Kitchen Sign


Kitchen Sign:
Amber Bailey makes a fun kitchen sign, using marquetry techniques

Amber Bailey makes a fun kitchen sign, using marquetry techniques

What you will need:
• Photocopies of the paper template/design
• Selection of veneers
• Scalpel (10A blade)
• Cutting mat
• Veneer press
• Bandsaw
• Fish glue
• Plywood (approximately 12mm thick) 227 x 107mm
• Sanding equipment
• Spirit dye and brush
• Osmo oil and cotton cloth
• Light coloured wax
Materials:, or any well stocked DIY store
Veneers: or from your local veneer merchant

Growing up in the beautiful rural countryside of Sussex, I have developed certain ideals as to how a house interior should look. Living in a full house, the heart of the home was always the kitchen, a vision of traditional white and blue and the occasional farm animal motif. For friends everywhere I have found the perfect gift to be a kitchen sign that emulates this ‘home-sweet-home’ vision. A simple but extremely effective project that adds a welcoming rustic feel to any décor. Why not get inspired and see what other designs or household signs you could create?

Preparing the groundwork

1. Using a bandsaw or similar, cut a plywood groundwork to approximately 227 x 107mm. Sand down the edges and the back surface to remove any rough splinters. With all the edges prepared, apply a spirit-based dye of your choice to all surfaces other than where the marquetry will be adhered. Unlike paint, spirit dye will allow for the wood grain to remain visible. This is especially important if you are making use of recycled material and wish to highlight this fact

Cutting the marquetry

2. The assortment of veneers can be based on the colour scheme of the kitchen it will be displayed in

Health and safety
This project involves using a scalpel to cut the veneers. To avoid the blade slipping and causing any nasty accidents, make sure to cut at an angle, away from yourself. 

The background

3. Begin by cutting out a series of uniform squares in two alternating coloured veneers. Tape the squares into the appropriate pattern following the original design. Overlay onto the background veneer, using a scalpel to cut around so that the squares can be tightly slotted into place

4. The rest of the design needs to be cut out of the background, as this will help create a tight template for the inner detail. Overlay a paper copy of the template and secure with tape to the background. Use a scalpel to cut out the outer lines

The lettering

5. With the lettering veneer temporarily taped in place, flip the marquetry over so it is face down. Using the background as a template, cut out the lettering with the scalpel

The chicken

6. For the chicken marquetry, follow exactly the same process as for the lettering, making sure to work from the inside edges outward. The paper template will be needed for cutting out the detail of the chicken

7. For each individual piece of veneer, fit the veneer into its correct position in the background and then overlay the template to cut out any necessary extra detail

Preparing the design

8. Before jumping straight into cutting the design, it is important to have decided on the angles of grain direction as this will affect the aesthetics of the piece and help enhance its three-dimensionality. As a general rule the grain should follow the longest lengths of each section in the design. To help plan this, draw the according lines onto a master copy for reference

Gluing up

9. With the marquetry taped up into one piece, it can be glued down in its entirety. Apply an even layer of fish glue or other adhesive of your choosing onto the groundwork and press the marquetry into place. Temporarily tape down if necessary to stop it moving out of position, however this should only be for the first hour and removed after some adhesion has occurred to prevent dents damaging the surface. The marquetry needs to be pressed for at least 12 hours to allow for it to dry, it is advisable to have the marquetry between sheets of acetate to avoid any excess glue sticking to the press. Once dry, any excess glue or waste veneer can be cut away and all tape can be removed ready to prepare for finishing


10. It is likely that using Sellotape to temporarily adhere the marquetry will leave sticky residue on the veneers. Removing these marks can be achieved through a mixture of cabinet scraping and lightly going over the surface with a portable sander. It is extremely important to keep the sander straight and only press very lightly as it is far too easy to wear down the surface of the marquetry

11. This is also a good method to use if there is any serious difference in veneer thickness. With the surface clean, the marquetry can be scraped and have a final smoothing with fine grade abrasive wrapped around a block

 When adding fixtures to the back of the panel, ensure they are as strong as possible so there is no danger of breaking under its weight.


12. With a piece of soft cotton cloth, apply a layer of Osmo oil to the marquetry and then buff off any excess oil with a clean piece of cloth. Repeat this process a number of times until you are happy with the appearance of the finish. The first will be acting as a sealant and furthers will be needed to build up colour and sheen. At least several hours drying time will be needed between each layer then a minimum of 12 hours should be left after completion before finally buffing the panel up with a clear or light coloured wax


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