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Blog posts of '2017' 'February'

Painted Wooden signs: Choose a Color for Each Application

Wooden signs are the oldest type of them all. There are two main versions. Those that are not painted in color, meaning that all the lines of the wood are seen (these signs are protected from the elements) and painted wooden signs. When a sign is painted in a specific color, it becomes completely purpose-made. Obviously, paint for wood is used. But each hue has a meaning and it is recommended for just one application.

White Color

White wooden signs are the oldest. They are still treated as elegant and designed to be implemented in the areas with the same definitions. A far more important is that they can be used as family signs, or as those for coffee houses, restaurants and etc. However, a unique application is the ability to use these signs for health-related business. The White color is relaxing and it increases confidence. It simply gives the impression of the purity!

Green Color

Green painted wooden signs can be divided into two categories. Those in bright and those with darker green colors. Darker signs are reserved for well-known families, and they are very popular in the United Kingdom. There, dark green color is treated as a national color and even used in motor-racing. Bright green color is completely different. It is modern and intuitive, meaning that the signs should be perfectly balanced between the rich heritage and a special purpose. Even today, they are commonly used for technology-related business. But, signs in this color are made also from metal and plastics. The latest models are made from glass.

Red Color

Red painted wooden signs are extraordinary and rare. They are not suitable for families or homes. This means that they are related to passion, so they are used in business and by those who want to add an accent on this matter. On the other hand, they are also linked to love and positive emotions! Most dating business will use them. In addition, the red color is also used in signs made for flower-related business. It actually promotes the business and makes it look much better and passionate.

Blue Color

Now we have wooden signs painted in blue color. In any single case, they are designed to be as simple as possible, but still send a direct message. In the past, they were used by car mechanics, transportation businesses, and equivalent, everyday business providers. Today, they are still used for the same applications, but there is one exception. Blue wooden signs are also popular for lawyers and law firms.

The painted wooden signs also come in different colors, and they cannot be generalized. However, the colors we mentioned here are the most common ones and these signs can be easily found. Their roots come from the first wooden signs ever made. They were made to have an original purpose, usually in the house or a business. A beautiful thing is that the heritage is still the same, and the same color-purpose connection is used.

Needed tips when it comes to custom building signs

What are custom building signs? They are signs, especially made for a specific client who will place them on a building. Maybe their role sounds simple, but they are actually extremely important nowadays. They are simply mandatory for all types of business. All experienced business owners will tell you that a building sign is the best way to get more clients or customers. It is a permanent advertisement that all people should use.

Another fact to remember is that custom building signs come in a variety of shapes, features, and design. The word custom means that you can choose anything you want. The most popular are so-called futuristic building signs. They are made to stand out from the crowd and to make your business look completely different. The colors are usually bright, symbols are extraordinary and the shape itself is different. When choosing one of these signs, some tips are very important.

Tips you are going to need

The first tip and therefore the most important one is the shape of a sign. It must be different than all your competitors have. Why? It is used to attract people to your business. If a sign is the same as all other competitors in the neighborhood, the marketing result will be poor. People want to see new things and they are likely to try something that looks unique. Important: Business related to graphic design must pay a special attention to their building signs, due to the fact they reflect their skills.

Neon or standard is another choice to take into account. Neon signs aren’t always the best advertise. They are linked to technology-related business, and they are simply specific. This also means that using one to promote some other kind of business, such as a law firm, won’t be very useful. Standard, not-glowing signs are a much better option. They are treated as the most effective kind. The main reason is in the look itself. People will think your sign is elegant, which reflects your business in the same manner. The best tip here is to use modern design and fresh colors. Black and white aren’t an alternative here.

No maintenance should be one of the priorities. If you get a sign that requires a lot of attention and common repairs, you will be in a problem. Repairs for neon signs are not as expensive as the labor, you must pay!  If we add the fact that most of them are placed high above the ground, you can understand why. Always choose those with no maintenance at all. It simply means that they are 100% resistant to the elements and that they are made to last. They also should have a protective layer which will protect the material from the moisture.

The material itself is important. It should be something durable. Wood isn’t an option either, but glass is. More and more people choose glass as the main element for their signs. 

Making a Masterpiece with EL Wire Neon Sign DIY kit

EL wire is the latest hit in the world of lighted signs. It is easy to use, extremely durable and more than just affordable. Even better, it comes in a variety of colors and sizes. It is useful because it allows you to write anything you want and transfer into a sign. However, a few more items will be needed. EL Wire Neon Sign DIY kit includes:

  •         An acrylic piece of a board. The size depends on the quote you want.
  •         EL wire kit in the color you prefer. Usually, 30 feet are enough for 15 medium-sized characters.
  •         Drill and ¼ drill bits.
  •         Duct tape.
  •         Super glue.
  •         Dry erase marker.

