How to Carve a Chicken Coop Sign


Happy summer, y’all!  A week ago, my sister reached out asking for ideas for a chicken coop sign.  Turns out her little chicks were moving out of her bathroom (true story) into their very own coop.  So, I decided to carve this farmhouse-style chicken coop sign for their new digs.  

Want to know how to carve this chicken coop sign?  Keep on reading!

how to carve a chicken coop sign with an x-carve

How to Carve a Chicken Coop Sign

My sister lives on a gorgeous plot of acreage, perfect for raising chickens.  She recently got six more chicks who spent the spring having a chicken party in her bathroom.

Now that they’re a little bigger, they’re ready to move their fluff-butts from her bathroom into the chicken coop.  She reached out asking for DIY ideas for creating a sign for the hen house, and I was more than happy to oblige. 

This DIY carved wood sign used one of my favorite tools in the shop – a mini CNC router called an Inventables X-Carve.  It’s seriously so fun and easy to use!  Want to create a similar project?  Then keep on reading and make sure to grab the free cut file, too!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

This project was fun because it used a lot of materials I already had on hand.  Now, to be fair, I’ve been gathering up materials and supplies in my shop for quite some time.  

So, if you don’t have an X-Carve in your shop, please don’t stress.  You can carve wood signs like with a Dremel, too, or use the free cut file as a painting template.  

First things first, gather up everything you need. 

Materials Needed for Your DIY Chicken Coop Sign

  • A sign backer.  For this project, I cut a 1 by 12 by 10 piece of pine from Home Depot.  Or, if you want, you can grab a blank wooden sign on Amazon for pretty cheap.
  • Saw.  I used my compound miter saw from Ryobi.  I have a sliding miter saw, which is great because I can cut through wide boards in one pass. 
  • Wood carving tool.  I used my Inventables x-carve for this project, which made it super easy and fast.  You can definitely carve a wooden sign with a Dremel, too.  I have a tutorial for carving by hand with a Dremel right over here.   I actually made a mistake with this carve (read about it below) and ended up needing to fix the carve with my Dremel, so I’m glad I had it nearby.
  • Cut file.  Pop over here to grab one of my free cut files, where you’ll see this pretty hen house cut file.   
  • Bits.  For this project, I used a 1/4 carbide straight flute from Inventables and a 60-degree v-bit, also from Inventables.
  • Stain.  I always use Minwax Provincial.  I just love it.  
  • Paint.  I call the shade I used “random luck white” since I bought a $9 gallon of white oops paint from Home Depot forever ago.  I love the shade and have absolutely no idea what color it is.  Oops paint is my favorite.
  • Sanding paper.  I used 120 grit paper. 
  • Sander.  I used my little Ryobi corner sander for this project.
     How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

Step 2: Prep Your Cut File

I sent my sister not one, not two, but SIX different ideas for her chicken coop signs.  Turns out I really loved designing them so I just kept going.  Here are all the ideas I sent her:

She decided she liked the bottom right, so that’s the one I carved.  All of these signs are available as free SVG files in my shop for you to download.  

Click right here to download the chicken coop sign cut file!

First, enter the dimensions of your wood into Easel.  Then, to add your image, you’ll then want to import your file into Easel to carve.  Click “file>import SVG” and resize it to fit your project.

Step 3: Model Your Carve in Easel

Over time, I’ve learned that the longer I spend modeling the carve in Easel, the happier I am with the final outcome. 

For this project, I decided to carve a pocket to create a frame around the final piece.  In order to do this, add a rectangle shape over your project and size it to fit around the cut file.

Set the depth of the rectangle deeper than the cut file, then go to “edit> send to back” and also click “edit> center to material.”

Be sure to click “Detailed Carve” along the way to see what the chicken coop sign will look like.  I also added in my bits and set my feed settings. 

To calculate my feed settings, I enter my information into the MillRight CNC feedrate calculator.  I also usually double-check the Inventables forum and my Facebook groups, too, to make sure my settings seem legit.

Here are my bits and feed settings:

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

I’m just now learning how to adjust my settings off of the recommended settings.  Please know that I am not an expert at this so do your own work and research and be safe.  

Step 4: Prepare to Carve

To prepare my wood for carving, I first sanded the cut wood using my little Ryobi sander, to take off any rough edges before painting.

Then, I painted a layer of latex paint over the board, using my “random luck white” oops paint.  In hindsight, I should have let the paint dry a few days longer.  Latex paint gets kinda peel-y if you carve it too soon after painting, kind of like torn plastic.  Live and learn.

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

I clamped down my wood, confirmed my bits, and set my z-depth using my z-probe. 

Here’s another thing I should have done different – next time, I need to make sure to probe in the same spot between the rough pass and the detail pass.  I forgot I was carving a pocket and probed the rough pass somewhere that got carved out.  So, I ended up setting my z-depth in two different spots, which affected the project.

Again, live and learn.  Sigh.  So it goes.

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

Step 5: Carve Your Chicken Coop Sign

This is always the best part.  It’s so fun to watch.

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

Because of the mistake, I made with setting my z-depth, I ended up needing to crack out my Dremel to smooth over some rough parts of the carve.  Now, please know, when you have your CNC dialed in, you should NOT need to do this.

I’m learning, y’all, and I made a very conscious decision not to glamorize the learning curve when I show my projects.  I make lots of mistakes.  And while I can usually cover them up somehow, I’m not going to pretend they didn’t happen.

So, in order to make this project work, I pulled out my little Dremel and smoothed over some of the rough areas.

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

Step 6: Sand, Stain, and Ta-Da!

I knew I wanted this sign to look vintage, old, and weathered.  Like, it had already been hanging outside on a chicken coop for lots of years already, you know?

So I first sanded down the paint, sticking to the outside edges where the sign would have aged naturally.  Then I applied stain over paint, using my tried-and-true method I love using on many of my DIY projects.  

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

The stain over paint method works particularly well with latex paint since the formula of latex really resists the stain’s absorption.  I also used this technique recently on my DIY Disney wall decor using acrylic paint and found it worked pretty well, too.

I used my favorite stain – Minwax provincial – staining both the raw wood and over the paint.  I kept a staining rag handy to quickly wipe the stain off the latex paint.  It’ll discolor it slightly (which I like to a small degree) so I wipe it off quickly after I apply it.

Enjoy Your Gorgeous Chicken Coop Sign

Alright, brace yourself for lots of shots of this cute little chicken coop sign.  Isn’t she lovely?  I hope my sister loves it!  (I’m on my way to FedEx this afternoon to send it to her.)

How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign
How to Carve a DIY Chicken Coop Sign

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