Introduction: Make Signs Out of Cardboard!

Picture of Make Signs Out of Cardboard!

How to make signs out of cardboard. Yes, it's easy and quite effective. All you need is a band saw or scroll saw, some free cardboard, a little imagination and you can make many different signs. For this instructable, THINK is used to show the process.

Step 1: Design and Cut Out Sign Letters

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To make this sign, I went into my word processor and simply selected a font and made it to the size I wanted. In this case, it's 350 points.

Step 2: Trace or Outline Letters on Your Cardboard

Picture of Trace or Outline Letters on Your Cardboard

Simply hold letters down and outline them with a dark pencil.

Step 3: Cut Out All Letters on the Bandsaw (or Scroll Saw).

Picture of Cut Out All Letters on the Bandsaw (or Scroll Saw).

I use a 1/8 inch blade on the saw so that it is relatively easy to make the curves necessary in cutting out the letters.

Step 4: Cut All Letters

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Finish cutting letters.

Step 5: Cut Some Border Strips

Picture of Cut Some Border Strips

For this sign, border or frame strips are 5/8 in. wide.

Step 6: Glue All Pieces to Backing

Picture of Glue All Pieces to Backing

Carefully line out letters and place where wanted. Add glue and press into place. Borders are glued in this step also.

Step 7: Add Some Hangers to Sign

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For hangers, I simply use some scrap paper, cut to about 5/8 inch, punch a hole in the two pieces, and glue into place. Sign is very light, so this method is sufficient.

Step 8: Admire Your Sign

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Stand back and enjoy your handiwork. Sign is ready to hang.

Step 9: Possibilities:

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Several other examples are shown to demonstrate possibilities for making signs. Check out my shop on Etsy. Enter creativeman under sellers:username

Step 10: Additional Cardboard Signs

Picture of Additional Cardboard Signs

I keep making these, thought some would like to see them. Hope your efforts are going well.

Step 11: One More Thing...

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I needed to re-do my graphic on this sign so that it looked more reasonable. What do you think?


Crafty Cardamom (author)2016-08-14

I like!!!

Christian Reese (author)2015-04-16

Nice and beautiful. All it needs is a little paint and will look like plastic.

Uncle Kudzu (author)2015-02-19

Do it all backwards and multiple prints (collograpy) could be made with your method. Very cool! I wouldn't have thought to use a bandsaw on cardboard.

Thanks for sharing this!

Edwardo Leon (author)2012-09-18

here is a picture of how the aluminium foil would add to the overall appearance to the signage.

Creativeman (author)Edwardo Leon2012-09-18

Thanks for your comments and it does give a different look. I wonder how larger letters would look???

Edwardo Leon (author)2012-09-18

Nice Instructable. I have done similar sign in the past. I put aluminium foil to cover the entire sign after putting on white glue to glue the foil in place. it will give a silver metalic look to the sign and after painitng the backround with a colour of your choice, the letters will standout.

Adambowker98 (author)2012-04-20

Awesome! I might try this!

Creativeman (author)Adambowker982012-04-20

Go for it!

Adambowker98 (author)Creativeman2012-04-20

I need to find some cardboard first...

bobthebuilder728 (author)2012-03-20

Very Cool!
From your 600th follower

Thank you! A milestone for sure.

TheGeek1984 (author)2012-01-25

So simple, yet so awesome!

WhiteTech (author)2012-01-12

Great instructable, I know exactly how to use this, and I can save a bit of time making the letter stencils, my mom has a Cricut ;)

ashwinlit (author)2011-08-29

can you pleaasee send me the picture of the gun, I want to make the sign!

jeffconnelly (author)2009-09-06

Great Instructable! 5/5

Creativeman (author)jeffconnelly2009-09-06

Thanks, jeff! Cman

akagoldminer (author)2009-07-30

Great idea! I think I will try it but I will recycle plastic campaign signs instead of cardboard. They often leave them up long after elections around here. After painting them would make a great name sign for my house. Plus it would be weather resistant. Love the I DON'T CALL 911 sign!!!

clint114 (author)2009-07-02

For this project and for boxmaking, matboards (like framers use) is good, especially because it has solid sides that don't need to be filled. You might be able to talk your local frameshop into giving you their dropouts and scraps (since I realize the whole purpose of this exercise is to recycle and not spend money). Matboard also has the advantage that it is acid free and will last longer than corrugated cardboard. It cuts easily with a matknife or a razor blade.

jokerlz (author)2009-06-22

I did this. I didn't have a saw so I used a penknife so its a bit rough around the edges. (But you can't see that because my rubbish camera doesn't pick it up.)

jokerlz (author)jokerlz2009-06-22

Oops forgot pictures.

finnrambo (author)2009-06-15

does anyone call 911 here, or are we all meaniepoopers?