First step:

Print the quote you prefer and use a marker to dry it on the board. Be careful, but don’t try too hard. There are a lot of ways to do this, even using Microsoft Word to create a pattern which will help you to transfer the quote on the board.

Second step:

Drill holes at specific positions. In essence, you will have to use EL wire kit to write the letters you want. Each letter should have entering and exiting point. Points where EL wire enters the board and exits. Always secure at the back side the wire with the duct tape. Secure it in many places as you can.

Third step:

Use the super glue in order to secure the power pack of the EL wire kit. Keep in mind that it should be secured at all conditions, so you can even try something new in order to secure it properly.

Important facts to consider

Using the EL Wire Neon Sign DIY kit is very simple. As you can see, no more than 30 minutes are needed, in order to create an amazing sign that is simply perfect in any way. However, there are some things to consider. The first one is the flexibility of the EL wire. A bigger one, 5mm cannot be used to make 90 degrees angles. A smaller one, 2.5mm can be bent more, but it still cannot be used for 90 degrees angles. This is the main reason why most EL wire signs are straightforward. If you force the wire into forming a shape it cannot, you will get a black spot. It is a huge issue that may compromise the entire appearance of the sign.

Some letters are more complicated to write, such as K. It requires 4 holes and it is still very hard to get properly. There are only two possibilities. The first one is to practice, a lot, on the old acrylic board and the second one is to use superglue in order to force the EL wire into the desired position. Using the glue is a permanent alternative, so it should be taken lightly into consideration.

The end part is the placing the sign on the wall. You can create simple holders at the back and hang it, or you can use fixings in order to place it on the wall, permanently. 

Make a DIY Lighted Sign Box in Less Than 30 Minutes

It is quite easy to make a cardboard lighted sign box. You may believe that this is an expensive and a time-consuming process, but it simply doesn’t have to be with a little creativity! You will need less than 30 minutes and some patience. When we talk about money, you will need less than $10! Still, the best part is the level of fun, this activity has to offer and the freedom, you as a creator has.  Please note that a DIY Lighted Sign Box made per below is meant to be a temporary decoration and/or made to be turned on when you are around – it is NOT UL listed like all of the lightbox signs that we sell here at www.diysignsupply.com and it is definitely not made for “exterior” applications.  With that being said here is how you can do it!

The DIY lighted sign box process requires the following steps:

  1.      Needed materials

All materials you will need are simple and easy to find. In general, you will need cardboard (or posterboard), a plastic sheet – can be plexiglass, polycarbonate, acrylic, or whatever you find around your house, colored paper, glue and etc. In addition, you must use lights, but even Christmas lights can be useful. Of course, for the best effect, you should use LEDs.

  1.      Choose the motto or the word

Once you have done it, print the word you want on a cardboard. Use the scalpel to cut it out and to make a cardboard see-through. Paint the cardboard with a spray. It takes less than 30 minutes to get dry, therefore it is a quick process. Then, we will need the plastic we mentioned. Acrylic plastic is the best choice and highly recommended. Place it on one side and a paper, also in color on the opposite side. Glue them together.

  1.      Create a housing box

DIY lighted sign box requires a simple housing. It can be made from cardboard as well. Simply make a square or a shape you prefer from this material. Add reinforce elements in the edges. The depth can vary, but usually, it should be at least 6” to allow the light to spread out evenly.  It can be more shallow if it is a small sign.

  1.      Add lights

Adding the lights isn’t as complicated as you may believe. In a matter of fact, it is a very simple process. Just take a straight piece of cardboard and drew holes in it. Use smaller pieces of cardboard to lift it from the lower side. Cut the small hole at the back for the light’s cable. Place the lights in these holes you just drilled. Put the power cable through the hole you just made, and that’s it. Plug it in, and you will see the lights on.

  1.      Add the sign we made earlier

On the front cover cardboard (the one that goes above the lights) cut a place to insert the sign itself we made it at the beginning. You can use tape of craft paper to secure it into place. This is the last step. After that, you can plug it in and see how the sign actually looks.

Important facts to remember

Keep in mind that the color of plastic and the color of the paper you use will determine the color of the sign itself. There are plenty of colors to use in order to paint the front cardboard, but we recommended spray, simply because it is the fastest to dry. Also, Christmas lights are the most affordable and the simplest choice, you can choose, but LEDs are still the best choice. 

How to Make Wooden Signs: The Easiest Method

Making wooden signs has a lot of benefits. It is fun, interesting and it can be profitable. This action also relaxes you, so it has more benefits than most people believe. Nevertheless, the main goal is to improve the look of your house, garage, farm or anything you want to promote. If you want to know how to make wooden signs you should pay attention to the points below. This is the simplest and the best result-delivering technique. It is also the quickest.

