Fireplace/Mantle wall sign

We have a new head rector (head pastor for the non-Anglicans in the group) at our church for whom my wife works as an admin assistant. I was up in his office one day as he was making decisions about furniture, art and the like when he mentioned that he wasn’t quite sure what to do with the very large wall space above the fireplace mantle, but was thinking some sort of sign with a scripture on it would be nice. I quickly pulled up a picture of a sign I had made the previous year for my niece’s wedding and showed it to him. His eyes lit up and he said “yes, exactly that!” I offered to make one for him as a welcome gift to the parish. This is how it turned out.

Wood was cheap pine 1x8 planks from Home Depot (knots and all) finished with a couple wipe coats of American chestnut oil based stain and a clear-coat toner I made by adding medium brown aniline wood dye to water based polyurethane. The toner was spray applied.

In the past I cut out the text from BB plywood spray painted the desired color. I tried something a little different this time and used white cast acrylic with a frosted finish to cut down on glare. I really liked the way it turned out and it had a couple tangible benefits over wood. First, it saved me the step of spray painting the wood and the time required for drying and proper curing. Second, I didn’t have to worry about grain direction (yes, even painted wood has a visible grain pattern). This allowed me to pack all the text closely together and at crazy angles when cutting. Despite the large size of the sign (about 2.5 x 5 feet) I was able to get all the text out of two 12"x20" sheets of acrylic.

The text is secured with 3M double sided adhesive sheets that I applied to the entire backside of the acrylic before cutting. This resulted in perfect peel and stick words. A few positioning jigs cut out of cardboard and…Bobs your Uncle…done! I love being able to make gifts for people with this amazing tool.


Oh, lovely! It’s so nice to have the letters sticking out rather than just being painted. The extra dimension adds a lot.


That turned out beautiful! I’m sure he is very blessed by it.


I’m thinking he smiles every time he sees it. It’s wonderful!


That turned out beautiful. Thanks for sharing your process.

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Nic technique to go big. Nice quote.