Scrabble Wall Art

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Project by elbarneso posted 01-07-2013 04:12 PM 2788 views 14 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife asked for me to do a scrabble wall art project for her for Christmas. 3 word to be used – FAMILY / LOVE / BARNES (Barnes being our last name). This totals 14 letters, given that 2 overlap – each tile would be approximately 12” x 12”.

For the design / prototyping stage, I had to:

1) Determine material – this wound up being walnut plywood due to my wife liking the way other projects in the house resulted from the same. She also like the exposed edges instead of covering with walnut veneer edging.
2) Modeling the letters – I have a DIY CNC that is fairly sturdy for an MDF-based router, so I decided to use that instead of looking for stencils / lettering templates. I did all the “CAD” work using CAMBAM’s 2D tools, generating stick fonts for each letter / number. This allowed each pass to be quick / clean, and equal to the width of my router bit (3/4” for the letter, 1/4” for numbers).

For construction, some pictures are attached below. My full process was:

1) Cut out a 3/4” thick MDF template of the tile on my CNC – this gave me perfect dimensions and rounded corners
2) 2 coats of Sealcoat followed by Gel Satin poly on 1 side of the walnut plywood – this gave me a smooth surface for the paint mask to stick and also stops paint bleeding
3) Rough cut the walnut plywood to just a little bigger than the template size
4) Avery Paint Mask applied to each plywood tile blank
5) Screw the template onto the back of each tile blank
6) Flush trim each tile blank to the template on the router table (1/2” flush bit)
7) Screw each tile onto CNC table from underneath (using same holes from template attachment) and cut letters / numbers
8) Wood filler on any edge voids – then lightly sand edges
9) Spray edges and letters with primer+paint combo (black for all letters except the heart)
10) Remove paint mask

Overall, I was pretty happy with the project (more importantly, the wife was as well). I learned a few tips and tricks from the sign-maker professionals, and got to use my CNC for more than making parts for a new CNC.

6 comments so far

View Bill_Utterback's profile


28 posts in 2369 days

#1 posted 01-07-2013 05:40 PM

That is really cool. Great idea.

-- Bill

View KnotCurser's profile


2032 posts in 3457 days

#2 posted 01-07-2013 06:27 PM

Love this! An original project on LJ’s is rather rare to see – this is certainly one of those – this is added to my fav’s list for sure.

My CNC will be making sawdust shortly! ;-)

Great build – It’s easy to see why your wife likes this so much.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Buche's profile


70 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 01-07-2013 08:44 PM

But really, no points for the hearty ‘O’ ? ;-)

View clieb91's profile


3622 posts in 4323 days

#4 posted 01-08-2013 12:48 PM

Really a neat idea. We are looking for some ideas to use for updating our living room. This could be pretty neat.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2564 days

#5 posted 01-08-2013 02:40 PM

Brilliant idea and cool design. Very creative and artistic!


View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3547 days

#6 posted 01-08-2013 03:36 PM

Awesome. Would love this for my own family.

I want to see you make the Scrabble board!!! ;)

-- jay,

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