How to Make Moss Letters for an Outdoor Garden Sign
Decorate your outdoor space with pretty garden accents like these ABCs – grow, baby, grow!
Take a cue from some of the most well-decorated backyards, accessorize your garden fence with whimsical word art. By cutting your own letters for this custom garden decor, you have more control over the styling and design, and you’ll end up with a feature that’s totally crush-worthy.
- 2' x 2' x 1/4" plywood
- this GROW printable
- scroll saw
- dark green paint
- dried moss
- weatherproof adhesive
- floral accessories (optional but adorable)
A small sheet of plywood is the perfect base for this word art installation. It’s durable, easy to cut, and you may be able to find scrap pieces from previous projects that are too small for most applications but just right for an assortment of ABCs. I pulled scrap plywood, but if you need to buy new, choose a 2' x 2' board that’s 1/4” thick.
Use a word processor to select a font and print each letter on each page at roughly 700pt. type. If you’re including a wide letter (like my “W”) allow it to span two pages when you print. To make your own “GROW” look exactly like mine (aw, shucks!) use this free printable.
Use a pencil to outline each letter onto the plywood. The pressure on the pencil tip will leave a slight gouge on the surface of the plywood so that when you lift the paper, you’ll still see the faint outline of the letter. If your wood isn’t quite soft enough, you can also use a utility knife to lightly score the shape of the letter into the surface of the plywood. Use the pencil to darken the shape of the letter so that it’s easier to follow when you’re using the saw.
A scroll saw is ideal for cutting out these letters, though a jigsaw could work just as well. Follow the lines and cut each letter one at a time.
To cut the middle out of your letters (such as the center of the “O” or “R”), there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Just zip through one of the “solid” lines of your letter. The glue and moss will prevent it from ever becoming flimsy.
Use a flexible sanding block to smooth rough edges and remove splinters from the letters.
Paint each letter – back, front and edges. A dark-green color will prevent any gaps in the moss from being obvious.
If you’re planning on installing the letters outdoors where they’ll come in contact with rain, use a weatherproof adhesive that will dry clear to attach the moss. Apply a thick bead of adhesive on the wood surface. Separate small pieces of moss and stick the moss on one piece at a time so that the glue is absorbed into the moss.
How much glue is enough glue? Aim for the moss to be saturated and spongey. Since the glue will dry clear, it’ll really help to bond the textured moss together and secure it to the board.
Let the glue dry overnight and then take a sharp pair of scissors and “landscape” around the edges to correct any pieces of moss that are overhanging the plywood.
Get cutesy, if you want, and add a few subtle faux-blossoms to your finished letterforms.
You can hang the letters on hooks, but when you're applying directly to a wood surface like a fence, nails are easily the most secure option. I used 1” nails and hammered them directly through the plywood and moss, and into the fence. The nail heads are completely disguised in the moss, and the letters aren't bound to shift in the wind or weather. Enjoy making your own word art!