A neighbor of mine just built a new patio and had a bunch of 8x10 inch chunks wood sitting around. I think they're unused pieces of sawed-off decking. Anyway, she happily gave them to me to be used for this year's mantel décor. Here's what I did:
1. Sand the edges - because splinters suck the Christmas spirit right out of you.
2. Using a pencil, freehand sketch the block letters - I'm a wing-it kind of girl.
3. Then using any paint you like, paint the negative space, leaving the woodgrain letter unpainted.