DIY Wooden Welcome Sign Without a Vinyl Cutter

Wooden Welcome Sign


Unless you’re an avid crafter or maker, you probably don’t want to buy expensive tools- especially if you want to make just one thing! My friend asked me if I could make a wood “Welcome” sign for her from a picture she found online. Usually these types of signs would be made with vinyl cutters, but I don’t own one. I wanted to make this sign for her, so I tried something that I hadn’t done before and didn’t break the bank in the slightest.

Follow along below for the tutorial on how I made this white-washed welcome sign and see how easily you can make one as well!


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What you’ll need:



Tools Used:


Step 1: Sand your wood

  • If you buy a piece of wood that’s 36” long, then you don’t need to cut it! I had a scrap piece of wood that was a little bit longer, so I used my beloved miter saw and trimmed it down to 36”.
  • To prep your wood for the stain and for general use, sand it down with an orbital sander to smooth out any rough parts. You can also use the sander to round out the square edges a little bit.
Whitewashed Welcome Sign

Step 2: Stain or paint your wood

  • To make this white-washed look, stain or paint the wood black first. I used Minwax’s True Black stain for this, but black paint would suffice as well!
  • Once the black base is dry, it’s time to do the white-wash. Here’s how I achieved this look (hint: it’s easy!):
    • Lightly dip the brush in the white paint.
    • Rub off most of the paint on the edge of the paint can- the brush should be mostly dry.
    • Make big and light strokes along your board so that the paint goes on lightly and looks like it was distressed. You can also see the video (HERE– takes you to my Instagram story) to watch me do this.
Whitewashed Welcome Sign
Whitewashed Welcome Sign

Step 3: Print and cut your letters

  • Using cardstock, print the letters for “WELCOME” in all caps in black. I did this in Georgia font size 390 and it fit perfectly on the plank of wood.
  • Once they are printed, cut them out with scissors! You don’t want to leave any of the white cardstock on the letters, so cut them carefully.


Step 4: Align and glue on letters

  • You can measure the placement of the letters more accurately than I did, but to align the letters, it’s easy to start with the first and last letter, leaving the same amount of space from the top and the bottom, and then work your way to the center with the rest of the letters. Adjust them how you need to in order to make sure that they are lined up evenly.
  • Once they are aligned how you want them, it’s time to stick the letters on with Matte Mod Podge! That stuff is amazing and worked so well. Dip your foam brush in the Mod Podge, cover the backside of the letter, lay the letter down in its place on the board, and then generously cover the top of it with more Mod Podge to glue it to the board. Smooth out the letters as needed.
  • Side note: If you haven’t used Mod Podge before, just know that it goes on cloudy, but dries perfectly clear.
  • Do the same gluing process with all the letters.
Whitewashed Welcome Sign

Step 5: Finish with polyurethane

  • Now that the letters are glued down and everything is dry and clear, you can finish the sign with polyurethane to protect it. This (click HERE) is my favorite water-based polyurethane and I use it for most of my projects!
  • **Make sure to use a water-based polyurethane since you are putting it over paint. If you use an oil-based polyurethane, it will yellow!**
  • Brush on a couple of layers of polyurethane to protect the sign, and then you’re done!
Whitewashed Welcome Sign
Whitewashed Welcome Sign

Making a sign like this wooden “Welcome” sign can be easy and fun, and you might already have the materials that you need right now!


Happy building, friends!


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