Wooden signs are a huge money-making niche on Etsy and other online marketplaces. Parents love to buy wooden name signs for their kid’s room. New homeowners are a great target customer for family name signs to hang outside their front door. Wedding planners love rustic guidepost signs to place around the wedding grounds.
The options are endless and in this post, we’ll walk you through a few different ways on how to make wooden signs to sell.
Wooden Sign Design Ideas
Etsy and Pinterest are great places to start to get design inspiration for your wooden signs to sell. Etsy has a bestseller tag that will show up on hot selling items so that should give some idea as to what is selling well. Try variations of wooden sign keywords like “CNC wooden sign”, “wooden name sign”, or “stenciled wooden sign” to drill down a bit further into this niche.
Wooden Name Signs Design Ideas
Wooden name signs come in a variety of different styles from a simple stenciled print to complex CNC’d cutouts. Find the style that meets your design and workflow capabilities and add a creative twist to make it stand out.
Here are a few of our favorite, best selling wooden name sign designs.
Wooden Outdoor Signs Design Ideas
Outdoor signs make great housewarming gifts, wedding decor or decorative pieces for the backyard. This opens up a huge potential client base by expanding your sign making into these niches.
Here are a few inspiring wooden outdoor sign designs.
Wooden Seasonal Sign Design Ideas
We love introducing new seasonal items into our Etsy shop to keep on top of seasonal search traffic. Holiday-themed sign decor centered around the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are all ways to capitalize on those high search holidays.
Here are some great seasonal and holiday themed designs.
How to Make Wooden Signs to Sell
Making wooden signs can range from the simple with rough cut lumber and stencils to complex using a CNC machine or anywhere in between. There are a lot of great options that will work with almost anyone’s budget, space, and woodworking knowledge.
How to Make a Wooden Sign With Stencils
Using stencils is a great way to get started making wooden signs to sell. The startup costs are relatively cheap and you can easily make these signs in a spare bedroom or on your kitchen table.
Cricut Air (for cutting stencils)
Cricut Vinyl Transfer Tape
Mod Podge (Keeps paint from running under the stencils)
The first step in making a wooden sign with stencils is selecting your base sign material. If you don’t have access to any woodworking tools then going with pre-made options is a great route. Amazon has a TON of sign blanks available to choose from.
Using a vinyl cutting machine like a Cricut is the best way to make the stencils for your wooden signs. You can purchase letter stencils off of Amazon but keeping them all aligned and filling in the gaps afterward will make for a slow process.
There are a ton of great tutorials on Youtube on how to get started creating stencils and cutting them out using a Cricut.
From there its as easy as staining the wood. Applying the stencil. Applying a coat of Mod Podge to keep the paint from running under the stencil and applying the final coat of paint.
Remember to take STUNNING photos when listing your wooden signs for sale. No matter how clever or beautiful your signs are, if you don’t take professional level photos then they will not sell well.
In previous posts, we have talked about the camera and lighting setup we use to take beautiful product photography for items in our Etsy shop.
How to Make a Wooden Sign with a Scrollsaw
Using a scroll saw is a great way to start creating beautiful, raised, or cut out wooden signs. A scroll saw allows for making very intricate cuts and the blade is removable to easily cut out the inside sections of letters.
Wood Stain or Spray Paint
Start by picking out a base material for your scroll saw sign. MDF is a popular option as it cuts easily and will produce a smooth, uniform finish. You can also use project boards from stores like Home Depot that are typically made from soft woods like pine or fir.
If you are cutting out letters that will not be applied to a backing material then use wood that is at least 1/2″ thick to prevent it front breaking.
Use a computer to design your sign. Word editing programs are a great way to experiment with different fonts. Online editing programs like Canva are another great option for playing around with different fonts and designs.
Print off the design and glue it to your material using a spray adhesive or contact cement. Once it dries you are ready to start cutting on the scroll saw.
Once you are finished used the sandpaper to clean up any rough edges and remove any excess paper and glue from the front.
If you are mounting the sign on backing material like MDF or hardwood you can attach the letters using CA glue.
From there it is just a matter of painting your sign and listing it for sale!
How to Make a Wooden Sign with a Router
Routers are a great way to create relief style signs popular in outdoor settings. These signs are made to standup to the elements and are very popular with customers looking for rustic themed home or wedding decor.
Handheld Router with Plunge Kit
Sign Making Bits
Outdoor Rated Finish
Making wooden signs with a router is a quick way to batch out wooden signs once you have a repeatable process in place.
The two most common ways to create wooden signs with a router is either routing out the sign freehand or using a template set.
If you choose to go the freehand route either use a computer to draw out your design or draw the design freehand on your sign material. From there it is just a matter of routing out the material to create the relief on the sign.
Note that routers are powerful tools so always be mindful of using safe practices. Plunge routers make it easy to safely begin and end each cut but controlling the plunge in and out of the wood.
If you choose to use a sign making kit the process is as easy as lining up the letters, installing the guide bushing on your router, and following the edges of each letter pattern.
Once the design is complete you can paint the letters to make them stand out or just finish the entire sign with a protective coat of oil or polyurethane.
How to Make a Wooden Sign with a CNC
A CNC is one of the most versatile tools you can add to your sign-making business. The options are almost limitless as to the types of signs and other CNC projects you can create.
CNC machines open up a world of possibilities to the types of signs you can make and it is almost impossible to do it justice in one section of this post on sign making.
From learning the design software to understanding and fine-tuning your CNC there is an entire skill set to know. Luckily there are a ton of amazing resources available from Facebook groups to official support pages to websites that sell design templates to get you started.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.