How to Create a House Sign

We moved into a new house in a small town called New Glarus in southern Wisconsin. I grew up in a city of maybe 600 k metro, and New Glarus has a little over 2k people. So I was a little nervous but before moving, but weeks after moving all fears were gone. Everyone is close in a healthy way, yes everyone seems to know everyone else, and everyone takes pride in their homes. our home had two 4×4 posts out front where the previous owners had a sign by the road for their home. instead of taking the posts out, I though I would make our own sign, and join the club of doing something distinct and proud to our own.

The town is a rustic town with deep Swiss roots. The Swiss settle the down in the late 1800’s in an attempt to find the spot in America that they could call home. New Glarus is named after Glarus Switzerland. Ever year New Glarus has a William Tell festival, and the fire departments in the two countries have been know to swap employees for brief periods, sending the US Fireman to Switzerland, and the Swiss firefighters are sent over here to New Glarus in the US. So I needed to make sure my sign was rustic and had something Swiss in it. The Swiss part was tough, all I could come up with is use a Swiss like font. Using Google street view I walked around Glarus Switzerland but came away with, it looks like modern America with a lot of row houses.

My sign was close to free, minus the tools of course and polyurethane, screws..


  • 1 Qty pipe sweating torch and lighter (for burning the letters)
  • 1 Qty  belt sander
  • 1 Qty  3M spray on glue


  • 1 Qty 40 Inch Palette
  • 1 Qty pint of polyurethane
  • 2 Qty 2.5 inch screws
  • 1 Qty 100 lumen solar spot light
  • 1 Qty  40 inch by 26 inch 5 plywood


  • Carefully take apart the palette trying not to damage the long flat board. These will be the face of your sign.
  • Cut the Plywood to appropriate size. Mine was 40 inches wide by 26 inches tall
  • Arrange the palette boards so the fit together nicely. Look at things like the color of the boards, how flat the edges are, and the width of the board. I had a few that were a little too skinny that I had to toss out.
  • Once you have the Plywood cut and palette boards picked out, use screws(I used 1.25 inch drywall screws) to mount from the plywood side into the palettes. You screw depth needs to match your plywood depth. Just make sure the screw is not too deep where it would penetrate the front of the sign. This is how you fasten the palettes to the plywood.
Screws go in the plywood towards the palettes.
  • Now use the belt sander and spend enough time sanding so the palette surface is smooth so the router will not catch on anything when carving out the letters
  • Now clean with a shopvac and maybe a damp cloth any dust off the palettes. the plot will NOT stick if the palettes are full of dust.
  • Next, you need to glue your paper plot on to the sanded and cleaned palettes. Spray a good coat of 3M glue over the palettes
  • Carefully place the plot on the glue. make sure things stay square. you don’t want the text to be slanted.
  • Now we need to prep the router. make sure the bit is about half the depth of the palette. you dont want to go through the palette board. Also, get a small as possible bit. The smaller the bit, the sharper the letters. I used a 1/8 inch bit.
  • Now start up your router and get to work. Stay inside the blank ink. See the Letter A demo Video
  • Once you are done routing out all your letters, carefully peel up the paper. you may have some stuck on the palette, if that is the case, use a spray bottle of water or damp cloth and rub the excess paper and glue off. Don’t be rough with it as you could do things like knock out parts of the router inside letter pieces.
  • Once all the glue and paper is off, do a light sanding, then clean with a vac, then damp cloth.
  • Now we need to put on some protection. I used outdoor clear polyurethane. Here is the before and after treatment.
  • Finally after the sign dried, I mounted the sign out front, added the spot light.