Make your own Protest Signs
Big good-looking ones, 24x30, cost maybe $15-$30...or
less, depending on what hardware, scrap wood and tools you have.
Here's some signs I made up to protest at our local newly-elected
Republican Congressman's home and office. All of them use the largest
full color poster print made at the local big box store: 20"x30" ($10
at Sam's Club, $20 at Walmart). Note that these poster prints are
made on inkjet printers with water-based ink and can bleed/run in
exposed to rain!
- You start by making the design on your computer, setting the page
layout to the size of the poster, here 20"x30", then saving not only
the design in the the draw package software file format but also as a
- You bring in the file on a USB stick or upload it to the store's
website and order the print. At my Sam's Club, the print is ready an
buy or scrounge a piece of 1/4"
(5mm) luan/mahogany plywood that same size as the poster. Lowes
has nice primed 4'x4' sheets ($10, yields two 20"x30"backing boards) or
4'x8' ($14, 6 backing boards). You have them cut the sheet to the
- You buy or scounged a 4' or 5' piece of 1x2 board for the sign
post. Lowes has a 4' one for $2 or, if you have a table saw, you
can cut an 8' 2x4 into 6 of them. I sanded off the edges of the
signpost stick to make it easy on the hands
- You buy a can of spray contact adhesive. A good, commonly
available quality on is 3M's 77 which you can get from Lowe's, Home
Depot or Michael's
that the print and the backboard match. Handle the print as
little as possible as they are easy to damage. Maybe reverse roll the
print to get some of the curl out of it.
- Spray the backing board liberally with the contact adhesive (just
the board, you don't need to spray the print). Move right along with
this, you want the adhesive to remain gooey, not dry up enough that
it's viciously tacky. Eyeball the lineup of the poster print
carefully to the left side of the poster whhile holding the right high
on the left. Touch it down aligned on the left and then lower the right
while sweeping your hand across the print from left to right. Be warned: once the print makes contact , it's hard to get it off again without damaging it,
so make sure the alignment is perfect and the poster size and backing
board match before you commit by touching the left side down.
- Attach the mounted print on the backing board to sign post with screw and fender washer. You can do this one of two ways:
- Permanently with an ordinary wood screw
- With a #10 machine screw and a T-nut with the same thread,
either 10-32 or 10-24, as I have done, so that I can disassemble the
sign post from the sign for ease of storage and transport.
- Details (see the picture on the right below):
- A fender washer is a big diameter washer with a small hole...it spreads
the load and clamps the board so the screw doesn't just tear through
the backing board.
- A T-nut (Tinnerman nut) is a way to put strong metal threads in wood and are commonly available. The pricture on the right below shows a T-nut in place
- I sprayed the the completed sign with a fixative (like clear
gloss Krylon) to give the print some resistance to damp. If it
rains, you'll want to wrap the sign so it doesn't bleed and run.
So, you'll need:
- A computer art software package. You will only frustrate
yourself trying to do this with Word or WordPerfect. Take the
and get the real thing if you don't have one already. The latest
of the top contenders, Like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, are
pricey and have lots of bells and whistles, more than most of us will
need (and confusing as well). My answer is to get a back level
version. You'll be getting the real thing, not a tricycle, and
you'll develop some real skills. Some have home version for less.
Home CorelDraw x7 (the latest) can be had for as little as $70., but
old back level years old Corel Draw 3 or 5 can be had on EBay for
$5-$15. The doc will be on the CD for
that price and you can get tutorials off the web.
A hand drill, corded or cordless, plus drill bits. With a cordless drill, breaking down the sign is easy
- Spray adhesive and optionally, a spray fixative/sealer
- screws, fender washers and optionally T-nuts.
You can click on the this sign to see it full-rez and for download and printing.