How to Do Verses on Wood Plaques

Updated February 21, 2017

Customise wood plaques with inspirational verses, song lyrics, famous sayings and other messages using a variety of craft techniques. Beginning crafters can easily make personalised signs or wall art using a finished or unfinished wood plaque from the craft store. You can also create a wood plaque from a leftover wood board. Add verses and other messages with paint, ink or vinyl to create decorative wood plaques that last for years.

Sand an unfinished wood plaque with light-grade sandpaper. If the plaque is already finished with polyurethane, paint, or another glossy finish, lightly scuff the surface. Carefully remove all dust from the sanding.

Treat the surface of the plaque with stain or paint as you like. Make sure that the final coat of finish dries completely before adding your decorations.

Trace the surface of the plaque that you plan to decorate onto paper and plan how to arrange your verse and other design elements. When you have your design, mark straight, light pencil lines across the plaque to match where you have placed words on your paper pattern Make as many lines as you need to complete the verse, spacing the lines apart to allow for the size(s) of lettering you plan to use.

Tape letter stencils along the lines on the wood plaque to lay out your verses. Using a stencil brush, dab acrylic paint into one letter at a time, allowing the paint to dry before you disturb a stencil in any way.

Create verses or other design elements using rub-on vinyl designs. Trim around each letter with scissors, leaving some margin. Position the letters, one at a time, onto the lines on the wood plaque. Rub the backs of the vinyl letters with a stylus. When you can see the letter is completely transferred off the backing, you can safely remove the empty, transparent sheet.

Paint other designs on freehand with a paint pen. You may find it easier to lightly sketch the designs first in pencil to be sure you're happy with the look, and then go over the pencil letters with the paint pen.

Stamp letters, complete mottoes and other designs onto the wood plaque using rubber stamps and permanent ink. Some stamp designs may also leave open spaces that you can colour in with your paint pens, or leave the wood background showing.

Coat the wood plaque, once all your decorations are dry, with one or two light layers of polyurethane to protect the finish and the verses.


Spray finishes for the undecorated plaque, and to seal the finished product, may be easier to apply evenly than brushed finishes. There may be times, though, that you want to see brushstrokes in the background.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood plaque or board
  • Light-grade sandpaper
  • Stain or paint
  • Drawing paper a little larger than your plaque
  • Paint sponges/brushes
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Stencils for letters and designs
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paints
  • Stencil brush
  • Rub-on vinyl letters and designs
  • Scissors
  • Stylus
  • Paint pen
  • Rubber stamp
  • Waterproof stamp-pad ink
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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.