How To Cut Letters Out Of Wood – A Step-By-Step Guide

Woodworking is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and friends, and it also allows you to create beautiful pieces of furniture or other decorations that can be enjoyed for years to come.

With the right tools and materials, cutting letters out of wood is a fast, easy, and fun way to make beautiful art for your home. Be sure to take your time and practice before starting any project to ensure accuracy and success..

In this article, we will show you how to cut letters out of wood using a simple step-by-step guide.

Cutting Letters Out of Wood in 7 Simple Steps

1. Get the right tools

close up of scroll saw cutting wood
Photo by Linda Kokina on

When it comes to cutting letters out of wood, there are a few different tools that can be used depending on the desired outcome.

A jigsaw is often the best choice for straight cuts because its reciprocating blade is designed to move back and forth in a rapid motion, which can help to make smooth, precise cuts with ease.

A band saw offers accuracy and precision in cutting curves and circles with thinner blades.

The right tool for cutting letters out of wood is a scroll saw. A scroll saw is a type of small electric saw used for intricate cuts in thin wood, metal, plastic, and other materials. It features a thin blade that can be moved up and down to create curves and circles in tight spaces.

A fret saw is a type of handheld saw that is used for intricate curves and circles in wood, metal and plastic. It features a thin blade that, when attached to a frame, can be maneuvered to cut intricate shapes with utmost accuracy. The coping saw is similar to the fret saw but has a slightly thicker blade, making it ideal for larger projects. They are both typically used to make curved shapes and detailed cuts, but the fret saw is better suited for tight corners and small pieces.

A Dremel tool is a handheld rotary tool that can be used to cut wood, metal, and plastic. It features a small spinning wheel that allows you to make cuts with greater precision than traditional saws. The device is also capable of sanding, polishing, and grinding materials for finer finishes.

2. Choose the right wood

Are you crafting a statement piece for the garage or creating something special to display in a curio? When it comes to cutting letters out of wood, the type of wood you use is extremely important for the success and accuracy of your project. Different types of wood offer different levels of cutting and carving results and aesthetic outcomes.

Depending on your project, you can choose from a variety of different types of woods, such as pine, oak, maple, etc.

Our first suggestion: finished plywood sheeting if you’re looking for large cutout letters that can be inspected and stained after cutting.

  • If delicate lettering is more what you desire as an artful keepsake, then balsa wood may be perfect due to its lightweight and ease of shaping with hand tools!
  • Pine is a softwood that has low abrasion resistance and is easy to cut.
  • Hardwoods such as oak and maple tend to be more resistant to abrasion and provide a more finished look when carved or cut into.
  • Want to spruce up the door of your house with some wooden letters? Go for something like cedar or teak that have a natural resistance against rot and the harshness of weather!
  • If you’re looking for a piece for inside, consider almost any wood – just make sure it’s not pressure-treated lumber. That chemical process may help protect it from outdoor elements, but it comes with carcinogens, so better safe than sorry!
  • If you want to make a statement piece, try something already beautiful like mahogany, rosewood, or walnut; if the price is more important, consider yellow pine or B/C grade plywood instead.
  • Make your letters last longer! Softwood trees (like Douglas fir, pine, and cedar) are the perfect choice when you’re looking to securely mount wooden letters as they resist splitting.

3. Trace your letter onto the wood

Once you have the right tools and wood, it’s time to trace your letter or shape onto the wood.

The easiest way to do this is by using a pencil, ruler, and template. Simply measure out where you want your letter or shape to go, then use a template to trace it onto the wood. This will help ensure accuracy and make it easier to cut the letter out with precision.

Pro Tip: Printing letters to carve out of wood is a quick, easy, and stylish way to customize any item or surface. By printing the desired letter on paper, you can then trace it onto the wood with a pencil before using a scroll saw or jigsaw to cut it out. Using this method is more accurate than freehand carving and makes the process much easier. The best part is, you can print literally any letter you want in any size – whether that’s your own name, initials, a meaningful phrase, or even an illustration – so there’s plenty of potential for creativity.

4. Cut your letter

Now that you have marked where you want your letter or shape to go, it’s time to start cutting. Start by setting up the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then begin carefully cutting along the traced lines.

For a scroll saw, use gentle and steady pressure as you move the blade through the wood.

For a band saw or jigsaw, keep the blade moving slowly at an even pace to ensure accuracy.

First, create pilot holes in the areas you’d like to cut – such as those pesky curves within “O”s or loops found in an “a.” Doing so will help guide the blades of your saw for precise bends. Quality blades are essential for achieving optimal results – don’t skimp on this important step!

For me, the use of Jigsaw for such projects is perfect. You can use this DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jig Saw; it is perfect for people who are not used to handling big drills and instruments. If you do not know how to use a jigsaw you can read my detailed guide here.

Here is a little summary:

  • Start off your wood-cutting project by clamping it to a steady surface – we suggest using sawhorses for extra stability.
  • Draw or trace the letter you want onto the clamped piece of wood, and place it as close to its edge as possible.
  • Don’t forget that safety should be a priority when working with saws: equip yourself with goggles and hearing protectors before powering up your jigsaw!
  • Grab your jigsaw’s guide plate and let it hover above before powering up its speed.
  • Guide that saw steadily along curves you’ve traced – et voilà! You have designed something beautiful in no time at all.

Are you trying to cut a hole in the interior space of your letter? Reach for the power drill and spade bit! Choose the spade bit whose width is just wider than that of your jigsaw blade. Once you have drilled into the area, insert it through the opening without powering up yet. When ready, turn on full power and slowly work outward from there – Voila! You’ve got yourself a neat new piece with no squeezing required.

5. Vacuum Up The Mess

Before you get started sanding, take a moment to make sure your workspace is clear of sawdust and other messes! It might seem easier to skip this step – but the last thing you want while crafting your wooden letters is an unexpected slip. Not only that, it’s just common courtesy; let’s all help keep our workspaces safe & tidy for everyone else in the room!

For my projects, I use RIDGID 12 Gal. 5.0-Peak HP vacuum cleaner, which has failed to disappoint me in the past 6 months of use.

5. Sand away rough edges

Once your letter or shape has been cut out of the wood, it’s time to remove any rough edges or splinters. Once finished, the wooden letter can be sanded down for a smooth finish if desired or left as-is for a rustic look.

Take a piece of sandpaper and gently rub away any uneven edges until the shape is smooth and even.

You can also use a Dremel tool with a sanding attachment to help get into tight corners and create more precise results.

6. Stain or paint your letter to give it a finished look

The final step to creating your perfect letter or shape is to give it a finished look.

You can do this by staining or painting the wood with a color of your choice. This will add depth and texture to your project, making it stand out and look even more professional.

You can paint your letter any color you want to match your décor or add decorative details like glitter and gems for even more personalization. Wood carving letters give you complete freedom over decorating whatever item or space you like!

7. Hang your letter on the wall or door to finish

Finally, it’s time to hang your letter or shape on the wall or door.

If you’re hanging a large piece of wood, use a hook and eyelet system to make sure it stays in place. And if you’re hanging a smaller piece, you can simply use some strong adhesive tape to keep it in place.

Once you’ve hung your letter or shape, you can step back and admire your work! You’ve just created a stunning piece of art or craft that will be sure to turn heads.

Congratulations on creating something beautiful! Enjoy admiring your work for years to come.

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