DIY Wood Signs with your Cricut!

Wood Signs are ALL the rage right now, at least they are in the cornfields of Indiana, where I live 🙂 I teach dozens of people every month how to paint wood signs using my Cricut cutting machine and Vinyl. The first few did not turn out so awesome, but I think we have finally perfected the process and the products we use to get there!  Let me walk you through my step by step process with the tools I use, if you have questions, let me know in the comments!


Wood- what ever size you would like to use!  Just make sure it is smooth, the vinyl sticks better on smooth wood!  I use paint grade panels from Lowes.

Stain for the background, I use a water based stain like craft smart gel stain or Waverly Matte Chalk Finish Acrylic Paint

I use multiple types of paint for the wording or designs, I have found that the thin cheaper acrylic paints tend do work much better.

I use a Cricut for my cutting machine, you can see details here 🙂 Cricut Explore Air™ machine

I have tried a few different types of vinyl and I like Oracal 631 sheets the best! Get free shipping with Amazon Prime- ORACAL 631 Matte Vinyl – 24 Pack  and I use Expressions Vinyl Transfer Tape to put on top of the vinyl. 

You will also need a foam brush to put the background stain or paint on, I like these- 20-Piece Foam Brush Set, 2-Inch

Your Cricut or cutting machine should come with a scraper to push down the vinyl and I usually use tweezers from the dollar tree to weed and pull up the extra pieces of vinyl. If you are teaching a class and need multiple scrapers, these have worked really well for me (5) Blue Plastic Squeegee

I also use make-up sponges to apply the paint after the vinyl is on the board, these are the kind I use-
Triangle Powder Puff. You might find them cheaper at Wal-Mart or the Dollar Tree, just make sure they will hold up ok with the paint.

The only other things you will need are some small paint brushes if you need to touch anything up and if you are teaching a class, aprons. These are my favorite and inexpensive! APRON 28×32 in. 12-Pack

Let’s get started!!!

  1. Cut your stencil with your Oracal 631 Vinyl, you can use whatever design you choose. I would do something simple for your first sign.
  2. Weed the stencil, remove all of the little pieces in your stencil.
  3. Put Transfer Tape on top to hold it all together, I use Expressions Transfer Tape
  4. Sand the wood, with a hand sander or just a piece of sand paper, make sure to wipe off all dust.
  5. Use the foam brush to paint your background with a thin coat of the chalk paint or stain. Let it dry completely.
  6. Sand again when dry, sand until it is smooth. Wipe all dust off really well.
  7. line up your stencil, peel off the backing of the vinyl (with the grid).
  8. Place the vinyl on the wood, it is difficult to remove, so make sure it is where you want it, no pressure HA!
  9. Use the squeegee to push the vinyl down onto the wood.
  10. Pull the Expressions Transfer Tape up slooowlly!!  If you pull it too fast, you can rip the vinyl and you do not want to do that. If the vinyl is coming up, use your squeegee or fingers to push the vinyl back down.
  11. Use the squeegee again to make sure the vinyl is sealed to wood around all letters and shapes.
  12. Start painting! We will start with a coat of your background color FIRST! This will help to seal the stencil, if it bleeds under the stencil, it will hopefully bleed the background color and not the final color. I use the foam brush to paint this layer. Make sure the paint is very THIN! Let this coat DRY FULLY!
  13. When the base coat is dry, use the make-up sponges to put on a THIN layer of the color you want your design to be. It is much better to have 2 THIN layers than one thick layer. Try to not put more than 2 layers unless they are VERY thin! I use many types of acrylic or chalk paint for the design. I do not like to use thick transparent acrylics. Go for the thin cheaper kind.
  14. Let the color dry, and peel off the stencil. Peel with the wood grain, it is ok to let the vinyl rip and tear. I use the tweezers to pull the small pieces off or the centers of letters out.
  15. That is it!! You can sand again to distress, but wait a few hours to let the paint completely dry.

If you have questions on the products I use or the process, comment below or email me-

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