The Art of Selling Pine Boards on Etsy

The Art of Selling Pine Boards on Etsy

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Materials and Tools
  3. Preparing the Wood
  4. Designing the Sign
  5. Setting up the CNC Machine
  6. Carving the Sign
  7. Painting the Letters
  8. Adding a Keyhole Slot
  9. Applying the Finish
  10. Packaging and Shipping
  11. Conclusion



In today's video, I will guide you through my process of creating custom engraved wooden signs, which I sell on Etsy. This process involves selecting the right materials, designing the sign, carving it using a CNC machine, painting the letters, adding a keyhole slot, applying a finish, and packaging it for shipping. I will share tips and tricks that I have learned along the way and answer any questions you may have. So, let's get started!

Materials and Tools

To create these wooden signs, I use standard 1x8 pine boards that I purchase from Lowe's. You can find similar materials at home improvement stores like Home Depot. These pine boards are affordable and readily available. Additionally, you will need a variety of tools such as a table saw, a router table, a random orbit sander, a hand sander, a foam brush, an acrylic paint, a keyhole bit, and spray shellac for the finishing.

Preparing the Wood

Before starting the project, I cut the pine boards to the desired length, which in this case is 23 inches. Next, I adjust the width of the boards to 7 inches using a table saw. I make sure to choose the flattest and least knotted pieces for the signs. If any boards have excessive cupping or knots in the carving area, I set them aside for future projects. Once the boards are cut and sorted, I add a 45-degree chamfer along the front edges using a router table.

Designing the Sign

The next step involves designing the sign. I use Adobe Illustrator to create a new project with an artboard size that matches the dimensions of the sign (23 inches wide and 7 inches tall). Using the text tool, I add the desired text, such as "Home Sweet Home." I select a suitable font, scale it to size, and customize it by adding decorative tails to specific letters. After adjusting the layout and aligning everything to the center, I select all the text and convert it into a vector image. Finally, I export the design as an SVG file.

Setting up the CNC Machine

To carve the design onto the wooden sign, I use Easel, a user-friendly software specifically designed for CNC machines. After setting up the workpiece dimensions to match the sign, I import the SVG file into Easel. I combine all the elements and ensure that they are centered on the material. Next, I select the appropriate bit, in this case, a 60-degree V-carve bit, and keep the recommended cut settings. By simulating the carving process, I can estimate the duration of the project.

Carving the Sign

With the CNC machine properly set up, I begin the carving process. To avoid any paint bleed onto the sign, I apply a stencil film to mask the area where the letters will be carved. This ensures clean and crisp lines. Once everything is in place, I use white acrylic paint and a foam brush to fill in the engraved letters. After allowing the paint to dry, I remove the stencil carefully, making sure not to damage the painted letters.

Painting the Letters

To add visual contrast to the sign, I usually leave the engraved letters in their natural wood color when using dark walnut or true black stains. However, for lighter stains like English chestnut, I paint the engraved letters white. This creates a striking contrast that enhances the overall appearance of the sign. Once the painting is complete, I wait for the paint to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Adding a Keyhole Slot

To make the sign ready for hanging, I use a keyhole bit on the CNC machine to cut a slot on the backside of the sign. This slot allows the sign to be easily mounted on a wall using a screw or nail. The keyhole slot provides a secure and aesthetically pleasing hanging solution.

Applying the Finish

To protect and enhance the wooden sign's appearance, I apply a spray shellac finish. Spray shellac is an excellent choice as it dries quickly, usually within 10 minutes. I apply two coats of shellac on both the front and back of the sign. After the shellac is dry, I lightly sand the surface using a paper bag or a fine-grit sandpaper. This step creates a smooth and polished finish.

Packaging and Shipping

To ensure safe delivery, I carefully wrap the finished sign before shipping it. I use either wrapping paper or bubble wrap, depending on the preferred method. Wrapping the sign and placing it in a box is a common approach, but sometimes I skip the box and wrap it directly in bubble wrap. Offering free shipping is beneficial for my Etsy store, so I factor in the shipping cost when determining the sign's price.


Creating custom engraved wooden signs is a straightforward but rewarding process. From selecting materials and designing the sign to carving, painting, adding finishing touches, and packaging it for shipping, each step contributes to the final product's quality. Whether you are making these signs for personal use or selling them, this guide provides valuable insights. Enjoy the process and let your creativity shine through your unique wooden signs.


  • Learn how to create custom engraved wooden signs
  • Choose the right materials and tools for the project
  • Step-by-step guide from designing to carving and finishing the sign
  • Tips and tricks for a successful outcome
  • Packaging and shipping strategies for safe delivery
  • Discover the joy of making personalized wooden signs


Q: What type of wood is used for these signs? A: Standard 1x8 pine boards are commonly used for the signs. They are readily available at home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot.

Q: Can I use different dimensions for my sign? A: Absolutely! The dimensions mentioned in the guide are just a suggestion. You can customize the size of your sign to fit your preferences.

Q: How long does it take to carve the design using a CNC machine? A: The duration of the carving process depends on the complexity of the design. The guide suggests a simulated time of approximately 22 minutes.

Q: Can I use different colors for the painted letters? A: Yes, you can experiment with different paint colors to achieve the desired contrast and visual impact.

Q: How much does it cost to ship the sign? A: Shipping costs may vary depending on the destination and size of the package. Factor in the shipping cost when determining the price of the sign.

Q: Can I add additional decorative elements to the sign? A: Absolutely! Feel free to explore your creativity and add any additional decorative elements to make your sign unique.

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