DIY Food Signs & Table Numbers

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, yet boujie way to let guests know what’s on the menu at your next buffet-style party, or need upscale on a budget table numbers, you’re in the right place!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been co-planning a baby shower as well as planning my daughter’s high school graduation bash. Even though the two parties are very different in size and nearly 3 months apart from each other, I’ve been doing my best to find items that can serve double duty to cut down on cost, and these DIY food buffet signs do just that! In total, they cost me less than $12 with enough supply to make 30 signs (using some scrap wood and paint I already had leftover from other projects).

What you’ll need:

  • Scrap wood that’s at least 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (I used 3/4″ x 4″ x 12″ and cut down to the correct dimensions)
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw (optional)
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • 3.5″ x 5″ Acrylic Sheets (I used .7mm thickness but you may want thicker for a more snug fit)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • 1″ or 1.5″ foam brush
  • Spray paint or wood stain in your choice of color for the wood base
  • Cricut or other cutting machine and permanent vinyl OR a Sharpie Paint Marker in contrasting color

Step 1 – Cutting the wood

Use your table saw to cut the wood into pieces that are 3/4″ high x 1 1/2″ wide. (Don’t cut them into 3.5″ blocks just yet) Then, change the angle of your blade to about 15 degrees and lower the blade so that it’s about 1/4″ lower than the height of your wood piece. Run the wood through the saw, creating an angled slit in the wood.

Next, use your measuring tape or ruler to measure and mark 3.5″ from the end of your wood with the angled slit. Use a miter saw or your table saw to cut at the 3.5″ mark. Use this block as a template, and cut as many blocks as you’ll need (or can given the length of your wood).

Sand each block so the edges aren’t as sharp. When done sanding, run a very lightly damp cloth over each piece to remove sanding particles from the surface.

Step 2 – Prepare the acrylic sheets

If your acrylic has it, peel back the protective layer on one side of the acrylic sheet.

Using a foam brush and the acrylic paint of your choice, brush the paint on the acrylic sheet in a slightly angled and chunky stroke pattern. Lay flat to dry at least 1 hour.

Paint an additional layer if needed for desired look. (My project required two coats of paint)

Step 3 – Painting the wood bases

Using the spray paint or stain in the color of your choice, and in a well-ventilated area, spray paint/stain each wood block and allow to fully dry. Depending on your look, this may require several coats. I spray painted mine gold and it required 3 coats of paint with dry time in between.

Step 4 – Add lettering

If your acrylic has it, peel back the protective layer on the unpainted side of the acrylic sheet. If you have good handwriting, you can hand write your labels using a sharpie paint marker. If you have a vinyl cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette, you can design your lettering in the machine’s design software and cut the lettering from adhesive vinyl. I used my Cricut and white Oracal permanent vinyl. The fonts I used was Cricut’s “Milasian Circa” and “Typewriter Font”.

Once your lettering has been added and all blocks are dry, you can slide the acrylic sheets into the blocks. I added several narrow pieces of thick, clear packing tape to the bottom of the acrylic sheet where it fits into the wood to give it a more snug fit but this is completely optional.

You can also follow these same instructions to make table number signs using slightly larger (i.e. 5″x7″) acrylic sheets!

Want more Party Planning tips?

Stay tuned for more party planning tips including a complete guide for throwing an epic backyard graduation bash on a budget!

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