How to Build Aluminum Signs

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Outdoor aluminum signs provide a professional presentation to any storefront or business. Aluminum signs designed with high-performance vinyl can last many years, saving you money over time. Lightweight and durable, aluminum signs easily can be paired with a metal hanging bracket attached to a post. When building your aluminum sign, a pre-constructed bracket kit offers easy installation and nearly instant display. Some preparation of the materials when building a sign is necessary. Take the time to lay out your sign properly and watch the customers flock to your place of business.

Sign Construction

Buy an aluminum sign blank from a sign distributor. Determine sign presentation. Buy a metal sign hanging kit.

Choose an aluminum blank with a pre-finished, wax-free, baked enamel surface for outdoor durability. Select aluminum signs in your choice of color with a thickness of .040, or 4 mm.

Remove the protective covering on the sign. Clean both sides of the sign with Isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth. Air dry.

Buy graphics from a sign shop or make your own on your vinyl cutter. Measure each line of text. Mark the center.

Find the center of the aluminum sign by measuring horizontally and vertically, or lay a yardstick in the center of the right top corner to the center of the bottom left corner.

Draw a line with a grease pencil along the yard stick near the center. Switch corners and lay the yard stick in the center of the left top corner to the center of the bottom right corner. Draw a line with a grease pencil along the yardstick near the center, intersecting the first line.

Use the yardstick to draw straight horizontal and vertical lines with the grease pencil using the center X mark as a guide.

With a ruler, measure from the center lines horizontally and vertically between 1 and 6 inches from the edge of the sign, depending on the size of the sign, to the edge of the aluminum, creating margins.

Lay the cut vinyl graphics on the sign without removing the paper backing, deciding placement. Align the vinyl graphics individually according to your guidelines with a T-square, a T-shaped ruler.

Use masking tape to secure the graphics to the surface of the sign. Run the masking tape the entire length of the graphic paper without overhang.

Flip the graphic up, not disturbing the taped edge. Start in any corner. Remove the paper backing. Don’t let the graphic touch the surface of the sign.

Hold the edge of the graphic taut, but with a slight dip in the paper. Using 45-degree angle, secure the pre-mask tape and the graphic to the surface of the sign with a sign-making squeegee.

Remove the pre-mask tape, starting in any corner. Pull the pre-mask slowly, keeping the tape close to the surface of the sign. Remove the grease pencil lines with Isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

Dig a hole with a post digger at least 2 feet deep, depending on the size of your sign. Place a post in the hole. Fill with concrete to the ground level. Allow the concrete to harden overnight.

Clamp a metal hanging bracket to the post and mark the holes. Unclamp the bracket and drill starter holes into the post. Attach the bracket with the screws that came with the bracket kit. Use S-hooks to hang the sign.

Tip

When taping the vinyl graphic to the sign, create a hinge with the tape. Measure from the center out when building a sign for a more accurate measurement.

Warning

Beware of underground wires when digging a hole for your post. Dig a hole twice as wide as the size of your post. Spray any metal brackets with polyurethane before hanging your sign.

References

Resources

About the Author

RS Wagner began writing professionally in 1997 as a frequent contributor to the "Sun Herald's" column, "What's Cookin'." She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from William Carey University.

Photo Credits

  • sign. open sign. come in we are open image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com