Blog Post

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.

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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.

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The font I chose is called Script MT Bold. I also increased the size to 800 points.

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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.

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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.

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The print is now split across as many pages as needed to print the file to scale.

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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.

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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.

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I used a razor knife to trim off most of the excess paper.

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Over at the table saw, I cut a piece of plywood down to roughly the size as the paper I just cut.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Everything was cut out, so I could peel off the template.

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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.

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The small drum is also able to get into the inside parts of the circular letters.

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After the edge sanding, I grabbed the random orbit sander and cleaned up the front and back of the word.

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I used a file to clean up any remaining bumps along the edge.

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I poured some wood glue onto a pile of sawdust to make a wood paste.

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I used this paste to fill the two areas where I cut into the letters to cut out the middle.

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Once that was dry, I sanded everything smooth by hand and with the sander.

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To ease all the sharp edges, I cut an eighth-inch round-over with the trim router.

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Anywhere the router bit couldn’t reach, I used a chisel to carve back the edge to match the round-over.

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I then gave the whole piece a final hand sanding.

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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.

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Using a damp rag, I wiped off the dust to get ready for paint.

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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.

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Eventually, it looked like this.

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My Project Tools

Table Saw

Band Saw

Random Orbit Sander

Chisel

Drill Press

 

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