking the paper.  Afterwards, your words should be legible but Don’t Lift the paper yet!

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com
Step 5:

Gently rub the cap of the sharpie over each letter to “burn” the ink into the wood. You will notice the letters becoming slightly darker. I realized it was easier to “burn” the letters while the paper was still damp, so I worked as quickly as possible and just added a little water if an area was too dry by the time I got to it.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

You can see the slight color variation as I rub over the heart with the cap of my sharpie

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.comHere is my heart image AFTER being rubbed with the sharpie cap

Step 6:

After you have finished rubbing over each letter, then it’s time to remove the paper, yay!

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Step 7:

If there are parts of your letters that didn’t show up or fill out as nicely as you want, you can go back in with a small paintbrush and DILUTED paint, to fill them in. I mixed only a couple drops of black paint with a little bit of water to go over some of my letters. I also realized that the arrows I printed out didn’t show up and I am guessing this is because of the light blue color. I ended up changing the color to black, reprinted that section, re-taped it to the board {making sure it was lined up} and then repeated the process and it worked perfectly. The paper did pill up a bit but I think that’s because the paper is so thin and it didn’t affect the outcome.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Step 8:

You can now lightly sand your board if you want the letters to appear more distressed.

Step 9:

Seal your board with wax or polyurethane to protect it, and if you want to hang it up you can attach twine or rope to the back. I will be doing this later in the week.

Step 10:

Rejoice and enjoy your new sign! Yay! We wanted a long sign to hang over the archway into our dining room and I will update the photos once it’s actually hung up.  I definitely plan to make some smaller signs using multiple boards in the future, like I did with my Relax Wood Sign.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

 

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

Update:

So I decided not to hang this above our dining room archway and wanted to cut it in half to make a smaller sign instead. We then drilled holes into the top and added rope so it could be hung. However, now that it’s cut the words are uneven on the boards which sorta annoys me. The good news is I can always make another one. Debating if I should add something to level it out like maybe an exclamation point made out of the same arrow surrounding the “and”.

Not really sold on that idea though because I don’t want it to feel like it’s yelling. I can’t decide if I should leave it the way it is, or if I should add something to the end. What do you think? I plan to make more signs to add to my Etsy shop as well in the next couple weeks…

Another UPDATE:

After receiving a comment from Ashley asking if this would work for colored ink, I decided to test it out. I first printed out some really small letters and when I went to transfer it, must have used too much water because the ink did transfer, but was runny. I tried it a few more times {with less water} with essentially the same results {the top left was my 3rd attempt with less water}. I then made the font larger and made sure to use A LOT less water than I did with my “love you to the moon and back” sign and it transferred over much nicer.

I think the light colored arrow I was trying to use on this sign wasn’t bright enough and the wood wasn’t light enough, otherwise, it would have worked. So the verdict is: Yup, color will print as well – just be extra careful about painting on the water and the bigger the letters the less likely it will be to run. Plus, the bolder the color, the better. That’s what I got from my experience anyway. Of course I only did a super quick sanding on the board before transferring the word over, so more sanding probably would have helped as well.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

The ink was runny because I “painted on” too much water and the letters were too small and close to one another.

DIY Wood Sign Using Your Printer! Check out how to make your own wooden sign without tracing paper or a silhouette machine. UpcycledTreasures.com

This was a super quick test but once I made the letters larger and more spaced out, the ink transferred over much better.

additional resources

If you would like to see more transfers using your printer, be sure to check out my DIY Family Established Monogram Wooden Sign and DIY wood slice Christmas Ornaments.