How to Make Wooden Letters: A DIY Woodworking Project

There’s always an interesting project going on in Grandpa’s woodshop! Right now we’re working on making wooden letters from a plain piece of wood. Here’s how we made our own wooden letters.

DIY wood letters on alphabet gathre mat

How to Make DIY Wood Letters

These DIY Wood Letters are made with high-quality plywood cut out with a scroll saw. Once the shape of the letter is cut out, each one is hand-sanded to make the finished wooden toy letter.

We used these wooden letters for learning the alphabet and made some extra ones to put up on the kids’ room doors. Wooden letters make just as wonderful wall decor as they do toys!

Scroll saw close up of blade and work table

Supplies for Making Wooden Letters

Here are the key supplies for making your own wooden letters:

  • High-quality plywood
  • Scroll saw
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper

Take the time to find the right supplies. We checked out lots of different types of plywood.

Choosing the right wood to make wooden play letters with
We chose this high-quality “Baltic Birch” plywood for the wooden letters.

Step 1: Choose Wood for the Letters

The first step is to choose wood for the letters. The regular hardware store plain plywood seemed to chip too much and was hard to sand to a smooth surface. We found this higher-quality “Baltic Birch” plywood at a specialty plywood store. It resembles the plywood used in some European wood children’s toys.

Using regular plywood to make wooden letters - letter A

Step 2: Practice Cutting Letters on Scrap Plywood

Because the baltic birch plywood is so expensive, it made sense to practice cutting letters on scrap plywood. Pictured above is one of the first practice letters cut out in wood scrap. Follow all instructions and safety precautions for the scroll saw.

Paper letter template for making wooden letters from scratch

Step 3: Make Paper Letter Shapes

The next step is to make paper templates for each letter. You could print out letters using a computer or base your templates on already-printed letters. We used the font on this alphabet Gathre mat as inspiration (my mom saw a mat with some matching letters on Instagram!).

Step 4: Trace Paper Letters Onto Plywood

Once the paper stencil templates are made, mark the perimeter of the paper letter template onto the plywood using a pencil. You’ll be sanding the letters later, so it’s ok if some pencil gets inside the letter lines. Now it’s time to cut out the shapes to make the wooden letters!

Using a scroll saw to cut out wood letters for kids toys
Sanding DIY Wood Letters

Step 5: Cut Out The Wooden Letters

Now it’s time to cut out the wooden letters using a scroll saw. This is the trickiest part of learning how to make wooden letters – especially if you’re new to using a scroll saw. Follow all instructions and safety precautions for your particular equipment and surroundings.

Hand-Sanding Wooden Alphabet Letter S
Using a nail file to sand a wooden letter smooth
How to Make Wooden Letters

Step 6: Sand the Wood Letters

Once the shapes are cut out, they’ll need to be sanded to have smooth edges. We used plain sandpaper and even used a nail file to get into the curves of letters like “S”! Once the edges are nicely sanded, any excess sawdust can be wiped off.

Handmade wooden letters on a Gathre alphabet mat

Making Wooden Letters

These DIY wood letters were a fun woodworking project and are now a wonderful toy for the kids! They also love having their names in wooden letters on the doors of their rooms. I have a feeling we might be making more letters from wood for future projects!

Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane is a Mom and digital content creator from the Okanagan Valley.

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