Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links'. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more.Hello, lovelies! With only a few weeks left until Christmas, I’ve been going absolutely mad making DIY Christmas decor. (What can I say? I love decorating for Christmas.) In the spirit of all things festive, today I’d like to share with you yet another DIY holiday decor project: A DIY rustic wooden Christmas sign.
Like my oversize Christmas wreath, I’ve been wanting to make one of these Christmas signs for ages. Wooden signs are honestly one of my favourite things about farmhouse decor. Combine that with my almost neurotic love for Christmas decorating and, well, you might understand why Christmas wooden signs are basically my crack.
There are two broad ways you can make your DIY Christmas sign:
- The cutting machine method: Here you use a cutting machine, such as a Cricut or Silhouette Cameo, to create a stencil which you can then paint. I used this method to make my sign. And guys, as someone who used to paint signs by hand, this nifty little machine makes a world of difference. My signs take a quarter of the time they used to and they come out so much neater.
- The manual method: This involves transferring a rough copy of the design to your wood, then painting it by hand using paint and/or a paint marker. This is how I used to make my signs before I got my Cricut. It does work, but you’ll need a little extra patience and a steady hand.
This tutorial will focus on the cutting machine method, but below I’ve included a link that will help you out if you’re making your sign by hand!
So, let’s get crafting!
How to make your own pretty DIY wooden Christmas sign
Please note: If you don’t have a cutting machine, ignore steps 1 and 2. Instead, follow the instructions in this post to transfer your design. Then, continue with step 3.
To make your DIY Christmas sign, you will need:
- This zip, which contains all the files you need to create the exact sign I made.
- A cutting machine. I used a Cricut Explore Air 2.
- Regular adhesive vinyl, transfer tape, and a weeding tool and scraper.
- A piece of plywood or MDF, painted in the colour of your choice. You can get this from pretty much any hardware store. I used a piece of MDF 30″ x 21″, painted with this chalk paint (which is a fantastic, affordable alternative to Annie Sloan’s range).
- Black acrylic paint.
- A sponge, paintbrush, and scissors.
- Matte mod podge.
Optional: If you want to frame your sign, please see this excellent tutorial by Sara at Sincerely Sara D. I used a slightly modified version of her tutorial to frame my sign and, honestly, it’s the easiest DIY frame tutorial I’ve tried yet.
Step 1: Prepare your stencil
Note: As mentioned above, if you don’t have a cutting machine, use this tutorial to transfer your design. Then, skip to step three.
To begin, download the this zip file, which contains all the images you need to complete your project.
Then, you can either:
- Check out the pre-prepared project I’ve posted on Cricut Design Space. This is the less time consuming “cut and go” alternative.OR
- Use your cutting machine to cut the stencil from the SVG. If you need to cut your stencil across multiple mats but aren’t sure how, I’ve written a tutorial about how to cut an oversize stencil in Cricut Design Space. You can find that tutorial here.
Once you’ve cut your stencil, use your weeding tool to remove the letters.
Then, lay your transfer tape over the design. Run your scraper tool over the top of the transfer tape a few times. This will remove any bubbles and ensure the vinyl is firmly stuck to the transfer tape.
Holding a corner of the transfer tape, slowly lift your design off the vinyl’s backing paper. Lay your design on your wood, then run the scraper tool across the design once more. You want to make sure the design is fully stuck to the wood so that no paint can be cheeky and sneak under the stencil.
Once you’re done, gently remove the transfer tape. If it’s still got some stickiness, stick it back on the backing it comes with as you can reuse it!
Step 2: Paint your stencil
Dip a sponge very gently into some black acrylic paint, dabbing the sponge on a piece of scrap paper/a rag to remove any excess paint. Dab your sponge lightly across your design.
When working with stencils, it’s better to do two or three very thin coats of paint than one heavy coat. A heavy coat of paint increases the risk that the paint will make its way under the stencil, ruining your pretty wooden sign.
Step 3: Use mod podge to transfer the tree image
The next step is to use a little mod podge to transfer the Christmas tree image included in the .zip file you downloaded in step one. Any mod podge will work, but I recommend you grab some matte mod podge if at all possible, as it won’t leave any shiny residue.
Using scissors, remove the excess paper around the Christmas tree image. Apply a generous amount of mod podge to the front of the image. Make sure you cover every bit of the paper.
Then, place your image design-side down on your wood. Leave to dry overnight or speed things up by blasting it with a hairdryer while screaming “Dry, stupid thing, dry”. Your choice.
Once the mod podge is dry, dip a sponge (a regular kitchen sponge will do) in water. Working in small sections, dab a small part of the image with the wet sponge, then use your fingers to rub the paper in a circular motion. The paper will slowly come away, revealing the image underneath.
Brush excess paper away, then gently peel back your vinyl stencil.
If you don’t want to frame your sign: Congratulations, your work is done! If you’d like to frame your DIY Christmas sign, read on.
Step 4 (Optional): Make your frame
To make my frame, I followed this excellent tutorial by Sara at Sincerely Sara D. I used a hammer rather than a nail gun, but kept the rest basically the same. As someone is really, really bad at construction (worst DIY blogger ever), I was really impressed with how easy her frame was to make and thoroughly recommend you check it out!
And with that, your DIY Christmas sign is all finished and ready to be used in your holiday decor!
I’m a little bit obsessed with using conifer branches in my Christmas decor. They’re so Christmasy. As you can see, adding the frame around the plywood makes it look more substantial, which is great if you want to trick people into thinking you have fancy Christmas decor.
I’m just a little obsessed with this wooden house, so here, have a picture of its cuteness.
If you liked this project, please consider sharing it with others xoxo