There are many ways to use vinyl on wood signs.
These rustic wood signs are super popular these days probably because they are so easy to make and make for great DIY home decor projects.
Most people use either self-adhesive vinyl or Heat Transfer Vinyl for these vinyl wood signs.
You will need a cutting machine though to make these signs. I use my Cricut to make these signs. Check out my article on the best Cricut machine and accessories I recommend for beginners if you are looking to get one.
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What Vinyl to Use on Wood?
Some people swear by certain brands. I find they are about the same. I like to get an assorted set so I can do other projects with different color vinyl. If I am not using HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl), then I like to stick to permanent vinyl sheets.
There is a wide selected of assorted permanent vinyl sheets available on Amazon.
I also find the HTV brands to all be about the same. Again, there is a wide selection of HTV available on Amazon.
How to apply heat transfer vinyl on wood
HTV on wood with iron
First, cut out and weed the design with your HTV.
Don’t forget to mirror your designs when cutting it.
Sometime to save on vinyl, I will cut up the design in different sections and iron it on piecemeal. I also try to avoid the seams between wood pieces.
HTV on wood temperature
To transfer the vinyl onto the wood, you have apply heat and pressure. I actually find an iron works better for these projects than a heat press because it is more nimble.
Sandwich the vinyl and teflon sheet between the wood and the iron.
I use the cotton setting and press in 15-second increments. After pressing for one session, I left the teflon sheet and check to see if the HTV has stuck on yet. If not, then I iron again just using the tip of the iron and apply specific pressure and heat to those trouble areas.
How to get the vinyl to stick to the wood
Sometimes the wood sign is just too rough for the vinyl to stick mostly cause the iron can get in there enough to apply pressure.
In this case, I would use some sandpaper and strategically sand down the areas where the vinyl needs to go.
Sealing HTV on wood
While most HTV will last for a while especially if it is not outdoors, I would advise sealing it with some acrylic spray sealant if it is going to get any exposure to excessive sun or moisture.
I like to use Aleene’s Spray Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer for sealing vinyl letters on wood.
Using Permanent Vinyl on Wood
I’m not a huge fan of this second method mostly because it can look a little fake on more rustic wood but it works well for finished and polished wood signs.
How to make vinyl on unfinished wood signs
First, you have to start with some Mod Podge. Any type of Mod Podge works. The idea here is to create a clear smooth surface for the vinyl to adhere to.
I would brush this on with a brush so get into all the crevices.
How to transfer vinyl to wood
Ideally, the design you are using isn’t so intricate that you have to use transfer tape on wood because it just doesn’t work.
I like to break up the design and manually place the vinyl on the sign piecemeal.
How to make vinyl stick to stained wood
If you are using a more finished wood, it is possible to transition the design onto transfer tape and then transfer it again to the wood.
However, I find sometimes the vinyl doesn’t want to stick when transferred. The problem is usually that the relative stickiness between the wood and the vinyl versus the vinyl and the transfer tape is not enough.
To work around this, I would consider a less sticky transfer tape or even just cling wrap.
Don’t forget to use Aleene’s Spray Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer to apply a final seal to your vinyl.
I made a couple of fun Coffee Signs designs that are relatively simple to transfer.
If you are interested in these Coffee Printable and SVG cut files, they are free and available in my resource library.