Need to make a sign, but don't want to deal with the heavy weight of wood or the expenses of vinyl?
The other option? FOAM BOARD
Foam board provides a light, and relatively sturdy alternative for the strapped budget and/or low effort expense.
For this tutorial, I will be basing the sign I made off of Ollivanders Wand Makers from Harry Potter.
The total cost for this project for me (I already had paints, paint brushes and sundry tools laying around) was: $2
If purchasing supplies and colors specific to this sign: $5 for board, chains, and paints
But anyway, let's move on to supplies to see what all I used!
Step 1: Supplies!
All the supplies I used for this sign are;
- Black Foamboard (Bought at Dollar Tree for 50 cents)
- Google reference image: searched 'Ollivanders Wand shop', until I found a sign I liked.
- Halloween Lawn Stakes with plastic chains (Bought at Dollar Tree and comes in a set of 2, $1)
We really only need the chains from the stakes, but if you see any small chains at the store for cheap,
those are what you want.
- Acrylic Paint (craftstore for about 80 cents each): Colors black, sahara gold and antique gold
- Paintbrushes (craftstore or Dollar Tree, packs run $1-$5): Specifically the small, square brush,
a regular or small sized point brush and a large wide brush.
- Hot glue gun and sticks
- Box cutter
- Black Sharpie
- Scrapbook/Paint pen: color gold/brass
- A big screw or bolt
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Board
Based on the reference photo provided via Google, and the width of the black foam board, I decided the Ollivanders sign would be approximately 10 inch by 20 inch. Using the ruler and the black Sharpie, I drew the one line I needed to cut. Then I used the box cutter to first, lightly score the Sharpie'd line, then a second round to actually cut throught the board.
Don't be in a rush, or the foam board will fray! The board ain't running off and nothing is on fire; score the board first, then slice through it.
Step 3: Paint the Base
I wanted the sign to have kind of a grainy, wood texture.
Using the wide paint brush and the lighter gold color (the Sahara Gold) acrylic paint, I did broad strokes back and forth from left to right. No need to completely cover the board in paint to make it solid. Leave several areas where the black can show through.
Next I used the warm gold (the Antique Gold) paint and the same brush, this time doing fewer strokes from left to right. Still allowing areas of the board's black to show through. This gives the sign a worn and weathered look.
I did want a black border to the sign, so I used black acrylic paint and a small, square brush, I created the black border to outline the gold.
Step 4: Words and Wand
Using the ruler and the sharpie, I determined where (roughly) I wanted the letters and the wand to go. I drew the basic outlines and frames of the letters and shapes with the sharpie first, then went over them with the small square paint brush and black acrylic paint, to thicken them.
Once the paint dried, I used the Sharpie again, to give the edges of the shapes and letters a finer, straighter look.
The gold/brass highlights on the sign can be done with either of the gold acrylic paints, but I had a brass paint pen laying around, so I used that for the details on the letters and wand.
*Yes, the sign is not perfectly measured or screen accurate, but it's for a quick office party and looks just fine. ^_^
Step 5: Holes for the Chain
Here is where the screw/bolt comes in.
Foam board bends and creases easily, so you need a good pointed object (a pencil can work as well) to puncture holes in the top of the sign. I did the holes about 4 inches in from the corners, and this is where we will hook of the chains.
Step 6: The Chains
Remove the little plastic chains from the Halloween decoration from Dollar Tree.
Ditch the stakes.
The chains are plastic and easy to pull wide enough to slip over the edge of the foam board and into the two holes you made. Connect the free-hanging ends of the chains together.
Test your sign's hanging ability on a door handle.
Step 7: Hang the Sign!
If your sign successfully hangs, you are good to go!
Congrats, you have made a cheap sign that looks great for any quick function that you need it for!