Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
Like many shops, Dennis Stanworth, Stanworth Signs, often gets requests for interior signs. Since these signs are seen at arm’s length, he wanted a way to fabricate them that gave a clean, professional look but was still practical to produce.
“I used to struggle to make interior signs look perfect, polished and professional. They were going to be seen up close, and I wanted them to look great. I finally figured out a way to fabricate flawless-looking interior signs—and I charge a premium for them.”
Dennis starts with a specific non-glare acrylic sheet from his sign supplier and uses cut vinyl for the graphics. The background color is easy, thanks to Krylon paint in a spray can.
“For the substrate,” Dennis says, “I use ¼-in. Optix NG Heavy Matte non-glare acrylic. A 4-by-8-ft. sheet at my local sign supply costs $170. I cut it down to size on the panel saw then use a router to finish the edges—we don’t want to see a saw-cut edge on an interior sign. I use a vacuum clamp system with a small pump on my homemade router table to finish the edges, but that’s for another article.
“Non-glare acrylic is often specified for signage by designers and architects, and it has a premium look. It is polished on one side and has a matte finish on the other. I use the matte side as the front surface of the sign face.”
Dennis paints the clear side of the acrylic panel to the desired color using Krylon spray paint. It took him a couple tries to figure this out, but found Krylon gives an even, spot-free coverage on the acrylic.
“I first use 220-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the polished side of the panel to improve adhesion,” Dennis says. “Next, I wipe it down thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol or another suitable cleaner to make sure it is dust free. Then I spray the back in an even pattern using overlapping strokes. I lay it down kind of heavy so that I don’t need a second coat.”
He applies the vinyl graphics to the front matte surface then installs the sign on MBS Standoffs. The result is a very professional, clean-looking interior sign that commands a premium price—but is affordable and practical to produce.