Today I’m making some word art for my parents kitchen. My mom has been wanting to buy one for a while, but couldn’t find the word she wanted. Check out what I did.
I started by opening a new document in Adobe Illustrator.
My parents wanted the final piece to be about 30 inches long so I made my document 31 inches by 8.5 inches. The height will depend on the font you choose.
The font I chose is called Script MT Bold. I also increased the size to 800 points.
I drew out a text box and typed the word COCINA, which means kitchen in Spanish. My family is from Argentina, where Spanish is the main language, so that’s the word my mom chose.
Once I was happy with the look I printed it out. Since the print would be much larger than a single sheet of 8.5×11 paper, I chose the tile option under the setup menu.
The print is now split across as many pages as needed to print the file to scale.
There are tons of ways to tape your tiled prints together. This time I chose to grab one of these plastic bins and flip it upside down with a strong flashlight pointing up from below.
It’s easy to see exactly where the pages overlap to tape them down. This print was just a little too tall for one sheet, so it took two rows of pages.
I used a razor knife to trim off most of the excess paper.
Over at the table saw, I cut a piece of plywood down to roughly the size as the paper I just cut.
I flipped the paper over and applied a small amount of glue-stick. Just enough to hold it down while I cut out the shape.
I could now use the band saw to clear out excess material and then carefully trace out the letters. It’s important to choose a font where all the letters are connected, and connected with enough material that your sign won’t break while you work.
You don’t want to rush this step. Just take your time and follow the lines as closely as you can. My band saw only has a 14-inch cutting depth, which is shorter than my workpiece. This means that depending where I was cutting along the word, sometimes I had to remove a little material, and then come back from a different angle.
The thinner the blade you have on the band saw, the tighter the turns you can make. You can also make all these cuts using a jig saw, but it’s more difficult to get such clean cuts.
Both the “O” and the “A” had material to hog out inside the letters. Since I don’t own a scroll saw, I just cut right through the letters and cleared out the material. I would come through later and fill those gaps in.
Everything was cut out, so I could peel off the template.
I used the drill press with a sanding drum to smooth out all the edges. The band saw makes fairly nice cuts, but there is still a lot of cleanup to do.
The small drum is also able to get into the inside parts of the circular letters.
After the edge sanding, I grabbed the random orbit sander and cleaned up the front and back of the word.
I used a file to clean up any remaining bumps along the edge.
I poured some wood glue onto a pile of sawdust to make a wood paste.
I used this paste to fill the two areas where I cut into the letters to cut out the middle.
Once that was dry, I sanded everything smooth by hand and with the sander.
To ease all the sharp edges, I cut an eighth-inch round-over with the trim router.
Anywhere the router bit couldn’t reach, I used a chisel to carve back the edge to match the round-over.
I then gave the whole piece a final hand sanding.
At this point I realized I forgot the dot on the “I”. I cut it out on the band saw, just like I did before, and then sanded the edges on the drill press. This piece was too small to round over the edges with the router, so I just did it here on the drum by sanding on an angle.
Using a damp rag, I wiped off the dust to get ready for paint.
I used a bottle of spray paint that I had left over from building our kitchen table and covered the wood with that. It took six or seven coats, sanding between each one. I used some painter’s triangles to cover both sides without having to wait for each side to dry individually.
Eventually, it looked like this.
My Project Tools
Random Orbit Sander