Cleaning an Old Cutting Board to Make a Cabin Sign

Cleaning an Old Cutting Board to Make a Cabin Sign

When you find a wonderfully old, heavy cutting board at the thrift store, it’s hard to pass it up. But what if it’s SO well-loved that it borders on “gross”? Well, that’s what happened to me recently at Habitat ReStore. And I knew that cleaning this old cutting board would require some effort.

old cutting board

See what I mean, though? Such a great cutting board- thick and solid with those wonderfully cut corners.

But it just felt grimy to the touch. Like it was thick with the residue of preparing previous meals.

wooden cutting board

I wanted to make a cabin sign to celebrate my in-laws’ cabin going back into a rental programYou may recall some of the other projects I’ve made for it, such as this brochure holder!

brochure stand and mountain cabin decor

Anyway, I decided to focus on cleaning this board to make a rustic sign for them. It just seemed perfect for that!

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Cleaning an Old Cutting Board

Under normal circumstances, I’d just do some sanding on a cutting board before upcycling it. But I knew that wouldn’t be enough for this fellow.

how to clean a wooden cutting board

First, I started with some basic kitchen supplies: baking soda and a lemon.

cleaning a wooden cutting board with baking soda and lemon

Pairing up these two would help degrease the board. So, I sprinkled some baking soda over the board and cut the lemon in half.

cleaning a wood cutting board

Then, I worked the baking soda into the wood with the lemon half. Think of the lemon half as a sponge and the baking soda as soap.

I did this on both sides, as well as the edges. The baking soda and lemon juice reacted to form a clumpy paste, which I simply kept swirling and rubbing against the wood grain.

degreasing an old cutting board

I worked the baking soda into the grain of the wood as hard as I could. It was a messy job, but I could see that it was already making a huge improvement.

After that, I rinsed off the board in my sink and scoured it further with dish soap and a copper scrubber.

Making a Cabin Sign

Once the board had dried, it was appreciably lighter in both weight and color!

I decided to sand it slightly (with 120-grit disks) just to have a smoother working surface. But check out how pale it was compared to how it started!

sanding an old cutting board

When I was satisfied with the smoothness after sanding, I gathered materials to re-stain the board. I wanted a deep, rich color for my cabin sign.

staining a wood cutting board

When I was happy with the wood stain, I grabbed a stencil from one of my favorite online stencil stores. I also grabbed some white paint, stencil brushes, painter’s tape, and a clean cloth.

making a cabin sign and hiking decor

After swirling on the paint over the stencil, I had a delightful cabin sign on the old cutting board!

cabin sign

From there, I simply brushed some fine sandpaper (320-grit) over the stenciling to give it a more weathered look. And that was it!

Cleaning an Old Cutting Board to Make a Cabin Sign

I just LOVE how it turned out. Cleaning the board required some effort on my part, but I think it was worth it in the end.

cabin sign on an old cutting board

Such a great saying, too. Makes me want to go on a leisurely walk in a shady, bird-filled forest!

I hope you enjoyed the evolution of this cleaning this old cutting board to make a cabin sign. And speaking of the cabin, here’s the new rental page and information!

mountain cabin for rent in blue ridge ga

If you ever opt to stay there, you will undoubtedly recognize a few projects of mine! Like this beat up paddle that I rescued and repurposed as a coat rack.

Repurposing a wood paddle as wooden oar decor and rustic coat rackCraft on!


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old cutting board as a cabin sign

cleaning a wood cutting board for upcycling crafts



  1. I adore this board sign!! The cabin looks like a wonderfully restful place to visit. Is there something wrong with your Facebook page? I can’t seem to get to it.

  2. Rebecca Payne says

    Great job! I love it!

  3. Brilliant ideas as always. I look forward to seeing your projects every week. Thank you 🙂

  4. Thanks for this tip! I’ve run into cutting boards like this before and have always passed them up… now I know how to clean them! Yay!

  5. What a lot of work; but I am so glad you shared the baking soda/lemon tip. I bet your sink drain enjoyed the refresh as you rinsed the board off, too! I think it would be worth lining up several boards at a time to stencil on; you did a great job! And I love to go thrifting when it is hot outside. My house doesnt have a/c but my car does. Nice ride, directly into a/c store; works for me!

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