How to Make Wood Letters

Written by roger golden
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How to Make Wood Letters
. (Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Wooden letters both small and large can be used for a variety of purposes. Small children will enjoy playing with oversized letters, and grade-school aged children can use smaller letters to help them learn to spell. Around the home, wood letters are great for posting the street address, announcing the family in residence, or as simple ornamentation throughout the interior. In addition, many people have discovered that making their own wooden lettering adds a certain amount of personal satisfaction, and allows them more flexibility in the sizes and shapes they want to use.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • 1 Plywood 3/4-by-24-by-48-inches
  • Drill w/1/4-inch bit
  • Jigsaw
  • 180 grit Sandpaper
  • 1 can Enamel spray paint

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  1. 1

    Draw out the letter pattern you want to use with a pencil and eraser. Look through children's activity books for some basic font ideas. Design as many letters as you will need, but you only require one copy of each unique letter.

  2. 2

    Carefully cut your drawing out of the piece of cardboard. Take care to make your cuts smooth, without a lot of jagged points. Cut out any interior areas by poking one blade of the scissors through the material and then carefully cutting around the opening.

  3. 3

    Place your cut-out on one flat side of the plywood. Trace around all edges of the homemade stencil, including any interior areas. If you make an incorrect mark, erase it and try again. Transferring the stencil in this manner makes customising and correcting much easier for you to accomplish.

  4. 4

    Use the drill to make a single small hole in the middle of each interior cut you will have to make. Insert the jigsaw blade into the hole, and cut out the piece. Remove all interior cuts first so that the plywood is easier to handle.

  5. 5

    Cut around all exterior lines of the letter. Make short curves by frequently backing up the jigsaw blade and approaching the curve from a slightly different angle.

  6. 6

    Sand all corners and edges of the letter. Bevel or round the corners of edges to prevent splintering and provide a uniform surface for the paint to bond to.

  7. 7

    Support the letters on strips of wood or other scrap material to raise them above your work surface. Shake the can of paint thoroughly. Spray the letters with slow even strokes, holding the can approximately 8 inches away from the surface of the letters. Allow two hours drying time between coats.

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