What’s it cost to produce this 4-by-4-ft. dimensional sign?

By Mark Kramer

Posted on Saturday, August 5th, 2023

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This client came in with a general idea of the look they wanted. We produced a layout in FlexiSign software then submitted the artwork and quote for approval. That first step took about 90 minutes.


41-by-50-in. 13mm white PVC: $78

24-by-24-in. 13mm black PVC: $50

32-by-32-in. 3mm ACM: $43

Lettering enamels: $43

3M VHB tape: $14

Silicone adhesive, additional hardware: $16

Total materials: $244


Design and layout: 1 hr. 30 min.

Router cut graphics: 1 hr. 30 min.

Painting: 4 hr. 30 min.

Install routed parts: 1 hr. 30 min.

Customer consultation: 30 min.

Total labor: 9 hrs. 30 min.

Once we got the go-ahead, we set up the router files and began cutting the PVC board and Dibond aluminum composite panels on the Gerber Sabre 408 CNC router. Beveled edges are easy with a 130-degree router bit and add dimension in minutes. Router-cut graphics make projects like this quite practical when it is time for the final assembly.

We primed the PVC panels using Frog Juice and painted using 1Shot lettering enamels with a little hardener added. Airbrushed gradients, shadows and highlights were used to add dimension and energy to the final arrangement.

The photo reference for the pictorial was provided by the client. We projected the image onto the panel, sketched it and then got out the brushes and enamel. The pictorial could have easily been printed out on the digital printer, but we try to keep the brushes wet when given the opportunity!

The letters, pictorial and banner were adhered to the background using 3M VHB tape and silicone adhesive. The spacers were attached. Once all adhesives had dried, the banner was fastened to the pictorial with screws from the back so no hardware was visible. The end result is a much cleaner finish. The final installation of the sign will require anchors mounted into the stone wall on which it will hang.

With the sign assembly finished, the brushes come out again for final pinstripes around the banner and frame. Overall time on production of the sign is right around 9 hours.

Mark Kramer’s shop, Vital Signs, Inc., is in Verona, Wisconsin.

This appeared in the March/April 2009 issue of SignCraft. While the prices have been adjusted for inflation, they may not accurately reflect current pricing for such signage.

Router cut panels and lettering: 90 minutes

Painting: 90 minutes

Paint the pictorial: 150 minutes

Bond routed components: 45 minutes

Final assembly: 45 minutes

Paint borders and pinstripe frame: 30 minutes