Rustic Railroad Sign

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DIY Railroad SignI live near a small town with a rail road running through it. At night and the early morning hours you can hear a faint train whistle off in the distance. We just love that sound, it is so soothing.There is a restaurant and pub right across the street from the tracks that we visit sometimes and every time I am in there I see a real super cool Railroad sign hanging on the wall. Well we had dinner there a few weeks ago and I was smitten once again, so much so I decided to make one for myself. 

I made the letters with Contact Paper and my Silhouette Cameo, but once again do not get discouraged if you do not have one, you can always use a stencil or the printer method I used for my Gather sign.


  • Silhouette CAMEO (optional)
  • 2  1/4x6x4 Aspen wood planks (these are pre-cut shorter pieces of wood at Lowes)
  • 2 pks 5/8 (75 each) Neoprene washers
  • 2 1/4-20×3/4 nuts & bolts
  • Brown & Black acrylic paint
  • Black paint pen
  • White Chalk paint (see recipe below)
  • Sponge applicator
  • Contact paper
  • Minwax 22240 Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, Special Walnut
  • Rags
  • Sander or sand paper
  • Hot glue & gun


Cut down your wood to 35 inches in length with a saw. I used a hacksaw to cut the corners off unevenly to make it look old and damaged. Sand to round the edges. Take a rag and rub on the wood finish to both sides of the boards. I used the wood finish first so it would fade through the chalk paint later to make the wood look weathered. Let it dry overnight. Mix your chalk paint and paint the wood with 2 coats.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe

If you are doing a small job with chalk paint cut the recipe in half. When completely dry start stenciling.


cut board for railroad sign

stain wood for railroad sign

Using Regular Contact Paper with Silhouette for Stenciling:

Here are the settings:

  • Media~ Vinyl
  • Speed~ 3
  • Blade~ 2

Type your letters and then rotate them 90CW vertical. I used  the font Arial Black. If you are using the same wood I am, below are the dimensions for the letters.

Please use the below dimensions as a guide. You may be able to fit your letters a different way, especially if you use a different font.

To adjust letter size, I cut out about what I thought the letters should be on the contact paper with the Silhouette, removed the letters and placed them on the wood as a reference. Measure and center the letters. Adjust as needed. By using the contact paper instead of the expensive vinyl I was able to cut out multiple samples to get my lettering the right dimensions.


  • Height of letter  8.620
  • Length of word  17.830
  • Text size 362.4
  • Spacing between letters 140%

CROS   &  SING    (I separated crossing into two words)

  • Height of letter  8.620
  • Length of word  17.830
  • Text size 362.4
  • Spacing between letters  160%

I manually made my setting for the vinyl size to 8×15. My contact paper was already a 15 inch roll so I cut 8 inch wide strips with a rotary cutter. Reset to the small width on the Silhouette. Feed your vinyl and cut.

After you are satisfied with your lettering. Pull the letters off of the vinyl and  place them where they will go on the wood this will give you a reference to where to place the vinyl. Place your vinyl and press down to seal.

STENCIL TIP: To get super crisp lines, I use a black paint pen to outline the letters, inside the vinyl cuts. That way if your paint is not working well you can always hand paint the letters.

I mixed black and brown acrylic paint and used a sponge applicator to dab on the paint. Remove the contact paper before it dries. I think the longer a stencil stays on, the longer it has to bleed. So remove as soon as you are finished painting. Touch up any mistakes.

contact paper silhoiuette cameo

stencil with slhouette paint pen

After paint is dry. I went over the letters lightly with a sander. I then drilled two holes in the center for the bolts to hold the sign together. Remove dust with rag and place the Neoprene washers on letters. I used 148 washers. Glue them on with hot glue. Bolt the two boards together with a screwdriver. Add your wall hanger to the back center.

add rustic bolts to DIY railroad sign

Add washers to letters on railroad sign

Take a small amount of the Special Walnut Wood finish on a rag and shabby up the edges and on top of the white paint for that damaged weathered rustic look. And that’s it! I realize this was a lot of information but it really was a very easy project! The pics were taken in my dining room, my husband has now confiscated it for his man cave, I think it looks much better down there on the dark walls. I hope you like it as much as I do!

DIY Railroad Crossing sign


~ This post contains affiliate links, I will be compensated if you make a purchase. Hey, this girl needs to buy craft supplies

Check out more of my Sign Projects~

Sundries Sign

Rustic Sundries Sign


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