This Mother’s Day, I wanted to create something special for my mom that highlights my newfound love of woodworking. The only problem is that she lives on the other side of the country, so it couldn’t be bigger than a breadbox (or priority mail box). This grandchild birthdate sign highlights the dates my mom became Oma to three wonderful grandchildren. It also shows off a new wood stain technique I just learned and love!
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Materials Needed for Grandchild Birthdate Sign
- Scrap plywood (1/2″ or 3/4″ thick)
- Iron-on wood veneer edge banding
- Silhouette or Cricut machine
- Stencil vinyl
- Wood glue
- Craft brush
- Fine grit sanding sponge
- Gel wood stain (I used Varathane’s Dark Walnut)
- Tack cloth
Instructions for Making a Grandchild Birthdate Sign
Measure the size of your plywood piece, and design the text in your cutting software accordingly. I have a Silhouette Cameo 3, so I created mine in the Silhouette Studio. “Oma” is in Lucida Calligraphy font and the grandchildren’s names and birthdates are Perpetua Titling MT bolded.
The stencil vinyl is only 9″ wide and comes on a roll, so you can make the sign as long as you want. My plywood was just big enough to fit a 9″ x 12″ stencil, so I changed the page size and rotated the image to fit.
When you have everything perfect, send it through the machine to be cut. Remove the stencil vinyl from the cutting mat, and carefully weed out the lettering. Cut off a piece of transfer tape big enough to cover the entire stencil, peel off the backing, and place it on the stencil with as few air bubbles as possible. Use the smoothing tool to rub the surface so everything sticks properly.
Now peel off the stencil with the transfer tape on top and lay it on your plywood. I marked a line with a pencil where the top of the stencil should line up so the letters would be straight. Use the smoothing tool again to rub the stencil onto the surface of the plywood.
Slowly peel off the transfer tape. If any part of the stencil decides it wants to come with it, lay the transfer tape back down and rub it into submission! With the transfer tape removed, go over the entire stencil one last time, concentrating on the edges of the letters.
Dip your craft brush in the wood glue, and paint the glue over the letters of the stencil. Work from the outside in, and leave a thin, even layer of glue. Let the glue dry for at least half an hour, until it turns clear.
Carefully peel off the entire stencil. I used my weeding tool to pry off the stencil pieces in the center of the letters. You can see here that the wood glue is almost invisible.
Pick off any flakes of wood glue with the weeding tool and tweezers. Lightly rub the fine grit sanding sponge over the letters to pick up any left behind. The cleaner the edges of the letters are, the better it will look.
Now here’s where the magic happens! Using a foam brush or rag, stain the face of the grandchild birthdate sign. The wood glue will prevent the stain from soaking into the wood under the letters. I found that gel stain works better than the liquid kind. It doesn’t get sucked into the wood grain the same way, so it leaves a crisp edge.
Leave the stain to soak into the surface for a few minutes, then wipe off. I used my son’s old sock for this step, removing the stain from the letters with a gloved finger. Once the letters were revealed, I gave the entire surface a rub down to blend the stain.
To cover up the not-so-pretty plywood edges, I used iron-on wood veneer for a simple finish.
Adhere a strip of wood veneer to all four edges of the sign, then use a razor blade to trim off the excess. Here’s a great tutorial about applying edge banding over at Pretty Handy Girl!
Add your preferred picture hanging hardware to the back, and it’s ready for display!
I really love how the grain is still visible under the wood glue. It gives the lettering more dimension than you would get with paint or vinyl.
Paired with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, this grandchild birthdate sign makes the perfect gift for my mom this year!
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