How to Make Acrylic Signs

Written by ericb
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How to Make Acrylic Signs
Use colours that will stand out against each other. (Three colours of paints image by oddech from

An acrylic sheet is a glass substitute that is actually stronger and safer than glass. Due to the sturdiness and clarity of the material, acrylic sheets are use in fish tanks, picture frames, car windows and a plethora of art projects. If you want to advertise a business, organisation, event or cause, acrylic signs are the way to go. Acrylic signs appear sharp and modern to attract the eye, and the acrylic has no glare. They are simple and inexpensive to create. Before you make your sign, sketch your design and the shape of a sign on a piece of paper, keeping it to scale.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Acrylic sheet
  • Utility knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Chain or rope
  • Stencils
  • Acrylic paint
  • Top coat spray

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  1. 1

    Outline your design in pencil on the acrylic sheet. Use stencils for letters. Apply the design from the centre out; this will also help to ensure it is drawn at the correct proportions. Outline the shape of the sign last to leave room for possible spatial errors.

  2. 2

    Cut out the shape of the sign with a utility knife. (You may have to saw at the acrylic.) Use sandpaper to smooth the edge of the sign.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole on each side of the sign's top. These will be used to suspend the sign from a rope or chain for hanging. Drill slowly and be cautious of heat. The friction of the drill gets very hot.

  4. 4

    Use acrylic paints to colour in the design. You may need to add several layers. Allow the paint to dry in between layers, keeping in mind that the paint will take longer to dry on the nonporous material than it does on porous material. If you make a mistake, wash it off before the paint dries.

  5. 5

    Spray the sign with a clear top coat after the coloured acrylic paints have dried.

Tips and warnings

  • There is a multitude of things to consider when creating your design. Foremost is the intent. Is the purpose to display a name of a business or group or to illustrate a concept? Include your business or group's name to give the sign attribution. Pictures are visually appealing and typically draw more attention than mere text. The best signs have a balance.
  • When you select your paints, consult a colour wheel for complimentary and analogous colour schemes; make the sign noticeable, but not flamboyant.
  • If you cannot buy stencils for letters in the font you want, create your own. Simply print out large letters on cardstock to trace.
  • To make your sign appear under the acrylic surface, create the design backwards. Final details must be added first and the background last. Working backwards can be a little confusing, but it creates a distinctive effect.

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