The Best Wood to Make a Farmhouse Sign

The best wood for making farmhouse signs
Affiliate links may have been used in this post. If you buy something through one of these links I make a small commission that helps support my website (at no extra cost to you!)

One of the tricks with making farmhouse signs is finding the perfect board to use for the inside piece. Choosing the best wood to make a farmhouse sign starts with finding the right material.

What I’ve found works the very best is using MDF board (medium density fiber board). It’s a particle board that’s made up of medium wooden fiber pieces held together by wax and glue.

Shop my T-shirt Shop for makers, DIYers and Crafter- Jane Thread Tees

So I’ve done a lot of trial and error while making hundreds of farmhouse signs and here’s what I’ve found.

The Best Wood to Make a Farmhouse Sign-
Why use MDF board

-It’s inexpensive– if you get the 8 ft. x 4 ft. sheets it only costs around $0.008/sq inch depending on which thickness you go with.

-It’s perfectly smooth– MDF board is very smooth which makes your sign look professional. When using a stencil to paint words, the stencil will lay flat because of the smooth surface, which will prevent any paint bleeds. Natural wood boards leave signs rough and bumpy because of the uneven wood-grain.

-It comes in a variety of thicknesses– MDF boards vary in thickness from 1/8″ thick to 1 1/8″ thick. The two that I love for making farmhouse signs are 1/2″ and 3/4″ thick. MDF board is very dense so the thicker the board you use the heavier the sign will be. I’ve been using the 1/2″ thick board lately because it’s lighter. The 3/4″ is easier to shoot a nail through without breaking through the top or bottom of the board. (update: I’ve started using 1/4″ MDF which makes the signs lighter to ship and hang. I make a groove for the sign to fit in, on the inside of the frame.)

Framing Farmhouse Signs | The Course, is a video that will help you learn the framing process clearly!

Here’s a post on How To Frame 1/4″ MDF for making signs click here


Where to find MDF board

MDF board is sold at Home Depot, Lowes, and it’s likely sold at your local hardware store. I get mine at our local hardware store, it’s close by my house and easy to make the short trip.

The Best Wood to Make a Farmhouse Sign-
How to cut MDF board

MDF board comes in sheets of 8 ft. x 4 ft. o the best way to cut down a sheet of that size is by using a table saw. If you don’t have the tools (table saw, or circular saw) and help that it takes to cut down and use the large sheets of MDF you can have Home Depot slice the sheets with their panel saw for no extra charge. They may even be able to cut it to the size needed for your farmhouse sign. Home Depot sells 1/4 sheets that are 4 ft. by 2 ft. which is a great way to give it a try before buying a large sheet of MDF board.

I hope this helps you see why you need MDF board in your farmhouse-sign-making-life!!

Be sure to check out my t-shirt shop below, where you can find super cute gifts for the crafter who has everything!!!

Shop Jane Thread Tees- CLICK HERE

RELATED | Get The 3 Step Formula To Clean Paint Lines (no mod podge) to get prettier and less time consuming signs!

Learn the best way to touch up paint bleeds on farmhouse signs here!

For more sign making tips come follow me on Instagram!

Check out these great posts for other ways I’ve used MDF board and my jig saw
Laundry word scroll cut out with the jig saw (free laundry SVG cut file)
How to cut shapes with the jig saw
Jig saw overview

21 comments on this post

    Maria

    What wood do you use for the boarder?

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      I use a 1×12 pine board and rip it down on my table saw. You could use 1×2 boards though, then you don’t have to rip them down

      Reply

    Lauren

    Hey I’m really curious how you nail your trim on! I bought the MDF thinking I’d use it for my signs but every time I go to nail the trim on, the board bubbles up and splits.

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey! I’ve had that problem too. I ended up using a slim board to rest my nailer on so that I didn’t have to guess where to hold it every time. Also use shorter nails if you can, and if the nailer’s angled at all make sure it’s angled toward the back of the sign.

      Reply

    Lisa

    What do you use for trimming your farmhouse pictures and have you used vinyl on them.

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey, I use a table saw or a circular saw to cut the signs down to size. I use the vinyl as a stencil on my signs.

      Reply

    Carol

    If you use 1/2” mdf, what size wood would you use for framing it ?

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey! I use a 1×12 pine board and rip it down on my table saw. You could use 1×2 boards though, then you don’t have to rip them down

      Reply

    Amber

    What did ty use for the framing parts?

    Reply

    Brittany

    Hi Lindsey,

    What do you use to create the border around the outside of the mdf board and where do you find it?

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey! I use a 1×12 pine board and rip it down on my table saw. You could use 1×2 boards though, then you don’t have to rip them down. Hope this helps!

      Reply

    Rebecca Gasseling

    I’d sure love to hear your other supplies you use for signs! I’ve been trying to use MDF and am having the worst luck! I use chalk paint for the background because it can be sanded smooth beautifully. I use 631 for my stencils. I use either chalk paint or honestly spray paint for on top of the stencil. When I use plywood, it works fine. Using MDF, I have paint peel up with the stencil .
    How can I prevent this from happening?!

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey Rebecca! It’s such a trial and error process. I used to have that same problem, and I’m working on a post right now that has all of the supplies I use. But if you click the link at the bottom or copy and paste it, it will help you solve your paint peeling problem.
      Hope this helps! https://mailchi.mp/c6b6762e05a3/3-step-formula-to-clean-paint-lines

      Reply

    MistyD

    Thanks for sharing? What wood do you use for the frame?

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey! I use a 1×12 pine board and rip it down on my table saw. You could use 1×2 boards though, then you don’t have to rip them down.

      Reply

    Sarah

    Hi thank you for sharing all you tips i was wandering if you have a detailed video or post showing and explaining how you cut your groove in your trim and attach it to you 1/4 inch mdf. Love your blog and enjoyed your instagram videos

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hey! Thank you so much. I’m going to be working on a post this week on how to frame 1/4″ MDF.

      Reply

    Susan

    Love how informative your blog is! When using mdf boards, which is the best paint to paint the board with so it doesn’t lift when removing the stencil? Do you use a top coat when it’s finished? Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

      ljaneco18

      Hi Susan, I’ve used chalk paint and wall paint. The trick is making sure your sign is clear of sawdust and painting 2 coats of paint. I don’t use a top coat.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites