Prep and paint plywood and borders: 90 minutes I had the panel cut to shape on my supplier’s Shopbot CNC router. I primed and painted the panel then masked the border and painted it.
Here’s the completed panel, ready for graphics. I had also masked and painted the lighter green arched panel, and cut the two circular panels for their emblems.
I hand painted the inline border with 1 Shot enamel using a lettering quill.
Apply vinyl lettering: 45 minutes After cutting and weeding the Oracal 751 vinyl lettering for the sign, I applied the application tape then applied the lettering to the sign face.
Hand paint the drop shade: 30 minutes The final step was to hand letter a drop shade on the main copy using a lettering quill and 1 Shot enamel. I prefer the look it gives instead of using a vinyl shadow.

What’s it cost to produce this 72-by-44-in. overlaid plywood sign?

Cutting the plywood panel to shape adds interest

By John Deaton

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2018

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One sheet of ½-in. overlaid plywood: $60
Cutting charge: $25
White Oracal 751 film, 24-by-10-in.: $20
Digital prints: $10
Application tape: $6
Paint: $15
Posts: $22
Concrete: $5
Total materials: $163

Sand and paint plywood, paint borders: 90 minutes
Cut, weed, tape vinyl: 60 minutes
Apply vinyl: 45 minutes
Apply digital prints to plywood circles: 10 minutes
Paint shading: 30 minutes
Installation: 30 minutes
Travel time: 60 minutes
Total time: 6 hours 25 minutes
The county government needed a sign for a rescue squad building in a town about 22 miles from my shop. They wanted it installed on posts in front of the building instead of on the building itself. I use overlaid plywood [MDO] on almost all jobs of this type, so that’s the material we are using on this one.

Using the information given to me by my contact, I came up with a design and sent it via email to them. The job was approved and I put it into production. I have a friend who owns a woodworking shop about 45 minutes away who cuts out my overlaid plywood panels on his ShopBot router. He keeps overlaid plywood in stock, and I send him a .dxf file from the Vinylmaster Pro software that I use.

The plywood is preprimed, so after I pick up the panel, I do a light sanding, fill any voids in the edges with latex caulk, then apply two to three coats of semi-gloss exterior acrylic paint to the surface. Once dry, I usually paint the border of the sign by applying application tape around the edges. I used a tool to draw a line on the tape about two inches from the edge, then used a stencil knife to cut on that line.

I peeled off the border area then rolled on the border color, which also got two to three coats. This sign has two round panels with the squad logos on them that are attached to the main sign panel. I cut the circles from overlaid plywood, painted them, then attached them to the main sign. The squad logo was a digital print. I like to apply the prints after attaching so it hides the screw heads.

Once the sign was complete, we painted two 4×4 posts with three coats of exterior acrylic paint, then loaded up and drove to the site. We attached the sign to the posts, dug the holes, put the sign in the holes and poured in the concrete. A few touch-ups and this job was done.

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