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!
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
Pine is good enough for 14" x 3" signs. You just have to be good about
using the primer/ sealer first.
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.
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
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.
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