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

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

Labor:
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.

I worked from a thumbnail sketch that I was given that was basically a round design on the square panel. I opted to go with an interesting sign shape with a lot of dimension. The original sketch included “www” in front of the store’s web address, which is something that doesn’t really need to be on any sign. There’s only one World Wide Web, so there’s no need to include that in front of a primary web address on someone’s sign.

When a sign will be seen primarily by viewers who are walking past it, having a lot going on in the design can help grab their attention. You want the sign to look a lot different from the signs they see every day along the highway. If you can create interest at that point, they’re much more likely to walk into the store to see what’s going on inside.

Dayna Reed

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 SignCraft.com. You’ll find more of his work online at SignArtSigns.com and DaynaReed.com.


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