A little name action! Wooden plaque project


Wooden signs made with names and twine?  YES PLEASE!

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OK- Is there anything CUTER than these little wooden plaques?  I have seen a few of them posted online for sale, and I can’t lie… I want to cover my house in them. I made these 3 in like, one evening.

I decided that I need to STOP making them for myself and START making them as gifts, and as luck would have it, we have a birthday party coming up!!!! Zach is a family friend, and is a super artistic little 11 year old- PERFECT!

Let’s begin, shall we??

Now, this isn’t rocket science, but I wanted to make an honest-to-god tutorial, so I will go through the steps, one by one 🙂



* 1 Wooden plaque- Available at craft stores (Mine are from Michael’s)
* Nails- these are Wire Nails- size 3/4 x 18 – Mine are steel gray, but they come in lots of colors
* Hammer or tack hammer
* Thick Thread (I used DMC Crochet Thread)
* Pencil/ Paper/ Paint (optional)


First step- start with a “Blank Canvas” of a wooden plaque.

At this point, you can paint it, stain it or leave it natural. For a cheating stain like I used above, just dilute brown paint with water and “stain”, wiping off coats until it reaches the color you want.


I chose to paint this one RED. It only needed one coat of acrylic paint- I use the cheap acrylic in tubes that artists would use. It covers really well and lasts for-EVER.


You are ready to figure out what design or word you are putting on your plaque.

NOW- there are a billion ways to do this- and most of them are more hi-tech than what I did. You could use a cricut, a stencil, print off a font, etc. What did I do? I free handed it, because that’s what I prefer. I just grabbed a piece of trash out of our “junk drawer” and started in on it. It doesn’t need to be “perfect”, you just need to get the rough shape.


Man- I may go to crafting hell…

So, once you have your design or words, a normal person would get transfer paper and draw over the image, transferring it onto your wood, giving you the perfect shape.

I don’t have transfer paper. SO… I basically just went over the letters, with my pencil, really hard, engraving the basic shape… and then I went over the “etching” with light pencil.

See? Crafting hell….


Now, we start hammering in the nails! YAY!!!

There isn’t an exact science to this, but I aim to hammer the nails in to about a pencil’s width. I took this picture as a gauge… but once you get a few nails in, I just eyeball it. If you hammer a nail in TOO far, you can use pliers and gently pull it out a bit. OOOoooooor, you can hammer in all the surrounding nails in a little more to hide the fact you hammered one in too far. Your call 😉


YAY!!!! We are one letter DOWN!

The key to this little DIY is to stay either 1) On the Line or 2) Right OUTSIDE of the line. You won’t be able to see ANYTHING happening on the inside of the letters, once you add the thread. Trust me 🙂 So don’t worry too much about erasing any pencil lines, as long as they are INSIDE the nail line… Make sense? Sorta? I hope so!


Good thing I don’t have babies… YIKES!


This is me. With nails sticking out of my mouth, no make-up and sweats. CLASSY!!!


OH NO!!! I’ve been discovered!!! Wolverine must have decided that the rhythmic pounding of nails was cat code for “come hither and lay on my project, catticus!”


He’s so cute though, when he perches like this… I call it “Loaf of Bread-ing”. I guess this is my cue to take a break?

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Cat Cuddle Break!


WHEW!!! After my extensive snuggle-fest, I got back to work, hammering in the rest of the letters!


Not too bad!!! It’s not “perfect”, but as long as you can read it, I figure it’s a successful day! 🙂


Now we are onto the LAST STEP! Stringing this bad boy!!!!

I like to make a knot or a loop…


… and slip it onto a corner nail. After it’s snug, I usually give it one more knot, just to be safe. If this comes loose, you’re in trouble. Better safe than sorry!

NOTE: Before you move on- take a little break. Once you start threading, you can’t really stop. I’ve never worked on one that has taken more than 20 minutes, but make sure you have chunk of uninterrupted time to do this next step!


