How to make a large A-frame portable pavement sign

Updated February 21, 2017

Large A-frame portable pavement signs are used for kerbside advertising for shops and events. A-frame signs that fold up are easily slid into a vehicle or storage space. Customers are attracted by outdoor A-frame signs. A wood sign can be repainted in the future and is able to withstand the elements when properly sealed with waterproof wood sealant. An A-frame pavement sign is a versatile promotional tool. All supplies necessary can be bought at DIY centres.

Lay the two wood rectangles end to end. Align the hinges between the rectangles. The hinges will connect the rectangles and will be inside of the sign when it folds up. Door hinges work well for a sign.

Measure 35 cm (14 inches) from each exterior left and right edge near the top, touching edges of the rectangles. Mark the 35 cm (14 inch) mark on the left and right on both rectangles with a marker.

Position the left edge of both hinge leaves of one hinge so the edges are aligned with the left 35 cm (14 inch) mark on both rectangles. Use a marker to colour through the holes of both hinge leaves onto the wood beneath.

Position the right edge of both hinge leaves of the other hinge so the edges are aligned with the right 35 cm (14 inch) mark on both rectangles. Use a marker to fill in the holes of both leaves onto the wood beneath.

Screw wood screws through the holes on each hinge leaf, over the ink marks, into the wood rectangles. Attach both hinges to the two rectangles connecting the wood to form a folding, portable A-frame sign. To encourage the wood screw to grip the wood, position the screwdriver in the wood screw and against the wood. Tap the handle of the screwdriver gently with a hammer until the screw breaks the wood, then screw the screw into the wood.

Fold the wood sign into an A-frame by standing it up on the unhinged, free bottom ends. Because of the weight of the sign and the internally placed hinges, the sign will stand alone. You will add two braces on the outer sides of the A-frame after the sign has been painted.

Pour waterproofing wood sealant into a bucket. Paint the wood sign with waterproofing wood sealant and a paintbrush. Paint the sealant in the direction of the wood grain. Paint the interior and exterior sides of the frame. Avoid getting sealant into or onto the hinges. Allow the sealant to dry.

Paint the sign with an exterior paint on the interior and exterior sides of the A-frame sign. Use a neutral colour such as white or tan. Allow the paint to dry.

Align a wood brace rectangle measuring 10 cm (4 inches) wide by 9 cm (36 inches) long by 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) thick on the outer left side of the A-frame. Screw one wood screw through each end into each of the 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick sides of the sign. Repeat to install the wood brace on the outer right side of the A-frame. The braces can be painted or left natural.

Paint the text onto the sign using stencils or paint the text directly onto the painted wood. Allow the paint to dry and then paint the sign with a coat of clear polyurethane to protect the text. Allow the clear coat to dry.


A sign can be drawn onto poster board with permanent markers and then stapled onto the wood with a staple gun and wood staples. This type of sign can be easily removed and changed. To store or transport the sign, unscrew one side of each brace, allowing it to hang. Fold the sign together. Reassemble by re-screwing the brace to the sign.


Always use sealant and paint chemicals in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 wood rectangles, 1.2 m by 90 cm by 2.5 cm (48 inches by 36 inches by 1 inch)
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • 2 heavy steel hinges, 7.5 cm (3 inches) long
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) wood screws
  • 2 wood rectangles, 90 cm by 10 cm by 1.2 cm (36 inches by 4 inches by 1/2 inch)
  • Wood sealant
  • Bucket
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • Exterior paint
  • Stencils, optional
  • Clear polyurethane coat
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.