  1.      Sand the piece of wood you are going to use

Wooden signs are made of natural plant material, obviously.  As with any natural materials there are imperfections that must be smoothed out.  Before starting any finishing the wood must be sanded. Use different types of sandpapers for the best results.  Start with the roughest grade such as a 60 grit and move towards a fine sandpaper such as a 200 grit – depending on how “finished” you want your homemade DIY wooden sign to look. Always be sure to sand the edges as well as an unsanded edge will not go unnoticed.  Once you are done sanding, make sure you remove all debris with a piece of cloth. If you don’t remove all of the debris and dust, the next step will be compromised.

  1.      Paint the wood with a stain or paint

Paint or stain your sign with any color you desire.  Whether you choose paint or stain really depends on the look you are going for.  For example, if you use paint it may be white, red, blue or any you prefer.  Stains tend to show the grain of the wood more than paint, and historically stains have been limited in color, however, a number of colored stains have recently been released by Minwax specifically, and you would be surprised at the number of choices there are nowadays.  Whether you choose stain or paint, double check that the particular stain or paint you have chosen is specifically designed for wood. Paint for metal is different.  When you paint the wood, leave it to get dry for 60 minutes, or more if the paint is specific.

3.       Protect the wood with special paint or sealer.

Each type of stain or paint you choosed includes a specific way to protect the wood.  If you choose a wood stain then you will typically need to seal the wood to protect the color, especially if you decide to keep it outdoors.  You can choose a clear or tinted sealer, and you can always choose what kind of “sheen” you want – ranging from a flat or stain sheen all of the way up to a glossy sheen.  If you have painted the sign the most common way to project the piece of wood is to choose a paint that is suitable for the environment where the sign will be installed – if it is an exterior sign make sure that the paint used is exterior grade, or the same applies for an interior sign.  Your wooden sign should always include some sort of protection to ensure that your sign will last for years.  When it is done, make sure it dries in 60 minutes (longer if the temperature is low) and then move to the next step.

  1.      Print on your computer logo or text you want

This is a simple, but the most important point. Once you have printed the sign, cut out the letters and symbols. Place it on the wood and glue it with duct tape. Use a large brush and the preferred color to paint the paper and therefore paint the wood. Don’t remove the paper right away. Leave it to get dry for 60 minutes. After that, remove the paper (carefully) and check the sign. Note: Cutting letters and symbols on the paper is complicated and requires a lot of precision. You can go to the special stores where they can use machines to cut out the letters and symbols. It is a more accurate way.

  1.      Protection, again

No matter where you are going to place the sign you just made, make sure the paint and the letters are protected. Use a clear seal (again in whatever sheen you prefer) to get the best effect and the look that you are going for.

One item to note:

Use a soft brush. Old and hard brushes can damage the paper and therefore damage the sign itself. Then, always use paint that has been properly diluted with a special substance.

How to Make Rustic Wood Signs: Is it Difficult or Extremely Easy?

Rustic wood signs have a huge respect in the world. They also cause a huge admiration. Why? They are elegant, look vintage and they are different than all other signs you can buy or make. Due to the original design and look, you may believe that making rustic wood signs is extremely complicated, or even impossible. Maybe you think that you should make one and expose it to the elements in order to get that, rustic look. Actually, both beliefs are wrong. If you want to how to make rustic wood signs you should follow these simple steps.

  1.      Get pine board

This is the best material for rustic wood signs. It is soft enough to allow you to customize it as you want, but it is durable as well. The first step is the same as in other cases. Sand the pine board. As usual, use rough and then soft sand paper. Once this step is completed, wipe it with a piece of cloth.

  1.      Paint it

This is probably the most important step here! You will need a brush and stain or paint. Carefully paint it. Make sure you apply thin layers to the board. Then, use the cloth to wipe the excess stain. This is the secret on how to make the sign look rustic! By wiping the excess stain, you create an old look, like when the board is exposed to the elements for a longer period of time. The more you wait, darker the color will be. You can simply decide on this fact, all by yourself. Note: If you make a mistake and want to repeat the process, leave the board to get dry and then remove the paint with sandpaper.

  1.      Import the letters

Print the letters on a piece of paper. Place the paper on the pipe board and use a ball point pen to imprint the letters and symbols on the wood. Make sure you spend a lot of time in order to get a precise and error-free look. It is useful to use painter’s tape to stick the paper on the board.

  1.      Add hangers

Depending on the size of your sign, you will need between 1 and 3 hangers. One of them always must be in the center, if a sign has a square shape. Add more hangers if needed.

  1.      Paint the letters

Use a small brush (art style) in order to paint all the symbols. Be careful and precise. Also, don’t worry if you make tiny mistakes. They won’t be seen from a distance. When done, place a sign to get dry and you are done.