And you are READY TO THREAD! Now, don’t panic… I wasn’t able to take step-by-step pictures, cause it kind of takes both hands, but you can see by this picture, there’s not a TON of technique happening here 🙂 All you are doing is wrapping the thread around the nails, doing a + and x pattern. I’ll explain….

A few notes about threading:

1. To make your letters really POP, make sure you do the borders of the letters. If you need a comparison, look at the blue plaque at the top, of Indiana… I did NOT do the outline of the state, and it still shows the shape, but the shape is really emphasized if you outline the letters/shapes.

2. You know how you draw one of these (*)? You do a horizontal line, two diagonals and then a vertical line? That’s basically what you are doing here. If you forget to do a horizontal? That’s ok. The diagonals look weird on part of a letter? Leave ’em out! Once you do an inch or so, you will fall into a groove and see that it is TRULY trial and error. Don’t hyper focus on a tiny part… allow yourself a break every minute or so, to look at the WHOLE picture and make sure you are digging it still. It’s easier to redo a small part than pull out half your project.

3. Make sure, when you go around a nail, that your thread is totally below the nail head. If it’s going over the nail head a little, stop and push it down. As you wrap around the nails several times, you may need to push the existing threads down a bit to make room for NEW threads.

3. Don’t Stress. This isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s ok. 🙂


AND DONE!!! It took about 15 minutes of threading, and I miiiiiight have held it with one hand off and on while I was eating some of Ben’s homemade salsa… He was just making it and needed a taste-tester!!! I am a team player, folks! 🙂

 When you get to the end, double knot your thread and I just tucked the start and end thread under the letters. You can also put a little dab of clear nail polish on the knot, if you are afraid it could become loose. It feels good to have it done…. but when I was ALL done, I saw a mistake. 😦 I bet you can see it too…

If you can’t see it, I’ll point it out, just so you don’t do the same thing! The first part of the “h” is not outlined at the bottom. Oh well. Remember: Imperfect is still beautiful ❤


 I think it turned out cute, and I know Zach will appreciate it.

What do you think? What would you do with YOUR wooden plaque? Hit reply and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by and have a repurposeful day!

xo- court

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12 thoughts on “A little name action! Wooden plaque project

  1. I may try a heart for Valentine’s Day. Or a penguin, which my girl loves. Have you tried it with multiple colors of string? Have you tried painting the nails (or sharpie markers) before? I LOVE the project!!!

    • A heart or penguin would be a-DORABLE! I haven’t tried mixing different colored threads or doing anything fancy with the nails, but I actually think that’s a great idea!!!! Let me know how they turn out when you make yours! I’d love to see!!!

  2. Since leaving KS for work, I’ve been insanely KS-proud. I’ve been considering buying something off of etsy with the state and a heart over Lawrence. But now I can try a fun DIY craft project! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Hi, Thanks for the tutorial! One thing that we used to do when we would make these is to tape the stencil to the wood and tap the nails through the paper. When your all done, just tear the paper away! This works well for younger crafters or older crafters who don’t see quite as well as they used to!

  4. i have been looking for a step by step and this helped so much!!! I am not too sure I fully understand the + and x patterning you are talking about, but I am going to try to figure it out 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this. I can’t wait for next year— these will make wonderful holiday gifts!

    • Awesome!! I’m so glad you liked it! When I say + and x I am basically just saying you want to thread it horizontally and vertically (+) as WELL as threading it at a diagonal (x) I have seen some people have a really cool effect just threading at a diagonal or just horizontally/vertically but I incorporated both so the thread filled up as much space inside the letters as possible! 🙂 Please let me know if you have any questions once you get started and I’d be happy to help 🙂

  5. You have the best tutorial I’ve seen so far. I free handed mine as well and I feel that it gives it your own personal touch. I’m still in the process of finishing mine. My little ones aren’t letting me get it done! Haha. But I wanted to thank you for posting this! Even though I’m 2 years behind. Great tutorial. Amazing job!

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