How to Make a Portable Sign

sign. no entry sign. strictly private. image by L. Shat from

A street sign is an effective way to bring customers into your business. According to the Canadian Government Services for Entrepreneurs, signs are the only way you have to communicate with people who are passing by. Just a simple portable sidewalk sign will draw attention. Use them to convey information and build your business image.

Cut two pieces of plywood so that they match. The sign can be any size you desire but traditionally an “A” frame portable sign is between three and four feet tall. Lay the pieces on top of each other to make sure their edges match. As alternatives to plywood, you may use plastic, two chalkboards, or an old door cut in half.

Stand the boards up so that both the top sides of them line up. Use a drill to screw in two hinges on the top of the plywood panels. Screw one side of the hinge on one panel, and on the inward-facing side of the panel. Attach the other side of the hinge to the second panel connect the two plywood pieces and form the “A” frame shape. The hinges should be about three inches in from the corners on each side. Repeat this with the other hinge. Make sure that the hinges allow the sign to open into an “A” frame and close again without having to force it closed.

Cut two equal lengths of vinyl strapping, between six and 12 inches long. Prop the sign up as it will be on the street. Using outdoor glue, screws or pins, attach one end of one strap to a side panel of the plywood sign, about halfway down the length of the board. Attach the other end of the strap to the other plywood board side panel parallel to the first attachment. The straps should have no slack in them while the sign is standing. Repeat this step with the remaining strap on the other side of the sign. This will prevent the sign from falling flat while standing.

Paint the sign any color or in any design you desire. You may fist need to sand down the surface of the plywood to achieve a smooth surface for painting. A vinyl coating can be applied to make the sign usable with erasable markers. This is a convenient way to paint a sign that will need constant updates (for example, advertising "Today's Specials" at a restaurant). You may also use chalkboard paint. Otherwise, paint it yourself or hire a professional printing company to paint a logo onto the sidewalk sign.

Attach a handle between the hinges on the top of the sign for easy carrying. You can screw in a couple of hooks on which to tie a simple rope handle. Or, attach a wooden handle with a couple of nails. Attach the handle to one specific side of the sign so that when you pick it up by the handle, the “A” frame closes.