DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign: Iowa Roots

Heelllloooooooooo, friends! It’s a rainy weekend here in Arizona, which means it’s perfect blog-writing weather! And, omg, I am ridiculously excited to share my latest DIY project with you! An adorable wood sign, made using our new Cricut Explore Air 2, a little paint, and our reclaimed wood from Porter Barn Wood. It’s probably my most favorite sign I’ve ever made.

DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign - Final

My mom and I have made plenty of signs in the past, but we’re always looking for the best method to getting our designs onto the wood or canvas. We’ve tried transfer paper, cutting out and tracing letters, free-hand painting, etc., but it’s either a huge hassle or not the prettiest. So, on Thursday, we decided to go half-sies on a new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine (they’re a little pricey, on sale at JoAnne for $250)! It’s this machine that cuts out text and shapes, as well as draws with a marker. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch. I’ll show you a video in a bit.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Box

Materials for the DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

  1. Board of reclaimed wood, or any other wood you’d like
  2. Cricut Cutting Machine with Cutting Board
  3. Peel-off Vinyl Sheets
  4. Mod Podge
  5. White Paint
  6. Foam Brush
  7. Ruler
  8. Painter’s Tape

Designing the Sign

Growing up and living in Iowa for 20+ years, the state is near and dear to my heart. I love Iowa decor and wanted to bring some of it into my home, thus, the idea for the wood sign!

Cricut has its own Design Center for creating projects, so I was excited to try it out. You can buy their subscription for $60-$120 per year, which includes a ton of images and fonts to use, but you can also upload your own images and use fonts from your computer for free. Given there are tons of free fonts online and places to get your own images, I couldn’t justify getting the subscription myself.

Cricut Design Center - DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

Once I had it in order, it was time to cut!

Cutting out the Design with Cricut

I was really excited that the Cricut Explore Air 2 was Bluetooth-enabled, which meant I could connect it directly to my laptop without any cords!

We placed the vinyl sheet on the cutting mat, loaded it into the Cricut, and let it do its work! Watch here. It’s so mesmerizing.

Placing the Design on the Wood

Alright, so getting this newly-created design onto the wood still took some finagling. Note: Before we cut the design on the vinyl, we tested it on a piece of cardstock – we actually used the cardstock in our planning later on. Here’s what we did:

Step 1: Wiped off the wood with a damp towel to remove any debris.

Step 2: Peeled off the vinyl outline Iowa and placed it onto the wood.

Step 3: Placed the cardstock shape of Iowa onto the design, placed a ruler along the bottom of the cutout letters, and taped it down with painter’s tape. This would help ensure our letters would be placed in the right spot and we spaced them correctly.

Here’s a picture of the… contraption. You can see, since we had the cardstock cutout there, it was much easier to make sure the letters were straight and in the perfect position.

Placing the Vinyl Letters onto the Wood - DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

Mod Podging & Painting

We took up the tape, ruler, and cardstock, and voila! We had our design perfectly on the wood! Thanks to the vinyl with the sticky back, our designs stayed in place. It was time to paint!

We found a tutorial on Pinterest about the best way to paint onto a rough wood surface without the paint bleeding outside the edges. The tutorial from Cutting for Business says to use Mod Podge to seal the edges and prevent the paint from seeping outside. So, Mod Podge it was!

Mod Podge on the Sign - DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

Once the Mod Podge was dry (about 10 minutes), we painted! We just used a white acrylic paint we had around – Delta CeramCoat in Magnolia White. If it has “Magnolia” in it, it must be good, right? ? I made sure not to use too much paint since I wanted the wood texture to be visible through it.

Painted Board - DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

With the paint still wet, we peeled up all the vinyl. I was a little nervous that it would be difficult to peel up because of the Mod Podge, but it wasn’t at all! First I used tweezers, then I switched to a utility knife to gently lift the edges. The painted edges were PERFECT!

Peeling Up Vinyl Layer - DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

The Finished Product

Voila!! This wood sign is SOO PRETTYYYY!!!!

Finished Sign

If needed, you can give it a light sanding afterward to reveal more of the woodgrain.

I’m not sure where my wood sign is going yet, but I kinda like it on my window sill on this dreary, rainy day.

Wood Sign on the Window Sill

Oh, and my consensus on our new Cricut? I definitely think it will be worth the investment. The time it took to get our stencil made was drastically reduced compared to our past methods! If you have the money, or a friend to share it with, I’d definitely recommend it!

Have a great weekend, and stay dry, friends! ☔️

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