Help with making lawn signs

Hi. I would like to make a lawn wood sign like I have sign at boutiques. The signs may be for sports fans of certain football or baseball teams or holiday related. The sign post is 48" tall, 2 1/2" wide, 1" deep. The other pieces of wood that are screwed into the sign are 14" wide, 3" tall.
What would be the best wood to use for this project (however, not very expensive!)? What type of paint would hold up the best?
Thanks in advance! LL
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LP wrote:

I've had more problems with the stakes than with the signs but the idea is to seal or prime the wood with a good primer - use two coats, paint whatever you want with acrylic paint and then spray on a couple of coats of polyurethane. The polyurethane often yellows white paint but you might find a brand that will state that it "does not yellow white paint' on the label. You'll need to do the same for the stakes or they rot out in about a year. If I really like a sign I wash, Clorox, and repaint the stakes yearly.
Pine is good enough for 14" x 3" signs. You just have to be good about using the primer/ sealer first.
Josie
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Sign painters use a special paint and primer sold as ONE SHOT brand. I have used it for outdoor sign projects and can attest to its long life. It is important to prime (two coats) and to use at least two top coats. A little roof will keep the worst of the weather off the sign, extending its life and enhancing the visual impact. For the stakes, I would use wood rated for contact with the ground. Dave

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LP wrote:

Well, I'll tell you what I do to make signs.
I use mahogany as the wood. It's easy to work (an important consideration since I hand carve the signs) and it stands up well if properly protected. Since you need short pieces for signs, I can get it for less than $5 a bf most of the time and $3 bf when it's on sale. For paint, I use enamels. Most commonly model enamel from the hobby shop because it is high quality and comes in small containers.
The real 'secret sauce' is the finish. I finish with two or three coats of marine spar varnish. The real stuff, sold for use on boats. It yellows the project slightly, but it holds up well, even to the Arizona summer sun.
This may be overkill if you're just looking for pieces of board with stuff painted on them, but definitely use the spar varnish to finish.
--RC
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