Hi everyone! I’m Melissa and I blog teach over at Silhouette School blog. I’m thrilled to be filling in for Kelly today. I love the look of wood signs, but they can turn into quite the project between prepping the wood, staining or painting, and then stenciling on a cute sentiment. So today I thought I’d show you the sign hack of all sign hacks – how to make a faux wood sign. The key is wood-look tiles!
The tiles are 24″ x 6″ and come in a bunch of different colors and finishes. While they look like wood…they’re not wood at all. They’re actually 100% ceramic tile…like you’d use on the floor. I have used them on the floor and on my builts-in as decor. I buy them at Home Depot. The great thing is you don’t have have to buy a whole box of tiles, you can buy them individually – for about $2.50 each!
Are you seeing the beauty in this yet? Buy faux wood tile and add vinyl to make a faux wood sign. Wham bam thank you ma’am you’re donezo!
Now let’s talk the design. I’ve done several several different designs on these tiles, and I always do the designing in Silhouette Studio the same way. Start by making a mock up. This tutorial explains in depth about why mockups are hugely important for designing so if you need a refresher check that out. Otherwise, I’m going to breeze through the mockup design steps.
- Use the Draw a Box tool (circled on left sidebar) to draw a box.
- Size it so it’s the exact dimensions of the tile using the Scale tool (it’s actually slightly less than 24″ to account for the grout if you were using it on the floor, but close enough)
- (Optional) Fill the rectangle with a wood grain pattern from the Fill Pattern tool
- Open up the design from the library (or create a new design) in Silhouette Studio. Using the box representing your tile as a guide, appropriately position and size the design.
My mom loves to ride her bike so I made this Life is Good sign for her and that’s the one I’m going to demonstrate this tutorial with. (I created the design by just grabbing a bike I had in my library and typing the text around it…you might need to ungroup the letters to arrange around the bike.) I’ve also put longitude and latitude coordinates on tiles, which is a fun gift (or shelf decor). If you want to find your navigational coordinates, you can use this website – just plug in your address.
Whatever you decide to put on your wood look tile, use the mock up to size the design so it fits on the tile.
It’s best to use permanent adhesive vinyl because it sticks to the tile easiest. The issue I have run into is that, for this project specifically, I like a matte vinyl (not glossy) and as you probably know most matte is indoor vinyl. BUT….there happens to be this thing called matte 651/permanent/outdoor which comes in only black and white. Seriously, it’s like my favorite vinyl ever. Since I think these tiles look best with black or white anyway, I was in luck.
Sorry – enough gushing over my matte 651 vinyl find. Cut your design and weed it. A 24″ cutting mat makes this much easier, but if you don’t have one you can cut the vinyl without the mat to avoid cutting it in sections on a smaller mat.
Just remember, since you’re cutting longer than the standard 12×12 you’ll need to change your Page Settings.
If you’re using the 24″ mat, change the height to 24″ and from the the Cutting Mat drop down menu select 12 x 24 in.
If you’re cutting without the mat (or on a Portrait which has no 24″ mat), enter the length of the vinyl in the “Height” box and then change the Cutting Mat option to ‘No Mat.”
To add the vinyl to the tile you want to make sure the tile is at room temperature. A really cold tile makes it very difficult for the vinyl to stick.
It’s easiest to use the hinge method to apply the vinyl to ensure it’s straight, centered and even. If you’re not familiar with the hinge method – your crafting life could be like 693% easier and you could have like 42,382 fewer gray hairs so go read up on this method!
You can use clear transfer tape or transfer paper for this. Whichever you use, de-sticky it a little by plotting on a clean cotton shirt or the arm of the couch. Basically what you want to do is put the transfer tape onto the vinyl. Leave the vinyl backing in place. Trim down the edges of the vinyl backing and tape so they’re even and so they’re close to the vinyl design.
Place the vinyl sandwich (tape on top, vinyl in the middle, vinyl backing on the bottom) onto the tile. Now you’re going to grab some painters tape, scissors, and a ruler and keep them nearby. If you have a sewing gauge ruler (my favorite ruler ever) you are golden. Measure in from the sides, top and bottom to perfectly position the design.
I apologize for the odd angle on this….I definitely could have used a third hand.
Use the ruler to double check that the vinyl decal didn’t shift at all while you were taping. If it did, life one end up of the tape and slightly nudge the design back so it’s even.
When you get it perfectly in position, peel back the transfer tape on one side of the tape. The tape will stop it about half way across – that’s the hinge! The vinyl should peel up with the transfer tape.
Use your scissors to cut the vinyl backing, near the tape hinge. Don’t worry if it’s not right at the tape line.
Move the backing out of the way and carefully place the transfer tape and vinyl onto the tape make sure there are no bubbles. Smooth it, don’t worry about burnishing yet.
Remove the tape hinge. The transfer tape is going to keep everything in place now.
Lift up the other half of the transfer tape, just enough so that you can remove the half sheet of vinyl backing that remains.
Again, lay down the transfer tape with vinyl onto the tile.
Now burnish the entire design onto the tile using the Silhouette Scraper or a credit card.
Starting at one of the corners, slowly peel away the transfer tape or paper. You may need to slightly encourage the vinyl to stick to the tile as you peel back the tape. After the tape is remove, go back and really burnish the vinyl onto the tile so you can slightly see the ridges of the tile through the vinyl. I do this with my finger.
The last thing you want to do – and this is option – is to put a thin protective layer of cork on the back of the tile. I have no figured out a way to hang these tiles so leaning them is really the only way to display them. If you lean the tile against the wall without a felt or cork backing you could damage the paint on the wall. I suggest using E6000 and a roll of 1/16th” cork roll which, like the tiles, is conveniently 24″ wide. I glued it on and then use an xacto knife to cut the roll away.
Flip the tile back over and carefully place something heavy on top for about 24 hours to let the glue dry.
That’s it. Display your finished faux wood sign on a shelf or ledge. If you figure out a way to hang this faux wood sign help a sister out and clue me!!!
Thanks again to Kelly for letting me guest post on Simply Kelly Designs. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to create a faux wood sign. Come over and visit Silhouette School anytime! Search our database of more than 450 tutorials, get inspired for your next Silhouette project or join in the conversation on our social media channels.