How to Make Outdoor Advertising Signs

By Scott Neuffer ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 2 sheets 1/2-inch plywood, 24 inches by 26 inches
  • 4 wood posts, 2 inches by 2 inches
  • 2 door hinges with screws
  • 8 wood screws, 1 1/2 inches
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Wood saw
  • Power drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Roller or paint brush
Outdoor sandwich boards can be used for restaurant menus or special promotions.

Outdoor advertising is an important way to promote your business to passersby. Short of renting space on a billboard, the easiest way to get your brand on the street is to make a traditional sandwich-board sign. With some basic materials from the lumber yard and a bit of artistic prowess, you can create an eye-catching – and mobile – outdoor display.

Cut two wood posts to 60 inches each and two posts to 56 inches each. Lay your first piece of plywood over the 60-inch posts so that the sides are flush and the posts are exactly 4 inches from the top of the sheet. Drill four starter holes and then four screws through the ply into the posts, at least two for each post.

Lay the second sheet of plywood over the 56-inch posts so that the sides are flush and the posts are exactly 8 inches from the top of the sheet. Drill four holes and then four screws through the ply into the posts, at least two screws in each post. Both sets of posts should extend 16 inches from the bottom of each plywood sheet.

Lay both plywood sheets facedown so that their top edges are touching and their sides align. At the top of each sheet, measure and mark 3 inches in from the outside edge. Space the sheets a little and install the hinges at the 3-inch mark. Make sure to install the hinges in the correct direction.

Stand the sign up, ensuring it can open and close properly. Use sandpaper to smooth the outer faces of the plywood. Paint the sign according to your business design. You can use your carpenter’s pencil and a stencil set to trace logos or letters before painting, or you can completely whitewash the boards as backdrops for pre-made, interchangeable graphics, such as posters.

Tip

Use weatherproof paints and graphics. If you live in a windy area, screw some eye-hook bolts into the sides of the posts and attach both faces of the sign with a chain. This will not only add weight, but will help keep the sign from doing the splits.

Warning

Always wear gloves and safety glasses when using power tools. When sanding or painting, wear a dust mask and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Scott Neuffer is an award-winning journalist and writer who lives in Nevada. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and spent five years as an education and business reporter for Sierra Nevada Media Group. His first collection of short stories, "Scars of the New Order," was published in 2014.