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How to Make Your Own Metal Signs

Signs can draw customers and make announcements to people. Metal signs are long lasting and can hold up under the elements when set up outdoors.They can also be interesting pieces of decor inside a store. It is possible to make your own signs with sheets of metal found in hardware stores. Posts are easily found at discount and hardware stores.

Making the Signage

Draw size and shape of sign on a piece of recyclable cardboard. Trace around it onto the metal sheet with permanent marker. Cut sign in the shape you desire from metal sheet with tin snips. Wear gloves to prevent injury. You may be able to have the hardware store cut the shape for you if it offers the service.

Sketch out what you intend to have on your metal sign.

Select a lightweight cardboard or card stock piece to make a pattern. Make a concise to-size pattern when you know exactly what you need on the sign. Use a stencil for lettering. Measure precisely to be sure spaces between letters are evenly placed.

Cut the pattern into pieces. Use a permanent marker to trace the pattern onto the metal.

Expose a specific area that needs to be painted one color. Use painter's tape to cover the other areas of the sign.

Spray-paint areas one color at a time. Use quick, light painting strokes. Go back over the areas until the paint is the depth of color that you want. Let dry thoroughly.

Peel tape away from the metal. Make sure painted portion is dry. Tape over the painted portion and paint in new section with color of choice. Continue until sign is all painted.

Mounting or Hanging Signage

To hang signage: Drill or punch a hole into each corner of the sign if you are hanging it directly onto a wall.

To mount signage: Measure four inches from edge toward the center of the sign on top and bottom. Mark with pen on back of sign. Drill holes. Place wooden post vertically onto the sign. Mark the hole placements onto the post. Drill holes into the wooden posts. Turn sign over. Metal posts should have a series of pre-drilled holes. Place post onto back of sign.

Thread washers onto bolt or heavyweight screws according to size of post and sign. Push the bolt or screw through the front of the sign into the post. Put nut on the end of the bolt or screw and tighten.

Things You'll Need:

  • Tin snips
  • Weatherproof sheet metal .010 to .080 inches thick
  • Spray paint for outdoor use on metals with rust prevention
  • Painter's tape
  • Stencils
  • Hole punch tool or drill with 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Nuts and 2 1/2-inch-long bolts or screws and washers
  • Metal or wooden post for freestanding signage


Large areas can be covered with taped-down heavy paper or lightweight cardboard. Areas must be taped down to prevent paint from bleeding into a previously painted section.


  • If you tape over paint that is applied too heavily or is not dried, it will rip off when tape is removed. Paint must be for outdoor conditions.
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