HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SIGNS! It is possible to make professional looking signs for about one tenth the cost of having them made at a sign maker's.

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SIGNS! ...PLYWOOD SIGNS. These signs are very effective and last for years. When I finish a job, I always leave a small wooden sign on the lawn (unless the owner objects) fo a couple days afterwards.        People passing by notice the sign and then the little plugs on the lawn. It starts them thinking that they should have it done as well. These signs work well but are fairly expensive to have professionally made for you.

SO, MAKE YOUR OWN SIGNS! It is possible to make professional looking signs for about one tenth the cost of having them made at a sign maker's. It doesn't take a lot of artistic ability as you can use stencils, and the rest of the skills are basically coloring within the lines. First, you purchase a 4x8 sheet of 1/4" or 1/2" plywood [make sure it is good both sides which means that it has been sanded on bothsides and has no major faults]. Then, from your art store again you need to get a few supplies.

You will need a few sheets of oil board [this is a cardboard that has been oiled to prevent it from becoming soggy when it has been sprayed over and over again], a few spray cans of paint, a can of One Shot lettering paint, a small artists brush and some paint thinner. Of course you will need the stencils as well. I prefer the Roman style letters as they look richer and more professional than the regular letter styles. Old English is interesting but hard to read from a distance.

 Measure the sizing of the stencils to match the size of the signs you are making. Prime and paint both sides of the sheet in the color you want the background to be. Now you can cut the sheet into the sizes you want the signs to be. I would suggest you cut them to a size that you can have a master stencil easily made for. Don't forget to seal the edges with paint as well to prevent water seeping in. At this point you can start on your stencil.Arrange the letters on the master stencil [the oil board] in the wording you desire, then pencil in the outline of the letters.

You now have your sign laid out on the oil board in pencil so you can trace the lines with an sharp knife and cut out the letters [leaving of course the little connecting tabs so the letters don't fall out]. Now you have a master stencil that you can position on any number of surfaces and spray on a sign! However, at this stage the sign looks pretty amateurish as it looks like a cheap, stenciled sign.

Now all you need to do to produce a professional looking sign is to take your artist's brush, dip it in some of the same spray paint (in a cup) you used for the letters and fill in the connecting tabs to make the letters complete looking and eliminate that stenciled look. Have a rag handy to wipe away any over painting. Now you have finished a professional looking sign.

To add even more professionalism, I usually add a shadow. Put the stencil back on the [dried] sign, line up the letters again then move the stencil 1/4" to the lower left or lower right. Pencil in the parts of the letters that are still showing against the original painted plywood background. Then remove the stencil and fill in the penciled outlines with a darker colored One Shot lettering paint.   

  This produces a very expensive looking shadowed effect. Signs like this would cost several hundred dollars to have professionally made but the materials for making about 10 signs costs less than $75.00! I have made thousands of dollars over the years from my original $75.00 investment!

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