Zippy_Pyromaniac (author)2009-01-17

rofl!!! I dont call 911! .....Could you just do these with an exacto knife? It would be cool if you cut out a strip of cardboard that sticks out 90 degrees from the revolver's barrel then it would be uber cool 3d Madness!!!

How about cutting out small circles the size of the gun barrel and gluing them together to whatever length you want, then gluing them onto the barrel circle. You'd have to fill in the cardboard holes with somthing though...maybe just a strip of paper wrapped around it with the seam on the bottom and glued - all around and under the strip of paper.

jeff-o (author)2009-01-17

"Stone" looks cool! I also recognize the font used in "Simplify" - I used it on a name plaque I made for a friend!

Creativeman (author)jeff-o2009-01-17

Thanks jeff:it's a cool font.

mg0930mg (author)Creativeman2009-01-17

Could you make an instructable on how to make the stone sign?

Creativeman (author)mg0930mg2009-01-17

Just make the sign you want using this ibile, distress the cardboard with the saw, following the illustration. then start painting: use acrylic craft paint, greys, black, some white, mix it up. A spray can of rock simulation paint can be used also. I have made tombstones with this method, they look real (and old).

lcaulley (author)Creativeman2009-06-11

Actually Michael's Craft store (and probably Wally World) carries a spray paint that looks like stone! It comes out slightly textured and speckled with small dark particles in it. Comes in a couple colors. An awesome way to make a cheap plastic planter look like an expensive stone one!! Another thing I've seen used is the paint used to coat the inside of your engine compartment...slight texture to it too. And how about glow in the dark or black light reflective for the kiddies too! Just a thought...

mg0930mg (author)Creativeman2009-01-17

Cool! Thanks.

Creativeman (author)Creativeman2009-01-17

See this instructable: Holiday Decorations:Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, step 8 for an example.

Maureclaire (author)2009-03-19

You could spray it or coat it with something to make it more durable too, huh ?

lcaulley (author)Maureclaire2009-06-11

Just a nice coat of Elmer's white glue would work if your sign was supposed to stay inside. But if you plan on exposing it to the weather, maybe polyurethane would work. NICE instructable! You could make great gifts with this...say for a new babies room with birthday and weight and such or ABC's in nice colors. Really only limited by imagination. You could even use websites that offer free clipart for pictures to add...can't wait to try!

wenpherd (author)2009-02-03

cud you make printable template for the hand holding the gun in "i dont call 911"

Creativeman (author)wenpherd2009-02-03

how do you do that?

wenpherd (author)Creativeman2009-05-15

scan it i think

wenpherd (author)Creativeman2009-02-04

do what?

wompuscatgilly (author)2009-03-19

haha, nice kerning.

TekGremlin (author)2009-03-11

Great Idea, Very interesting! It is always great to learn fun new techniques for making signs.

wenpherd (author)2009-02-03

what word prosesser do you use?

Creativeman (author)wenpherd2009-02-03


agis68 (author)2009-02-02

S*M*A*R*T IDEA....5/5

Father Christmas (author)2009-01-17

lol @ the revolver's cylinder!!! other than that, i love this idea. it will match in with the rest of my stuff.

jongscx (author)Father Christmas2009-02-01

Haha, nice. Didn't catch that.

It took a while, but I got around to upgrading my graphic...Cman


Kingschild (author)2009-01-27

Brilliant! I love it! :D

Creativeman (author)Kingschild2009-01-27

Thanks! Cman

jlterrell (author)2009-01-23

Wonder if you'd be so kind as to give me the name of that lovely font you've used on the "Think" sign. Thanks -jt-

Creativeman (author)jlterrell2009-01-23

Times new roman, italicized. Cman

sing1ejack (author)2009-01-22

very nice job. now, how to make them weather proof..

About This Instructable




Bio: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.
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