Rout two sign faces and accents: 60 minutes I routed the faces on my Gerber Sabre Dimension 200. It took another 60 minutes to shape candles and ornaments by hand on a belt sander. The center globe was also cut from HDU board.
Fabricate and paint the internal steel hanger: 60 minutes I like to use a hanger that is integrated into the sign rather than hooks that go into or through the sign face. There’s much less risk of failure.
Assemble the sign: 30 minutes I glued and clamped the accents, sides, frame and faces using Gorilla polyurethane glue and a spritz of water. Once it dried, it took about 30 minutes to sand the edges smooth.
Spray with polyester resin: 45 minutes This gives the sign a hard, smooth surface. I mix the two-part resin 1-to-1 then thin with lacquer thinner to spraying consistency. I spray it on then pull over all the flat surfaces with a foam brush to eliminate the dimples.
Rout logo elements and apply vinyl: 45 minutes I cut these from aluminum composite material [ACM] then bonded them to PVC board spacers using very high bond tape [VHB]. Doing the digital print on my Roland VersaCAMM VS-540i and cutting the vinyl for the ornaments took another 45 minutes.
Paint sign and apply vinyl: 120 minutes I finished the background with acrylic latex paint and graphics with Ronan Aquacoat water-based bulletin enamel then applied the vinyl film. I used RealGold 22k sign vinyl on Since 1997 and the ornaments.
Apply logo elements: 15 minutes I used silicone to bond the logo components to the sign.

What’s it cost to produce this 20-by-30-in. 3D hanging sign?

An internal bracket provides a stable, reliable installation

By Dayna Reed

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2016

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1-in HDU board — $120
ACM, PVC board, steel, etc — $40
Adhesives and paint — $10
Total materials — $170

Design/prep file — 30 minutes
Rout /shape HDU — 120 minutes
Fabricate hanger — 60 minutes
Assembly — 60 minutes
Spray resin — 45 minutes
Logo panel — 90 minutes
Finishing — 120 minutes
Final assembly — 15 minutes
Total time — 8.5 hours
This relatively small hanging sign was made for a store on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. They needed a cool 3D sign to catch the eye of the foot traffic in this very busy retail district. Sign is 20-by-30 in. overall.

I use a variety of small things that made the sign better—more interesting and more durable. I used an integral bracket and hid the hooks. I laminated the faces together to create the appearance of a single thick sign panel. I used digital printing on the graphics to keep the costs down. I also used standoffs to create layers to add more dimension and shadow.

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Dayna Reed’s shop, Sign Art Signs, is in Hood River, Oregon. His two DVDs, 3D Signs Made Easy and More Super Cool 3D Signs, are available at

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