Wooden Effect Letters

Faux wooden letters are made from xpsfoam which is then painted in various paints and stains to produce the effect of wooden letters. Made for shop displays.


Faux medium oak finish. Shop display letters made from painted styrofoam, Example shows letters made from a customer’s artwork, 370mm high, and 200mm thick. Letters coated in a medium oak quick-drying wood stain.

faux wood
faux wooden display letters

How to make wood effect letters using styrofoam.

To create wood-effect display letters using styrofoam, you can follow these steps:

Materials you will need:

  1. Styrofoam letters
  2. Craft knife or hot wire cutter
  3. Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  4. Acrylic paints (brown, tan, black, and white)
  5. Paintbrushes (various sizes)
  6. Woodgrain texture tool (optional)
  7. Clear varnish or sealant (optional)

Here’s the process:

  1. Start by obtaining styrofoam letters in the desired font and size. You can either purchase pre-cut styrofoam letters or cut them yourself using a craft knife or a hot wire cutter.
  2. Use the craft knife or hot wire cutter to shape the letters according to your design. Smooth out any rough edges or imperfections with sandpaper.
  3. Once you have the basic shape of the letters, sand the entire surface of each letter with medium-grit sandpaper. This will help create a rough texture and remove any shiny coating on the styrofoam.
  4. Next, mix brown and tan acrylic paints to create a base color resembling wood. Apply this base color to the letters using a paintbrush, ensuring even coverage. Let it dry completely.
  5. After the base coat has dried, take a darker shade of brown or black paint and apply it to the letters in a random pattern, mimicking wood grain. You can use a thin brush or a woodgrain texture tool to create more realistic grain lines. Allow the paint to dry.
  6. Once the grain paint has dried, mix a small amount of white paint with water to create a thin wash. Apply this wash to the letters, wiping off excess paint with a cloth or paper towel. This will highlight the grain lines and give the letters an aged wood appearance. Let it dry.
  7. If desired, you can add additional layers of paint using different shades to enhance the wood effect. Experiment with different techniques such as dry brushing or stippling to create depth and texture.
  8. After you are satisfied with the wood effect, let the letters dry completely. If you want to protect the finish and add shine, you can apply a clear varnish or sealant. This step is optional but can help increase the durability of the styrofoam letters.
  9. Once the varnish or sealant has dried, your wood-effect display letters are ready to be displayed! They can be attached to a surface using double-sided adhesive or displayed on a stand.

Remember to exercise caution when working with sharp tools and hot wire cutters. Ensure proper ventilation when using paints and varnishes.