How to Make a Painted Wood Sign with the Cricut Explore

I was recently blessed to be asked to guest post at The Crafty Nook blog and I'm excited to be able to share my project with you. I decided to add to our American decor and created a custom wood sign using my Cricut Explore and the Cricut stencil vinyl. No matter what design you choose, creating a custom wood sign is so much easier when you have a Cricut! 

How to make a custom wood sign with the Cricut Explore

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The Cricut Explore is an amazing addition to your crafting and DIY projects. If you have been thinking of getting one but aren’t sure what model to choose, check out this guide

Today we will be making a DIY painted wood sign using the Cricut Explore and Cricut stencil vinyl.

Fourth of July Wooden Sign with Cricut Explore


  • half inch birch plywood 7.75 inches by 11 inches

  • Cricut stencil vinyl

  • red and white acrylic paint

  • transfer tape

  • fine grit sandpaper

  • paint brush or sponge


1. SAND & PAINT wood:

Begin by sanding your wood so that the surface is smooth. This makes it easier for the stencil to stick and not have any paint bleed underneath it. Paint the wood with white acrylic paint using a sponge or brush. Set aside to let dry.

If needed, gently sand again and apply a second coat of white paint. It is important to let it dry long enough, even overnight if you are able. If you don’t, the stencil will peel parts of the white paint up with it when it is removed.

2. Cut the stencil

I designed the stencil in Cricut Design Space using a USA shape and the Four Seasons Home Decor font. You can access the cut file by clicking here.  The project should open in Design Space and will be ready to cut.

I cut my stencil vinyl at 8 inches tall before I put it on my mat so I didn't have to trim it down after I cut my design.

Apply the stencil vinyl to the cutting mat and go over it with the scraper tool to make sure it is flat and stuck down well. On the Cricut machine turn the dial to custom settings. On the cutting screen in Design Space there is a drop down menu to select the custom material. We want the setting that says “Stencil Vinyl (Cricut)”

Once you have your mat ready and your settings chosen, load the mat and push the cut button. When it is finished unload the mat.  


Using the weeder tool, peel away the parts of the stencil where the paint will go. Make sure you remove all of the insides of the letters as well.

Next, apply the transfer tape on the top of the stencil and smooth it out with the scraper tool. The tape I had on hand was narrow, but most transfer tape will cover the entire piece at once. If you use the Cricut brand transfer tape, press it against your shirt or put your hands on the sticky side before using it. If you don’t the Cricut brand is super sticky!

Make a DIY painted wood sign with the Cricut Explore and Cricut stencil vinyl


Turn the stencil over and pull the backing off. Turn it back over and place it on the wood. Use the scraper tool to make sure it is adhered well and it is completely smooth with no bubbles.

Gently pull the transfer tape off of the stencil. Instead of pulling straight up on it,  peel up a corner and lay it flat against the sign and pull, similar to the photo above where I removed the backing. Once the tape is removed, rub it with the scraper again and make sure it is adhered well, especially around the letters.

How to make a DIY painted wooden sign with the Cricut Explore using Cricut stencil vinyl

5. Seal with ModPodge

The worst thing about making a sign is when the paint bleeds under the stencil. You’ve done all of that work only to have lines that aren’t crisp! To make sure this doesn’t happen, put a thin layer of modpodge over the stencil where you are going to paint. Make sure you get it completely covered, but not too thick. This will seal the edges so that no paint bleeds through.

How to make a DIY painted wooden sign with the Cricut Explore and Cricut stencil vinyl

6. Paint with acrylic paint

Once the modpodge has dried for five or ten minutes, begin painting with the red acrylic paint. Paint a thin layer and let it dry and then paint another.

7. Peel stencil and touch up:

I peel the stencil up while the paint is still slightly wet, partly because it has always worked for me and partly because I’m just impatient! Be very careful to not allow the stencil to touch anything as you are peeling it up.

Use the weeder tool to peel up the letters. If anything did bleed, the paint should still be wet enough to scrape some of it off and use a tiny brush to make touch ups.

Learn how to make a DIY painted wooden sign for the 4th of July using the Cricut Explore and the Cricut Stencil vinyl.

8. Tada! Show everyone you know how awesome you are.

Once your sign is finished take it across the room and put it on your shelf or mantel. Now back up and look at it. Those little imperfections you keep focusing on? Let them go. Nothing you ever make handmade will be perfect. The more you make, the better you will be, but no sign will ever be perfect-and that is ok. 

I would love to see the signs you make! Come join our facebook group and share your is so fun to see all the different things everyone makes!

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