How to Make Wood Signs Without a Cricut

Learn how to make wood signs WITHOUT a Cricut the easy way! All you need is some chalk, a template, and paint pens!

My drawing skills are poor, to say the least. As a child, my mother would tell me I just compared myself to talented kids, and that my drawing skills were fine.

Coming from the women who was typically my biggest cheerleader, this was not a ringing endorsement.

As an adult, nothing has changed. I wish had the skills to at least freehand pretty letters for signs. I do not.

Nor do I have a Cricut. So, I’ve had to improvise. 

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

Method Overview

Making wood signs without a Cricut is actually pretty easy. Simply print out a template, and color the back with white chalk. Flip the template over, and trace the design with pencil onto the sign. This transfers the chalk, and gives you a guide to go over with a paint pen.

It’s certainly more time-consuming than using a Cricut, but significantly less expensive. 

In this project, I’ve made a number of small rustic Christmas ornaments with this technique. It was easy, and although the transferred chalked was a little hard to see, it was definitely do-able.

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Materials

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.
  • TemplatesGrab 6 of them here for free, or all 48 for $12 here.
  • Scrap Wood – I cut down 1x4s left over from my DIY Box Spring.
  • Stain – I used gel stain, because I was working with cheap softwood.
  • Chalk – I recommend using chalk the same color as the paint you plan to paint with. I experimented with different colors, and found they mixed with my white paint and tinted it a bit.
  • Paint Pens – I’m not a paint pen connoisseur, but I purchased these and they’ve held up well so far.
  • Twine – For hanging ornaments
  • Tape – I used typical clear tape, but pretty much anything that easily peels off the wood is fine

Mini-Wood Signs

Step 1: Cut and Stain Wood

1x4s are actually 3/4″ thick x 3.5″ wide, so I cut my pieces into 3.5″ wide squares. 

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

Then I stained them with Varathane’s Dark Walnut Gel Stain. I chose gel stain here because it stains softwood better than traditional oil-based stains. (Thicker stain = less absorption into wood = less blotchiness.)

I gave the stain 24 hours to dry, then worked on the next step.

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.
Step 2: Color Template Back with Chalk

I cut out my templates (grab the 6 free ones here, or the full set here) and colored the back of them with chalk. I really recommend using chalk that matches your paint color, but for the sake of this photo I used pink:

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

For the record, the other paper is colored with white chalk, you just can’t see it.

Step 3: Trace Design onto Wood

Tape the paper chalk-side down onto the wood.

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

Then trace the design with a sharp pencil. Don’t be afraid to press hard, which will only help transfer the chalk to the wood.

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

It’s a faint outline, but it’s enough to properly trace the design.

Step 4: Trace with a Paint Pen

Go over the chalk impression with a paint pen.

For the most part, the chalk impression was enough for me to get a good replica of the design, but if there was a spot I wasn’t sure about, I just glanced at the template and did my best.

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.
Step 5: Finishing Touches

There was still a little stray chalk on a couple of the ornaments, so once the paint was dry I wiped them down with a damp cloth.

Also, since these were intended to be Christmas tree ornaments, I drilled a small hole, and added twine for hanging.

FAQs

I love DIY Ornaments. Do you have anymore?

Yes! These DIY Snowman Ornaments are one of my favorite projects ever, and these Embroidery Hoop Ornaments are quick and easy.

Where can I grab the templates you used?

You can get 6 of them for free here, and the full set of 48 for $12 here.

Do you have a video of this project?

Yes! Check it out on Youtube!

Cost Considerations

The nice thing about these ornaments is that they are easily scalable. I made eight of them before I ran out of podcast, and I still had plenty of materials left. 

If you’re purchasing everything new, your constraining factor will be wood. Given you purchase a single 1×4 for this project, you’ll be able to make 26-ish ornaments.

ItemCost
1×4$3
Chalk$4
Paint Pens$9
Twine$5
Gel Stain$8
Tape$2
Total$30

Hopefully you have some of these supplies around already – else this craft gets expensive quickly. I only purchased paint pens and chalk, and spent around $13.

Final Thoughts

I don’t plan to purchase a Cricut anytime soon, and this method is so easy that I don’t really feel I need to!

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

I love how these ornaments turned out, and can’t wait to make more! If you want to make your own, be sure to grab the 6 free templates here (or get all 48 for just $12!)

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.

Finally, if you’re planning to make these ornaments, be sure to save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Learn how to make wood signs without a cricut with these easy DIY Rustic Ornaments. The perfect addition to your Christmas tree, these diy ornaments are easy to make and are the perfect way to use up scrap wood!.