What’s it cost to produce graphics for this illuminated sign?

By signcraft

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2022

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We did the graphics for this illuminated sign for a local furniture store that sends the bulk of their sign work to us. The project called for us to apply translucent vinyl film to both sides of an existing 8-by-16-ft. illuminated sign can with a pan-formed face.


60 ft. of 48-in. Oracal 8500 translucent film (two 10-yd. rolls) @ $212 per roll: $424

60 sq. ft. of black calendered vinyl film for text @ $1.36 per sq. ft.: $82

50 sq. ft. calendered black vinyl film for borders @ $1.36 per sq. ft.: $68

Bucket lift rental, $230 per day for two days: $460

Total: $1034


Create file in CorelDRAW: 1 hr.

Install yellow film to background: 4 hrs.

Install borders, trim background: 2 hrs.

Install lettering: 1 hr. 30 min.

Make pattern, plot/pounce: 1 hr.

Transfer pattern, cut out shape, install chair graphic: 2 hrs. 30 min.

Total: 12 hrs.

It was a big installation for two people in a bucket truck, 30 ft. in the air on a 100-degree day. I normally don’t apply graphics wet, but the best way to get these graphics installed without bubbles or other problems was to float them on.

The application consisted of three main steps: First we applied the background film and border, followed by the lettering. Then we hand cut the background film where the chair graphic would be installed. Finally the chair graphic was printed on clear cast vinyl and applied, so the white sign face material served as the outline and accents for the graphic.

Chris Lovelady’s shop, Vital Signs, is in Thomasville, Georgia.

This appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of SignCraft. Materials and other costs have been adjusted to current prices as of publication in December 2022.

Apply background and border film: 3 hours per side  We floated on the yellow background film in horizontal strips, starting at the bottom and working up, overlapping each about a quarter inch. We applied the black border-like pinstriping over the yellow, then trimmed the yellow, using the borders as a guide.

This close-up shows the overlap in the background film.

Apply lettering: 45 minutes per side  We positioned the lines of text and taped them in place along the top edge. To make the application easier, we cut the letters apart, leaving that top hinge in place, and applied the letters individually.

Apply pounce pattern: 10 minutes per side  Using the plotter to cut the outline for the chair graphic first would have made application difficult. So we transferred the outline shape, using a pounce pattern, then hand-cut it.

Remove the background for the graphic: 15 minutes per side  The outline of the chair graphic was cut by hand so that the yellow background could be removed in that area.


Weed background film: 5 minutes per side  The chair graphic could then be applied directly to the white sign face.

Apply graphic: 30 minutes per side  We used our Summa DC3 thermal printer to print the graphic onto translucent film, which we cut out and applied.