Now you know how to make rustic wood signs. The procedure is the same for all sub-types. You can make countless modifications, styles, and additions. Just make sure to use pipe board (it is soft and durable) and to wipe the excess paint with a cloth. If not, you will get a generic look.

How to Make Outdoor Wooden Signs Weatherproof

Outdoor wooden signs are ideal for all homes and business, but they have one drawback. Unless properly protected, they will be ruined by the elements. Sun can damage the wood and color, water can cause wood deterioration and moisture can cause rot. All of this means that if you have or want a wooden sign to be used outside, some prevention techniques are mandatory!

Type of Wood will Determine the Result

Maybe you cannot choose the type of wood a sign is going to be made from, but if you can, make sure you choose it properly. Red cedar, redwood, and oak are the best choices of wood for outdoor signs.  These are all hardwood and have a greater ability to protect from water intrusion and from deterioration from the elements.  If you choose them and you pay attention to the thickness of a sign, you will get a high-quality sign with a perfect capability to be used outdoors. These types of wood are the most resistant and they are even immune to rot.

If you already have a wooden sign that is made from another type of wood, don’t lose hope. There are a lot of additional things you can do.

The Steps You Should Take in Making a Wooden Sign Weatherproof

The first thing you will have to do if you want to protect a sign from the elements is to sand it. By doing this, you will remove all the impurities and the damages that can cause further issues. Use wood putty if you think it is needed. Holes, bigger damages, and even scratches must be treated and resolved. Outdoor wooden signs cannot have a single damage or a hole, due to the fact rotting will start there as it is an entry point for moisture or insects.

The water-repellent preservative is the next step you should take. Keep in mind that you need the one that is specially made for wood and it can guarantee the best water repelling. Another thing to remember is that you must choose the one that will allow for you to paint it (if desired).

Now, the paint comes into action. Here, two things are mandatory as well. The first one is the type of paint. It must be for outdoor use, so make sure you buy that type only! Another factor is that the paint must be for wood. There is paint for metal, ceramics, plastics and etc., but it isn’t suitable for wood. If you make a mistake with the paint, you won’t be able to paint a sign and even if you do, the paint will crack and look rough.  If you use the wrong type of paint you will have to re-sand the entire sign or will have to risk constant peeling.

Using the wood sealer is the next step. Apply 2 coats and make sure they are not too thick. One you are done, leave it to get dry.

The last step is very important as well. We highly recommend using plastic edge caps. They are immune to the moisture and water, but they look amazing and they can even make a sign better. We recommend them because water will off of on the edges for a longer period of time, so they are the most sensitive part of a sign. 

How to Determine the Age of Vintage Wooden Signs

Vintage wooden signs are the most expensive type of signs, available on the market right now. Some of them may reach astronomic price tags and some are extremely rare to find. Sadly, there are a lot of fake signs that are usually produced in China in order to mimic the vintage design. It is crucial to know how to determine the actual age. Keep in mind that there are some copies that look very realistic, but they are not vintage!

Where to Look

We will start with the simple observation. A real, vintage sign will have an emblem or a logo somewhere, usually on the back of it. These logos are larger and rougher than modern ones, so they are easy to notice. Back in the ages, each company had a unique logo, which had to be imprinted on all products. If there is not a single logo or mark, a sign may be fake! Vintage wooden signs were important in the past, so they were made by professionals.

There are no two same signs! Due to low-end technology capabilities, vintage signs are unique. Each one is slightly different and each one has a few specific characteristics. If you find 2 or three signs vintage wooden signs that have exactly the same dimensions, chances are high that they are fake. In addition, real, vintage signs have standard dimensions that are usually 4x8, 4x4 or 4x12 feet. The situation is the same when it comes to their shape. Only the simplest shapes were used, so don’t look for vintage signs that look different.

Brush strokes are easy to see. Modern signs are painted by robots and with sprays. The second kind, those painted with a brush require soft and delicate brushes so brush strokes are not visible. All vintage signs have them! The brushes used back then were rough and the paint was suitable for brush strokes. This is simply a must-have, and it can help you in determining that a sign is really old. However, it cannot help you determine how old it is.

All vintage signs are different when it comes to the aging. They aged naturally, not evenly, which also helps you determine their true origin. Signs that are made to look like vintage, have been treated with acid in order to look old. When this happens, a sign will be evenly treated, meaning that the complete surface will look the same. Vintage wooden signs age unevenly, simply because the sun and the elements affect different parts of them. As such, the paint will be degraded on specific places, and minor damages will be visible. Fake signs don’t have damages!

The wood used to make these signs is almost always oak. However, there are some additional wood types, but they are rare. What is important is that the signs made from bamboo or from a pine board cannot be vintage. These materials haven’t been used back then and they are reserved for newer signs.