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Painted Wood Signs Tips for Silhouette Beginners (and a Giveaway)

Making wood signs with Silhouette-cut stencils has become hugely popular.

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There is, however, a learning curve when it comes to painting stenciled wood signs. Today I thought I'd share a few tricks with all of you wood sign beginners.

Since Farmhouse style is so in right now, I picked two sign designs from the Farmhouse Bundle on So Fontsy. I went with this beautiful Farmhouse design and the Home wreath design because they fit the size and shape of my barnwood slabs well.  (Read to the end because you'll have a chance to win the Farmhouse Bundle).


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If you are working with a design from outside of Silhouette Studio, the first thing you want to do is download the design onto your computer. It should include an SVG, PNG, DXF and/or EPS all in a zip file - which means you'll need to unzip the folder before you can access the files.

If you have Silhouette Studio Designer Edition (or higher) you can bring the SVG file into Silhouette Studio by dragging and dropping into a library folder and just turn the cut lines on - no tracing required.

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If you don't have Designer Edition, I suggest you use the DXF version - again to avoid tracing.

Turning Cut Files into Stencils in Silhouette Studio

The Farmhouse and Home designs - like all on So Fontsy - are cut-ready so no modifications except for sizing are needed once it's in Silhouette Studio.  Just measure your piece of wood and then size the design accordingly by selecting it and pulling the corner node in or out.

Since I'm going to use this design as a stencil I used the Draw a Box tool to draw out a box around the design. This allows you to cut it on vinyl and then weed away the actual design exposing the stencil area for paint. 
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TIP: If you won't be wasting to much stencil material or vinyl, make the box the same size as your piece of wood. This will not only cover the exposed area where you don't want paint to go, but it will also help you to align the stencil to the center since the stencil is the exact size as the surface.
If you're having trouble visually 'seeing' the design as a stencil make it and the box a compound path by selecting both > right clicking > Make Compound Path.

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Then fill the design with a solid color (match it to your vinyl if that makes it easier for you to visualize).

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Cutting Oramask 813 Stencil Film

Okay now you're ready to cut your stencil so move into the Send panel. Depending on what type of material you're going to use to cut your stencil on, select it from the Material menu. I would suggest you use Oracal's Oramask 813 stencil film. The recommended Silhouette CAMEO cut settings for Stencil Material can be used to cut the Oracal stencil material.

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After the design has cut, weed out the letters, leaving the base of the stencil.

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Preparing Wood for Paint Stencils

Place the stencil to the side for a few minutes while you prepare the wood. Sand the piece of wood down keeping in mind that any channels or un-smooth areas in the wood can lead to paint bleeds as the paint can seep under the stencil in these areas. 

If you're working on rustic farmhouse-style wood signs like me, maybe you don't mind a little paint bleed since it can add to the character and style of the sign.

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Paint or stain the base coat if you'd like or need to and let it dry completely.

Applying a Stencil to Wood

Cut a piece of high tack transfer tape slightly larger than the size of the stencil and place it over top.

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METHOD 1: If the stencil is the same size (or the exact length or width) as the piece of wood you can peel up the transfer tape lifting the stencil off the backing.  Line up one corner or edge and then place the stencil down onto the wood piece.

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METHOD 2: If your stencil is not the same size as the piece of wood, after you place the transfer tape over the cut stencil material, don't remove the backing. Instead, keep the backing on the Oramask 813 while you use the hinge method to correctly place the stencil evenly on the wood.

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Use a scraper to burnish the stencil through the transfer tape then carefully peel the transfer tape up leaving the stencil on the wood.

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Make sure all edges of the Oramask 813 stencil are firmly pressed down - especially any small areas.


Painting Wood Signs with Stencils

The right paint, applicator, and application method can make all the difference when it comes to painting a stencil.

I would recommend using a makeup sponge to apply chalk-paint in a dabbing up/down motion. You don't want to brush on that paint as that's another opportunity for paint to get under the stencil and create bleeding.  It's better to put on a second coat of paint than having too much paint on the first coat.

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If you need to apply a second coat of paint do so and then wait just a few minutes before pulling off the stencil. You don't want the paint to the fully dry or it could pull up when you remove the stencil.

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This method results in crisp paint lines even on weathered wood like this barn wood.

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For a more rustic and weathered look you may want to sand down your sign again. This also helps even out the paint and hide any little mistake areas.  And that's it!

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Now the part you've been waiting for...a chance to win the So Fontsy Farmhouse Bundle (or any of the other design and font bundles on So Fontsy)!  This bundle will only be around for about another week - and the giveaway is going to be done even sooner than that so hurry!

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Here's how it works...you simply fill out the entry form below and we'll randomly pick three winners who will have their choice of commercial (and personal) use design and font bundles from So Fontsy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!


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