Wood Slice Sign

Learn how to make an easy wood slice sign.

This sentimental anniversary or wedding gift, displays the first names and wedding date of the couple.  


Age: Adult

Time Scale: 2 out of 5 (hard wood will require more time for sanding.)

Difficulty: Easy


  • chainsaw (or check below for alternatives)
  • wood log about 1 foot in diameter, preferably dried not green (This is birch)
  • paper
  • printer
  • carbon paper
  • pen
  • ruler
  • dust mask
  • high gloss Varathane
  • paint brush
  • coarse, medium and fine grit sandpaper
  • tack cloth
  • damp rag
  • sanding block or power sander
  • fine tip permanent black felt marker
  • saw tooth hanger with small nails
  • hammer

How to make an Easy Wood Slice Sign

So, you want to know how to make an easy wood slice sign? Easy, I say. Not so sure? Not everyone has a chainsaw. Issues can arise, even if you have one. You can read about these problems, on the craft wrecks page.

I will assume since chainsaw in the supply list, didn't scare you off, you must have one? If not, there are ways around that. Did you know that you can sometimes get cut ends from sawmills? If you have a mill nearby and you aren't sure you can cut a wood slice, this is an alternative. There is also a handsaw, if you have the energy. If you are cutting birch it will be a major workout. I wouldn't really recommend the combination of birch versus handsaw. Birch is a very dense, hard wood that is difficult to cut. Choose a different type of wood, if you do have to use a handsaw.

Start with a log that is at least 4 feet long and 1 foot in diameter. It will be much easier to cut the wood slice off the end of a longer piece of wood.

Do the first cut to get the end straight.

Now, slice off a piece about 1-11/4 inch thick. Another good reason to start with a piece of wood at least 4 feet long, is to practice a few cuts. 

Crooked-wood-slice-FAILNot like this

It is amazing how you can have an "Oh darn." that turns into "Oh, shoot!" to "Oh, for Pete sake!" to something a family friendly craft site, shouldn't write. Pretty soon, the log is gone and there is just a whole pile of useless, crooked crap lying on the ground.  If you just can't get a straight piece, STOP CUTTING before this happens. There may be a problem with your chainsaw. Is the chain sharpened properly? Sharpen the chain and try again.

Still crooked? The bar on the saw could be bent. Time to buy a new bar and replace it; IF of course you haven't got so mad, you've thrown the chainsaw in the garbage.

stack of cut tree slabs

Yes, crooked cuts can be aggravating. 

This may not be sounding so easy at this point. It is easy, with a good chainsaw. These instructions are to help you avoid the pitfalls, not to scare you away.

Here is proof, it's not that hard. Look at this stack, all cut up and waiting to be transformed into something amazing. There are a whole bunch of different craft projects that can be done with wood slices.

cut marks on woodKeep Sanding

Once you have the wood slice cut, clean with a damp rag.

Sand the front side smooth, starting with coarse grit sandpaper. Use a power sander if you have one. If you are using birch, be prepared to take some time with this. The back side will only have to be sanded enough so it will lie flat, without wobbling. 

When the saw marks are smoothed out, switch to medium then fine grit sandpaper. Make sure to do a good job sanding the front smooth. The smoother the better.

Wipe down with tack cloth or a damp rag.

There are various ways to do the lettering on this. Decoupage, woodburning, a transfer or hand lettering with ink or paint. I used a felt pen and it is the fastest and easiest of all of these techniques. 

To add the name and date on the wood slice sign I used a program called Printmaster. The lettering was placed in the landscape paper position. Almost any simple computer program will do.

The names are done in Duchess size 115 font. (or choose your own)

Est. and the date is size 72.

Type out your lettering and center.

Print onto plain computer paper.

add lettering

Make sure this will fit on the wood slab with a bit of space around the edges. Longer names or a smaller piece of wood will require a smaller font.

Put a piece of carbon paper on the wood and the print out over top. Check with a ruler to make sure the lettering is level.

Trace around the letters with a pen.

use transfer paper to add lettering

Remove paper.

Use a fine tipped permanent black felt pen to fill in the lettering. This is SO much easier than trying to use paint!

Let dry.

This will now have to be well sealed so the wood won't crack.

use sawtooth hanger

Apply 4 coats of Varathane to the front, sides and back of the wood slice sign. Watch for drips down the sides.

Start with the back if you need to practice applying the finish smoothly.

Dry and then sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper between each coat. 

Nail a saw tooth hanger to the top back. Now it's ready to hang on the wall.

                         ... Here we are!

Anniversary couple

The high gloss varathane really brings out the colors in the wood. This piece is extra special because it also happens to be shaped like a heart. What a lucky find!

Now you know how to make a wood slice sign. Break out that chainsaw and go rip it up!


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