This is probably one of the more labor-intensive craft projects I’ve done and required a not-so-cheap but worth it investment. If you have a Silhouette or Cricut machine already, then you’re good to go. If not, then I strongly encourage you to get one rather than trying to create your own stencil.
Here’s what you need:
- A wooden plank. I used 2’x2′ 3/4″ thick plywood cut down to about 14″x24″
- Stain and/or paint
- A Silhouette or Cricut machine with vinyl paper (alternatively you could cut the letters out of contact paper by hand)
First, we cut the board down to the size I wanted using my new jigsaw. I just picked up a really cheap one from Home Depot for small projects like this. Since I wanted stained wood letters with a white-ish background, I stained the whole board first using MinWax Early American. After a few coats, it was dark enough so I let it dry overnight.
Drawing it out on a scrap piece of paper, I planned out how I wanted the whole thing to look, the size of each of the rows, when to capitalize and whatnot…. you get the idea. It took a lot of trial and error to get the letters right with my Cricut machine, but eventually I started to get the hang of it. The vinyl paper basically gives you a sticker. I just peeled it off the cutting mat and stuck it on the board. I used painter’s tape to create guidelines for the rows so that I could try and keep everything as straight as possible. It’s not perfect, but pretty close.
Once all the letters were on the board and arranged the way I wanted, I laid the whole thing down on some newspaper and gave it several coats with spray paint. I just used Krylon in Almond. Before it dried completely and in order to create clean edges, the Mister and I peeled each of the letters off to expose the stain underneath. Definitely a little tedious and probably not the best use of our steak knives, but whatever. Using spray paint in the basement next to the water heater with all the windows shut was definitely worse as far as decision making goes.
We let this dry overnight and I roughly sanded the whole thing the next day to smooth it out and add a slight imperfection. Once we got it to my parents’ new condo, we attached some eye hooks and wire to the back. It’s not very heavy thankfully, so we just used a single frame hook mounted to the wall to hang it…. and voila! It looks awesome!!