Mon-Fri 7am-1am EST Sat-Sun 8am-11pm EST
Mon-Fri 7am-1am EST Sat-Sun 8am-11pm EST
My Store: | Change | Find A Store  
Store #
Monday - Friday
Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > How-To Articles > Making Signs and Decorations

Making Signs and Decorations

Making signs and decorations is part woodworking, part craft project and all about expressing yourself. Whether you're making signs or decorations for yourself or to give as gifts, this is one project that's as much fun to plan as it is to do. Put on your thinking cap, crank up your creative engine and let the fun begin. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.

Tools & Materials


  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Tape measure
  • Stain wiping rag
  • Paintbrush
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Hearing protection


  • Stain
  • Varnish or polyurethane
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer

A Few Tips

There really is no right or wrong way to go about making your signs. But we do have a few simple suggestions to help your sign- and decoration-making more productive.

  • If you need material greater than 11 1/4" in two directions, (11 1/4" is the actual width of a nominal 1x12) use glue rated for exterior use to glue up your boards. Or, use plywood if you don't want to glue up your stock.
  • When possible, use lumber rated for outdoor use for your project. If lumber rated for outdoor use doesn't fit in with your project, use a quality exterior finish material to protect your project.
  • Pay special attention when applying finish to the edges and ends of your signs and decorations. These areas tend absorb more finish material than others and may require extra coats to achieve a good seal.
  • Use a UV blocking varnish or polyurethane as a topcoat for added protection.


The pattern sets the mood for your sign and begins conveying your message even before anyone is close enough to read any words you may use. A sign in the shape of a waving flag or a firecracker exploding says Independence Day, while one with heavily scalloped edges and curves gives a sense of old world craftsmanship and adds weight to the message. Choose a pattern that complements your message.

If you're not artistically inclined, look through magazines to find the shape or shapes you want and have it or them blown up at a copy centre. For signs with curves and scallops, use common household items like coffee and soup cans to trace the curves onto your wood stock.

Making Your Sign

  • Use a jig saw or band saw to cut the wood to match your pattern. Cut the piece a little large and sand the remaining material away to leave smooth edges.
  • Good idea: If you want a decorative edge treatment, use a router and a piloted bit to add the edge to your board. Add a third dimension to your art by routing or carving relief and contours into the design.

  • Remove sawdust residue with a cloth or brush.
  • Apply primer and allow it to dry. If you're staining and clear coating the sign, skip to step five.
  • When dry, sand lightly, using a fine grit paper.
  • Copy your design onto the wood stock. (If you're really artistic, draw the design directly on the board.) Paint the design. Allow each colour coat to dry before applying the next.
  • Apply two coats of UV blocking varnish or polyurethane as a topcoat according to manufacturer's instructions.
Back To Lowe's For Pros

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

Your Recently Viewed Items
You have no recently viewed items. After viewing product detail pages or search results, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to products you are interested in.
Your Recommended Items

You currently have no recommended items. Browse a few more items to give us an idea of what you like.
© 2012 - 2016 Lowe's ®. All rights reserved. Lowe's and the gable design are registered trademarks of LF, LLC v2.3.0.48 release/EV2.3
Server: WWW60 Created On: 10/24/2016 6:46:28 PM