View Full Version : In over my head, sign ideas?

Michael McDuffie
08-10-2005, 8:53 PM
The sales director of a local retirement home had me make a sign from LaserLights. A simple thing 2 by 7 inches with 4 lines of Times New Roman.

He just told me that he believes that I have the artistic ability to put in a proposal for the new exterior signage. I have no artistic ability. None. But I sure would like this job. I looked around and most of the signs in the area, including theirs are sand blasted wood.

My first thoughts are a similar sized wood sign with the new logo cut from corian or acrylic and the text cut from foam. The physical construction of a sign wonít be a problem but since Iíve never done anything like this before I donít know how to pick materials that will weather well. The signs face due West to the Puget Sound. Shoot, I donít even know where to get foam. And then comes pricing. They have at least four signs that are 3 feet by 6 or there about.

Iím going to reread Patrick Spielman's Making Wood Signs.


PS, one of my seven customers is working on an order that could mean at least $100,000!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Rodne Gold
08-11-2005, 12:37 AM
You will have an EXTREMELY durable sign if you use acrylic and formica ,you get the formica in about a zillion finishes including about 10 various woods , you can mix inlays with acrylic cut letters or even cut acrylic letters and clad them with formica for a wood on wood effect. Use either 22mm sign board or 6 mm acrylic as backing for it all. Normally the "driftwood/carved wood" signs are high density sign foams that are sandblasted and painted. Corian is a bugger to cut and is expensive , formaica is REAL cheap , costs us about $10 per sq meter or less and is easily laser cut and if it lasts for years on kitchen surfaces will do the same outside. Take your material costs and x it by 5-8 to get a rough idea of pricing , add in rigging (fitting the sign). Be careful of rigging , it can cost as ton if you have to get up high and get scaffolidng or a cherry picker.

Kate Raap
08-16-2005, 2:13 PM
Well I just read this post. First of all be careful what you get into and make sure you can answer every question because there are sometimes requirements that come into play. Such as before hanging the sign most of the time they need a permit.
Next double make sure you know that the product is outdoor weatherable. And whatever you put on the sign for paint is just as long outdoor weatherable. There were some city signs done in the town I'm from not that long ago, maybe two or three years. They were done on mdf and painted and then clear coated. Well guess what, clear coat over paint cracks in the sun. Then underneath that they never really took the time to find good paint because that all faded. So we have the job now, and they wanted us to just fix the signage. Well that thought didn't last, we actually made new signs for the same price it would have cost to fix the old.
Ok the next thing is I'm sure you have a way to cut the sign foam?
A good source of the foam is called Gator Foam on line they will help you find a local supplier. We use the stuff all the time. It can be sandblasted, routered or hand carved. My suggestion to you would be to outsource. Try to read more about signage if you really want to get into it. Its definately not a jump into thing. They are a lot of here and there questions to answer. Try checking out signs101.com or letterville.com You can find a lot of helpful people and even get some good ideas for signs. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask me. I'll help out anytime I can.

Keith Outten
08-16-2005, 3:43 PM

I agree that Corian is expensive to purchase but I have found it to be one of the least expensive materials to use for small to mediium size exterior signs. My time on most projects is less when I use Corian and I don't need to worry about exterior coatings. Small signs can be laser engraved and filled with paint or better yet colored caulk. Your sign will be almost maintenance free...your customer will like that :)

Corian cuts well on a table saw, jig saw, band saw and routes like wood with any carbide bit.

Brent Brod
08-17-2005, 6:08 AM

Small signs can be laser engraved and filled with paint or better yet colored caulk.


What type of caulk are you using? Silicon latex or pure silicon?


George M. Perzel
08-17-2005, 8:41 AM
Hi Mike;
I'm not in the sign making business but a friend asked me to make a sign for her new gift shop. See result below-approx 33 x 22 ", same on both sides as it hangs from a bracket. Made of 3 pieces of cedar, backgrounds engraved on laser separtly, painted with acrylic, and then joined with biscuits. Letters and trim laser cut from 1/4" central american "teak"-glued and pinned on cedar and whole thing sprayed with 3 coats of poly. Fun project and great demand for "creative" signs in this area. Good Luck