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Hello, lovelies! With only a few weeks left until Christmas, I’ve been going a little bit overboard making Christmas decorations, including this oversize wreath, these snowy Christmas jars, and this free printable Silent Night wall art.
(I’d say I’m low-key obsessed with decorating for Christmas, but that’d be a lie. I am high-key obsessed. Is that a phrase the youth use? I don’t know.)
Anyway, in the spirit of all things festive, today I’d like to share with you this little Christmas sign I made this week:
I’ve been wanting to make one of these Christmas signs for ages. Wooden signs are honestly one of my favourite things about farmhouse decor. Combine that with my almost neurotic love for Christmas decorating and, well, you might understand why I’m a little bit addicted to Christmas signs.
DIY Christmas sign
- A cutting machine. I used a Cricut Explore Air 2.
- This zip file, which contains the SVG. Alternatively, there’s a pre-prepared version of the project here on Cricut Design Space.
- Regular adhesive vinyl, transfer tape, and a weeding tool and scraper.
- A piece of plywood or MDF, painted white.
- Black acrylic paint.
- A sponge, paintbrush, and scissors.
- Matte mod podge.
Optional: If you want to frame your sign, please see this excellent tutorial by Sara at Sincerely Sara D. I used a slightly modified version of her tutorial to frame my sign and, honestly, it’s the easiest DIY frame tutorial I’ve tried yet.
Step 1: Preparing the stencil
The first step was making the stencil.
To do this, I set the dial on my Cricut to ‘vinyl’ and put a sheet of regular adhesive vinyl on to the StandardGrip mat.
Next, I loaded the SVG file (download above) into Cricut Design Space. Due to the size of the design, I had to prepare the SVG so that it would be cut across multiple mats. If you’re not sure how to do this, follow the instructions in this post. Alternatively, here’s the design pre-prepared in Cricut Design Space. I’ve made the stencil so that it overlaps slightly, which makes it easier to align all of the individual vinyl squares.
Once I had cut the stencil, I used the weeding tool to remove the letters.
Next, I laid some transfer tape over the design and ran the scraper tool over the top of the transfer tape a few times to remove any bubbles.
Holding a corner of the transfer tape, I slowly peeled the design off the vinyl’s backing paper, then smoothed it on to my wooden panel.
I was a bit worried about paint leaking out from under the stencil, so I ran the scraper tool over the vinyl several times to make sure it was properly stuck to the wood.
I then peeled off the transfer tape.
Step 2: Painting the stencil
I dipped a sponge into some black acrylic paint, then dabbed it on a rag to remove the excess paint. I then dabbed the sponge lightly across the whole design.
When it comes to stencilling, I prefer to use multiple light coats of paint rather than one heavy coat because, at least in my experience, heavier coats increase the likelihood of paint bleed. Paint bleed is one of my least favourite things to deal with (my hands are far too shaky to tidy up letters with a paintbrush), so I try to avoid it as much as possible.
Step 3: Using mod podge to transfer the tree image
I wanted to add a little Christmas tree image to the sign, but thought it would be too hard to do using the stencil technique. So I decided to transfer it using some matte mod podge. You could also use regular mod podge – I just opted for matte because I was a bit worried the regular stuff would leave an unwanted shiny residue.
I trimmed the picture of the trees as close to the image as possible. I then used a paintbrush to brush a generous amount of mod podge all over the image. The trick here is to make sure you get everything covered by the mod podge, as any bits you miss won’t transfer properly.
I then flipped the image over and smoothed it on to my sign. You want the mod podge side of the image to come in contact with the MDF panel. I ran my hands over the paper a few times to make sure there were no air bubbles, as these will ruin the transfer.
At this point I was tired, so I just left the trees to dry overnight. If you’re pressed for time, you can hurry the drying process along by blasting it with a hairdryer. I sometimes do this and I haven’t had any trouble. I usually blast whatever it is I’m transferring with the hair dryer on high heat/high power for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Once the mod podge was dry, I dipped a sponge into some water. I then dabbed a small part of the image with the wet sponge, then used my fingers to rub the paper in a circular motion. The paper will slowly come away, revealing the image underneath. The key here is to work in sections, keep adding water, and to go gently.
Once my image was transferred, I peeled the vinyl stencil away from the MDF.
Step 4 (Optional): Making your frame
To finish, I decided to frame my Christmas sign. You don’t have to do this, but I had some scrap wood hanging around and thought it’d look nice.
To make my frame, I followed this excellent tutorial by Sara at Sincerely Sara D. I used a hammer rather than a nail gun, but kept the rest basically the same.