What’s it cost to produce this double-faced 4-by-8-ft. sign?

By Steve Mysse

Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2022

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When this customer stopped in, I could tell he was looking for something more than your basic 4-by-8 sign. He’s a farmer and runs an excavating and hauling business as a sideline. I knew the sign would be in place for a long time, so in addition to wanting to put together an interesting design, I also wanted to build a sign that would stand up to the elements.

Materials (excluding markup):

3 sheets of aluminum-faced
plywood at $201 ea:. $603

Two 4×4 posts at $20 ea.: $402

CNC router-cut truck shapes at $25 ea.: $50

Vinyl film and Gerber Edge foils: $45

Paint, hardware, and adhesive: $15

Total: $753

Labor:

Sales/sketch: 120 min.

Prep for routing and cut: 30 min.

Cut blanks and sand edges: 45 min.

Prime and paint panel edges: 45 min.

Prep, prime and paint posts: 60 min.

Mask and paint panels: 60 min.

Gerber Edge print: 45 min.

Cut, weed and tape vinyl: 60 min.

Apply vinyl: 90 min.

Assemble panels: 45 min.

Miscellaneous setup and cleanup: 45 min.

Total: 10 hours, 45 minutes

When this customer stopped in, I could tell he was looking for something more than your basic 4-by-8 sign. He’s a farmer and runs an excavating and hauling business as a sideline. I knew the sign would be in place for a long time, so in addition to wanting to put together an interesting design, I also wanted to build a sign that would stand up to the elements.

I often use Omega LusterBoard as a substrate for jobs like this. It is a plywood panel with a prefinished aluminum face on both sides.

I like the idea of using panels and overlays to enhance a design. I started with a clip art cartoon for the overlay and made a few modifications to it. I really wanted the bright green main copy to stand out, so I masked the copy before rolling on the black background. Then I peeled the mask and applied the green vinyl over the white. This prevented the black from showing through the vinyl and making it darker.

I finished both panels in about eleven production hours. The customer picked them up and installed them a few days later. Now the sign is out doing its job.

Steve Mysse’s shop, Sign & Design, is in Billings, Montana.

This appeared in the November/December 2006 issue of SignCraft. The prices have been adjusted for inflation.

Sales/sketch: 120 minutes

Cut blanks and sand edges: 45 minutes

Prime and paint panel edges: 45 minutes

Prep, prime and paint posts: 60 minutes

Cut, weed and tape vinyl: 60 minutes

Assemble panels: 45 minutes

Apply vinyl: 90 minutes