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

By David Showalter

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

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Every once in a while, I mail a color postcard to local businesses showing a recent sign project and reminding them that we’re here to serve them. This job was the result of one of those mailings. The prospect called to comment on the sandblasted sign shown on the postcard, then mentioned that he needed a sign to advertise some property he had for sale.

Materials (excluding markup):

One 4-by-8 sheet of 1⁄2-in. double-sided overlaid plywood: $92

1 qt. acrylic latex primer: $18

1 qt. 1Shot enamel: $53

22 ft. high-performance vinyl: $61

Miscellaneous: $18

Total materials: $242

Total labor: About 2 1⁄2 hours

It turned out that a double-faced 4-by-8 was in order. I chose the dark green background because the sign is going in a shaded area. Against the dark background, the white copy will have a little extra impact in the shade. He mentioned that he has another piece of property to sell later, so I decided to use a panel for “7 Wooded Acres” so it could be easily changed.

David Showalter’s shop, David Design, is in Bryan, Ohio.

This appeared in the March/April 2005 issue of SignCraftPrices have been adjusted for inflation.

Create layout: 15 minutes

I did a rough sketch for Jamie, and he did the layout in our Gerber Graphix Advantage software. We chose the colors and fine-tuned the layout. I was trying to keep costs down, so we kept things simple.

Prep and paint panel: 10 minutes

We seal the edges of our overlaid plywood signs with DAP 35-yr. caulk. Once it’s dry, I trim off the extra sealant with a razor blade by just sliding it along the face.

Prime panel: 15 minutes

Nick primed both sides of the 1⁄2-in. overlaid plywood with latex exterior primer.

Apply finish coat: 15 minutes

A finish coat of 1Shot dark green enamel was rolled on to both sides of the panel.

Lay out design and tape off panel: 20 minutes

The color bar for “7 Wooded Acres” would be painted light green, so we taped it off.

Paint light green portions: 25 minutes

We cut a mask for OR, applied and weeded it, then painted that and the color bar light green.

Cut and weed vinyl: 25 minutes

Next, we cut and weeded the green and white Gerber high-performance vinyl film.

Apply vinyl: 25 minutes

Once the light green bar was dry, the vinyl application went quickly.

David Showalter's shop, David Design, is in Bryan, Ohio.