How to Make an Old-Fashioned Sidewalk Sandwich Board Sign

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Visit any downtown area and you should find at least one old-fashioned, sidewalk sandwich board sign. Often used by sandwich shops and restaurants, the signs let owners advertise the wares currently available. Signs with chalkboard fronts let stores advertise upcoming sales and restaurants describe their daily specials. While stores sell specially-made signs, the signs are usually expensive with some priced at $100 or more. If you have a few hours available, then trying making your own sandwich board sign.

Lay the two boards across the sawhorse. Measure along the boards and mark the exact center. Cut along the line, which creates four legs for the sign approximately two feet tall. Hold the level against the top and bottom, making sure that you cut evenly across the wood.

Cut the plywood piece in half and set one piece to the side. Set one of the legs on top of the plywood and slide the leg down until it hangs one inch off the plywood. Screw the leg to the plywood and repeat with the opposite leg. The distance between the two legs indicates the width of the sign. Attach the other two legs to the second piece of plywood.

Set one piece of plywood on the sawhorses and run the saw along the end, cutting off any wood above the legs. Cut the excess wood off the second plywood piece. Screw one hinge onto the plywood and place the second hinge near the opposite end. Set the second plywood piece flush against the first and screw the other side of the hinge to the wood.

Sand down all visible areas of the sidewalk sign, including the front, back and the edge along the top. Brush off any sawdust and paint a layer of primer on the sign. Once the primer dries, paint a layer of chalkboard paint on top and follow with a second layer of paint.

Find the middle of the sign with your measuring tape. Drill a small hole through the side of the sign, making the hole go through both pieces. Move to the other side and drill another hole. Run a small chain through the hole on the right side and screw in place. Add a second chain to the opposite side.

Things You'll Need

  • Two boards approximately 1-inch thick, 6-inch wide and 4-feet long
  • Sawhorses
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood saw
  • Level
  • Plywood
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Two hinges
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint roller
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Electric drill
  • Two metal chains


  • Try rubbing the dried paint with chalk first and wiping it off, which primes the surface for writing with chalk.


About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images