When I shared my Christmas Mantel with you a few weeks ago I was most excited about this Joy Sign. It was SO much fun to build and I can’t wait to share this tutorial with you. It was by far the thing I was asked about the most! So let’s get building! Hopefully it’s not as cold outside for you as it is for me. I was outside last week and my hands felt like they were going to fall off! Brrrr!
This project is pretty easy, the only thing that is difficult is cutting out the letters with a jig saw. It’s not that it’s hard, it just takes some practice getting used to the jig saw. So, if you don’t work with one often, be sure and give yourself a few practice runs.
Supplies: (includes some affiliate links)
*note $15 includes the wood and foam board. Everything else I already had on hand.
How to Build a DIY Christmas Joy Sign
First, you will take your 1×6’s and cut them in half. The sign is 4ft wide, so getting the 8ft board works out perfectly. Once you have them cut, give them a good sanding.
Once you have it sanded you will need to find a way to trace the Joy letters on the sign. We aren’t tracing yet, but we need them to figure out where the pocket holes will go. It will depend on what font you want and how bit your sign is. I just created some letters in photoshop the size of 4 pieces of paper stuck together and then cropped it down to 8.5″ x 11″ dividing the letter image into four pieces. If you have a way to cut it out in vinyl that would probably be easier, or if you can free hand awesome letters, go for it! Either way, once you have your letters worked out, you need to space the letters out evenly on the back of the board. Lay them out as if you would see them correctly from the front. So as if you are looking from behind the sign. Then draw a line on the outsides of the letters and then a line in between each of the letters. This will mark where you will make your pocket holes.
Make sure you have pocket holes in between each of the letters or some of the wood will fall out once you cut out your letters. You also need to be mindful of where you are place the letters because when you cut them out it might affect how the letter looks. For example if you notice in my “Y” the point is missing because that piece of wood wasn’t attached to anything (but I preferred it this way so I wasn’t worried about it). If you don’t want to worry about that, you could put wood glue in between each of the boards.
Using your Kreg Jig, create pocket holes on the lines you drew, add your wood glue on the edge of the boards (if using) and screw your boards together. Let your wood glue dry (again, if you are using it) and then flip your sign over. Now lay your letters out how they will look from the front and trace.
Double check and make sure your pocket holes are lined up properly in between the letters and on the ends, you don’t want to hit a screw with your jig saw!
Once traced, use your drill and make pilot holes in the corners of your letters. This allows you to start cutting, as well as make it easier to make those hard curves. Go slow and be careful! There isn’t much you can do if make a wrong cut. :(
I’ll be honest, I made a few little mistakes, you can fix some of it with a sander if your cuts are jagged, but you are pretty limited to the amount of damage control. Once you have all your letters cut out, and down the inside edges of each letter.
Now you can finish your sign however you like. I did 2 coats of Minwax’s Special Walnut, but you could also paint!
Then I taped black foam board behind the letters to give the illusion of a chalkboard. You can actually draw on foam board with chalk. Super cheap alternative! I grabbed mine at the dollar store.
So now you are done with your Joy Sign and you can decorate like crazy : ) Looking for more Christmas projects?
Check out my Christmas Project Gallery