What’s it cost to produce this 12-by-24-ft. sign?

By Gord Colenutt

Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023

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Late last summer, a client asked me to produce this off-site sign to advertise his body shop. It was a big job, but with some planning, preparation, and a well-organized workspace, it went smoothly.

Materials (excluding markup):

9 sheets of 1⁄2-in. overlaid plywood @ $88 ea.: $792

Exterior putty and four sanding discs: $4

Masking tape, 4-in.application tape: $4

One-half gallon black 1-Shot enamel: $66

1 quart primrose yellow 1-Shot: $41

2 foam rollers: $7

1 paint tray: $1

30-in. Avery A7 vinyl film: $199

24-in. Avery A7 vinyl film: $99

Application tape: $74

Man lift rental: $177

Misc. fasteners: $15

Total materials: $1479


Prep faces: 45 min.

Masking: 5 min.

Painting: 130 min.

Cut vinyl: 60 min.

Assemble: 15 min.

Apply vinyl: 210 min.

Load and install: 120 min.

Total time: 9 hrs. 45 min.

Having the right tools and the right help sure makes a big difference, too! I often work by myself, but I asked James Gibb of James Gibb Signs to step in and help me with applying the vinyl lettering and installing this fairly large sign.

Gord Colenutt’s shop, Colenutt Signs, is in Essex, Ontario, Canada.

This appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of SignCraft. While the prices have been adjusted for inflation, they may not accurately reflect current pricing for such signage.


Prep faces: 45 minutes

I started off by sanding the face and puttying all the holes.

Masking: 5 minutes

Next, I quickly apply mask to tape off the portion of the panels that will be painted black.

Paint faces and edges: 75 minutes

After painting the faces and edges black, I let the panels dry overnight.

Tape and paint: 55 minutes

Before painting the yellow portions, I wipe off the panels and tape off the black portions.

Cut vinyl: 60 minutes

Then I fired up both of my vinyl cutters, the 24-in. Gerber FasTrack 650 and the 30-in. Roland VersaCAMM to cut the film.

Apply vinyl: 3.5 hours

This part of the job was straightforward—just larger than the typical sign project—and was done with Avery A7 vinyl film.

Load and install: 2 hours

We loaded up the panels and installation tools, hooked up the man lift, and went out to install the sign. We worked right to left, putting the bottom panel on first.

The finished sign