How to Make Wooden Signs With a Router

Ever wanted to make wooden signs at home? Well, it is not that difficult to do so. All you need is a router, and you’re good to go. In this guide, we will walk you through on how to do it with ease.

If you want to convey a message, nothing does it better than signage. You can find signs inside a school, on the road, outside of shops and inside restaurants. It’s all about how creative you are when using one. This is specifically important when you are making a sign for your shop to give it a unique touch.

There is a certain appeal about wooden signs that you cannot find in printed ones. But since wooden ones are difficult to make people often go for the printed options instead but with the help of certain wooden tools you can actually easily make wooden signs at home instead of printed ones.

There are a few ways that you can achieve this one of which is using wooden chisels but that is a really difficult and gruesome task. Instead, you can achieve your desired results using a router.

What Is a Router and What Is It Used for

Routers are power tools that come with a powerful motor, which is used for hollowing out hard materials like wood. A router is usually either handheld or fixed on a bench. Once you attach a cutter bit you can rout out wood and guide it the way you want. The sole keeps the router from falling and helps you push the frame to guide the router.

Using a router you can create grooves in the wood. It is often used in cabinetry, but most people use handheld routers for making intricate designs in flat wood. It is also used in CNC pieces using computerized routing techniques. But those makes and models are pretty expensive. You can also create joints with it as well.

You can use a normal handheld router for making signs. It is pretty affordable and you do not have to spend a ton of money. If you do woodwork chances are you already own one. So make good use of it and create a wooden sign for yourself with ease.

How to Make a Wooden Sign Using a Router

For you to make wooden signs with a router, you will firstly need a print of your sign, orbital sander, hammer, chisels and a piece of wood. You can also use paints and give a rusting look to the sign with a blow torch lighter.

Step 1)

First of all print out your sign on a piece of paper. The printed sign should represent the real-time size as you will be using it as a guide. Take the printed sign and glue it on the piece of wood. If you want a bigger sign, use a bigger print and a bigger wooden board.

Step 2)

Attach a straight carbide bit on the router and adjust the depth of the router. To do that turn the router upside down, use a wrench to release the collet, then slide the bit inside and then tighten the collet again. You want to set the depth to how deep you want the sign to be. You can adjust that on the go depending on your design. But before you change the bit always make sure to disconnect the power cord of the router from the outlet or extension cord to prevent accidental damage.

Step 3)

Slowly start by drilling inside the design that you have printed. Now guide the router over the design. Take your time to make sure you do not end up messing it. Adjust the depth of the grooves the way you want. For smaller letters, you can use smaller bits and less depth than what you would use for wider letters and designs.

Step 4)

Once you are done with routing out the sign, use an orbital sander to smoothen it out. This will make sure there are no sharp edges and the sign looks cleaner.

Step 5)

You can paint inside the design of the sign to give it a more pronounced look. This will make the design stand out from the wood grain pattern. Once you are done painting, you can use the orbital sander again to clean out any paint marks outside the design.

Step 6) Optional

If you want to give your sign a more classic or rustic look, you can use a blowtorch for that. Use the fire to give your wooden grain pattern a more pronounced visual.

Once you are done with this, you will have a professional wooden sign. You can get creative with your router if you want. Take liberties with it and rout out complex designs. Once you are used to it, you can really do some great work with it.

Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Electronic Fixed-Base Router


Speed: 8000-25,000 RPM
Motor: 12 Amp
Power Source: Corded Electric
Dimensions: 30 x 28.5 x 29 Inches
Includes: 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed Router, Fixed Base, 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Self-Releasing Collets, Drop-Forged Wrenches, Chip Shield, Above-Table Height-Adjustment Wrench, and Mounting Hardware
Perks: Powerful, Variable-Speed Motor With Soft Start, Accurate Fixed Base Cuts, Rugged Design for Increased Durability

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Things to be Careful of When Using a Router

  • As with all power tools, you have to make sure you wear protective gear when using a router to make a sign. If your make and model has a vacuum attachment, then you might not have trouble with sawdust. But just to be sure, wear goggles to protect your eyes from wooden splinters. Wear a mask to prevent breathing in the sawdust, also wear earmuffs to protect your ears from noise damage.
  • Whenever you are changing the bit of the router, make sure you unplug it from the wall outlet or extension cord. Just turning or powering it off using the button on the router is not enough. If by mistake the router turns on while you are changing bits, you can get severely injured.
  • Take your time to guide the router. If this is your first time creating designs using a router, you would want to take it slow. Once you are used to it you can speed up the process. But even then you would like to take it slow as you do not want to ruin the whole board by one small mistake.
  • When using a butyl torch for giving your sign a rustic look, make sure you have fire safety equipment at hand. When you are using fire for any purpose always make sure you are well prepared in case of an emergency.

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