By Mike Piekarski

Ever since she can remember, Nicole Dodds has had an artistic bent. “I’ve been crafting since I was little,” she said, “(for example,) making, like, snowmen lights out of vases.” So, it’s no wonder that Dodds, 30, is now the owner of a business, 2MamasCreations, which makes custom-made wooden signs and specialized products such as embellished mugs, wine glasses, canvas totes and shirts.


Dodds, a mother of two who works from her home in Hoosick Falls but who lists Latham as her business address, started the company in 2017 along with her friend Paige. When Paige, a Latham resident, decided to go back to school last year and was unable to devote enough time to the venture, Dodds continued on by herself.


Though she has been the lone “mama” running the company since September, she decided to keep the original name. The main thrust of the business—wooden signs—is Dodds’ specialty. And her tool of choice is the circular saw. “One day I decided I wanted to try it. I watched YouTube videos, and I picked up a (circular) saw and fell in love with it.”


That was five years ago. Two years later, she and Paige each purchased Cricut (pronounced “cricket”) machines, which they used to make gifts for their family members. (The machines look like desktop printers but use a blade instead of ink and cut material such as wood, vinyl, paper and fabric.) Dodds focused on using vinyl stencils and wood to make small signs. Soon after, the pair decided to start their own company. “I go on Pinterest a lot and pick up ideas, and some come to me on my own,” Dodds said. “I see something and (think), ‘Maybe I want to try that.’”


2MamasCreations signs showcase slogans, quotations, expressions of love and NFL logos among many designs, and Dodds customizes orders. On her website, wooden signs proclaim such phrasing as “She Believed She Could So She Did,” “Dream Without Fear Love Without Limits” and “If Our Dogs Don’t Like You, We Probably Won’t Either.”


The signs are in cursive, block or uppercase-lowercase lettering and include floral embellishments or other designs. Depending on the amount of work involved, the cost of the items ranges from $4 to $100, though the wooden signs are generally $35 or $45. For the latter, Dodds uses her circular saw to cut large pieces of wood to the proper size, be it 17 inches round, 12 inches by 12 inches, or something smaller.


The next step involves vinyl. “I buy a big roll of stencil vinyl, usually a 150-foot roll,” Dodds said. “I create the design and (digitally) put it through the cutting machine.” When the vinyl cuttings are completed, she places clear transfer tape over the stencil and positions it over the wood before the Cricut makes the appropriate carvings. When the cuts are done, Dodds clears out the debris and paints the stencil, which she then removes from the wood to prevent the paint from “bleeding” onto the carving. With drying time, the process takes about two hours.

Over the past few years, a major part of the business has been wooden-sign-making parties
for both adults and children. For those, “I bring the supplies,” Dodds said. “I cut the stencils ahead of time, and I bring them to someone’s house to make stencils (on the wood). There are usually 10 to 15 people at
the parties, which typically last two and a half to three hours.” For a children’s party, “you let the kids paint their background, and they pick the colors or designs. If parents want their kid’s name on (the sign), for girls, I usually do the letters in cursive, and for boys, I usually do block letters.”


One attraction of the company’s sign-making parties for adults is the hostess bag, in which Dodds includes a wine glass or coffee mug “or whatever they want, and I personalize it with their name or whatever they want on it.” Dodds has about 150 designs in stock, not including those she can custom-create, such as, for example, replicating a loved one’s handwriting to construct a special memento. At 2MamasCreations, the pace really picks up before holidays, especially the big one in December. “This past Christmas, I had over 600 orders,” Dodds said. “(Completing the requests) was time-consuming. I worked from 8 in the morning to 3 in the morning just to get the orders done.”


Currently, she said, “I’m getting wood-sign orders for anniversary gifts and from campers—people want them (to display) their camp name.”

Not surprisingly, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, business has slowed. Dodds said she has
parties booked for the latter part of this year, “but it’s up in the air.”

The company can be reached by phone at (518) 360-7737 or by email at 2MamasCreations1@gmail.com.