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twig lettering

I've always enjoyed looking at twigs. In the autumn I always take time to salvage a few and try to find things to do with them. But my project repertoire was limited and I always wondered if more could be done with them.

Rustic Accents for Your Home : 45 Projects from Vines, Twigs & Branches Unfortunately, there were no books written for "twiggists" to consult. But that changed in 1999 when Storey Books filled that gap and published Rustic Accents for Your Home: 45 Projects from Vines, Twigs and Branches by Laura Donnelly Bethmann and Ann Ramp Fox. The publishers have given us permission to excerpt the instructions and illustrations for making signs with twig letters. It's a great way to bring the outdoors indoors and make something for yourself or as a special gift for someone else.

Lettering ideas

Think of meaningful words and phrases to make with twigs. Consider:

Clarity, Harmony, Peace, Simplify, Sunshine, Welcome; "There's always the garden," "Carpe diem," or your favorite quote; names of family members; the seasons; seasonal and holiday greetings; your favorite flowers and herbs.

Notes on Materials

Use whatever twigs you have on hand. Don't limit yourself to twigs from only one kind of tree. The authors combined maple twigs (gray and fairly smooth) and cedar twigs (brown and textured) to provide variation in the lettering for this project.

When making signs for the outdoors, use galvanized or stainless steel nails. For signs that will be hung indoors, gluing the letters works as well as nailing.

twig shape Twig shape is an important consideration for making letters. Twigs of all shapes and sizes can be coaxed, trimmed and flexed into the appropriate letter forms. However, it's easiest if you can find twigs that naturally take on the shape of the letters.

What You Need


  • Wood board, approximately 6 inches by 25 inches
  • Paint or sandpaper (optional)
  • Paper (optional)
  • Clear adhesive tape (optional)
  • Twigs: 1/8 to 1/4 inch diameter
  • 1/2 inch nails
  • Brown or gray permanent marker
  • Saw tooth picture hanger


  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Pruning shears
  • Tack hammer

What You'll Do

  1. If desired, prepare the board by painting it or sanding any rough edges.

  2. It may help to plan the layout on paper. Write out the words, full size, as they will appear on the board. (Tape sheets of paper together to re-create the size of the board, if necessary.) Draw a straight line across the paper 3/4 inch from the bottom. Draw a second line 3 1/2 inches from the bottom. Draw a third line at 4 3/4 inches from the bottom. These lines will act as a guide when forming the letters.

  3. The letters are all capitals. The first letter of each word is 4 inches high by 2 to 3 1/2 inches wide. The rest of the letters are 3 inches high by 1 to 2 inches wide. The sizes are approximate, and as you form the twig letters these sizes will vary somewhat. Don't be too strict with the measurements. Variation adds to the personality of the letters.

  4. Start with the first letter and move on from there. Follow the guide you made in step 2 and the measurements given in step 3. Choose twigs that are shaped appropriately for the letters. Hold each twig to the guide to determine where to trim it. As you form each letter, leave it in place on the guide so that you can judge letter and word spacing.

  5. When complete, nail each twig in its place on the board, following the paper guide. Hammering will cause the twigs that aren't nailed down to scatter, so remove one twig from the guide at a time and nail in place. Use one or two nails per twig.

  6. If desired, color the twigs with markers. Center the saw tooth hanger in the back of the board near the top edge and hammer into place.

See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:

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