Hand Lettering Sign Making

We are sign makers of wooden signs that are hand painted and hand lettered using only brushes and enamel paints in the traditional signwriting method. On this page we explain the stages of our sign making process along with photos and video of painting and lettering of signs. Choose from our historic house signs and before you order your custom text sign, read the Ordering page. Our video shows the true handcrafted nature of our hand painted signs. Best if viewed in Chrome.

hand lettering with brushes
Hand Crafting Our Cedar Wood Hand Painted Signs
  1. Our solid cedar signs start by hand selecting the cedar planks directly at the cedar mill. We examine and hand select every cedar plank we use to assure the highest quality long grain Western Red Cedar surface. We use only 12" widths, 10" widths, and occasionally 8" widths. The true widths are 1/2" to 3/4" inch less than the stated widths due to the milling process to square up the edges.
  2. Back in our sign shop, we determine how each board is best used and the cedar planks are cut down to rough sign board sizes. The plank width actually becomes the height of the cedar sign so that the cedar grain runs horizontal, ie. left to right.
  3. The wood sign boards are shaped into camelbacks, rectangles, ovals, or custom shaped and hand sanded to ensure an even application of the paint coatings. I could explain in more detail but I do not want to give away our handcrafting secrets :)
    hand lettered signs
  4. PRIMER AND BASE COATINGS are selected to ensure the longest life possible. The photo at bottom left of this page shows the stages of the coating applications. STEP 1: an oil-based exterior wood primer is applied to seal the wood. STEP 2: two top coats of antique white exterior paint coatings are applied. Light sanding of the wood surface is done between each paint coat.
  5. HAND LETTERING is done freehand for an authentic hand-lettered look that is pleasing to the eye. Every sign is unique but we follow our own hand painted fonts (See Font Guide). The artist hand paints the letters using oil-based enamels and only brushes in the traditional signwriting style. (STEP 3)
  6. CLEAR COAT: Finally, all sign surfaces (front and back) are sealed with signmaker-grade sealant containing UV-protectants that protect the finish and keep the colors from fading (STEP 4).
  7. WOOD BUTTONS and MOUNTING SCREWS (shown below) are included with one-sided wall-mounted signs for quick and easy installation. Two-sided signs have black stainless steel eye screws embedded. We include all mounting hardware (black stainless steel quick links and lag screws) if you purchase the hanging sign bracket from us.
    sign wood buttons
  8. Shipping is handled in-house as we carefully wrap and package the sign and ship using USPS Priority 2-3 Day Service with Tracking. We email you the tracking number after shipping.

Video: Sign Writing and Hand Lettering a Sign with Brushes

We have prepared this brief video showing us hand lettering a sign.


Estimated Production Time

We are operating on a regular production schedule but shorten it prior to the Christmas Holiday Season. All standard mixed woods and cedar in-stock signs will normally ship within 4-5 weeks of payment date. Custom-sized and -shaped signs ship within 5-6 weeks after layouts approved. Delays could occur if the outside temperatures become extreme and slow the drying and curing processes.


Any questions? Email us at sales@handpaintedwoodsigns.com