How to Make a Walking Billboard Sign

Dynamic signage grabs your attention. Walking billboards, also called sandwich signs, are used to generate business in high-traffic areas, especially in large cities. Anywhere foot-traffic is high or cars are forced to drive slowly, walking billboards may be an effective form of advertisement. A walking billboard is essentially two signs with attached shoulder straps. Making your own walking billboard is inexpensive and takes only a couple of hours. To expedite the process, lay out the sign on paper before you begin constructing it.

Stack the two pieces of hardboard together, aligning the edges. Place them on a flat surface. Designate one short end of the boards as the top. Measure and mark a transverse line 1-inch from the top of the stacked boards, from side-to-side. Measure and mark the center of the line. Measure and mark 6 inches from the center on each side of the line. Measure and mark 3/4 inch lateral to the marks placed 6 inches from the center. The two marks lateral to the center of the top of the boards will be drilled to attach shoulder straps to carry the sign boards.

Measure and mark the edges of the board, 24 inches from the top and 1 inch from the side. Holes drilled in these positions will be used to hold side strings, keeping the sign from shifting. Using a drill and a 3/16-inch drill bit, drill through the top and side-hole marks on the stacked hardboard.

Separate the stacked boards. Pour about 6 oz. of white paint into a paint pan or other suitable container. Use a paint roller to completely cover each board with paint. Allow the paint to dry, according to manufacturer's instructions, and then apply a second coat of paint. After the white paint has dried, you can paint a different background color on the boards or move straight to painting your message.

Lay the boards on a flat surface, side-by-side. Use a yardstick and a pencil to scribe faint horizontal guidelines for lettering. Use a pencil to write your message on the sign boards. For maximum visual impact, keep your message short and use a large, bold lettering style. When you are satisfied with the layout, paint your message, using artist's brushes and craft paint.

Cut two pieces of leather strap, each 16 inches long, using heavy-duty scissors. Drill two holes in the ends of each strap, side-by-side, approximately 1 inch from the ends. These holes will be used to attach the shoulder straps to the sign boards.

Assemble the walking billboard. Cut four pieces of nylon cord, each about a foot long. Attach the shoulder straps to the first board by aligning the holes in the shoulder straps with the holes in the top of the sign board. Thread the nylon cord through a hole in the strap, then through the corresponding hole in the board. Thread the cord through the adjacent holes, like you are sewing on a button. Repeat to pass the cord through the holes at least twice. Tie off and trim excess cord. Repeat to finish attaching the shoulder straps to the sign boards.

Cut two pieces of nylon cord, each about 2 feet long. After the sign carrier puts on the sign, thread the cords through the side holes of the sign. Tie the cords loose enough so the sign is comfortable, but tight enough to prevent wind from pulling the sign from the wearer.

Tips

  • Used leather belts work well for making shoulder straps. A wider strap distributes the weight of the signs over a larger area and is more comfortable for the wearer. Many home improvement stores will cut the signboards to size, free of charge. For a single-use sign, foam-core board may be used in place of hardboard.

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Resources

About the Author

Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.