Ideas for outside signage - need help

You all seem to be way ahead of me so I thought I would throw this out there and see what your ideas are.

I need to make or source 1000+ signs. These are for outdoor use marking fields and will basically just have text. So…Michigan weather they need to be able to hold up to rain, snow, etc. Potentially I could sublimate the lettering. I’ve been looking at license plate blanks but want the hole pattern differently but that would be the approx size, about 6" x 12"

I need to be able to keep the costs quite low…I’m doing this for a group of farmers I’ve involved with, not looking to make a ton of money on this project.
Are there any materials you would suggest I look at? Checked Johnson Plastics and all the other regular sources. Acrylic won’t work and would be cost prohibitive.
I was thinking about wood but concerned about how to weatherproof it.
Any ideas?


Thanks. Checked them. Can get license plate signs, printed, from plastic for under a buck!! and I don’t have to do the work! Might be my best bet…

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Another idea, If I made wood signs, with BB, what would you recommend coating with?

How are they mounted? You could get 1200 coroplast signs from amazon for $350. You would hve to cut them down from a 18x24 sign.


Probably with 2 screws on a fence post!! Good idea. Does coroplast have longevity though?

Long enough for the election season. :wink:

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State mandate…need them to last longer! Considering Baltic Birch, engraved, with a laquer or poly…

According to google.



For outdoor applications I recommend spar varnish.


ha! no wonder the political signs never go away!! I might need to look at that and heat up my heat transfer machine!

I concur with spar varnish. Millions of boats and exterior doors can’t all
Be wrong. :sunglasses:

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I dang sure wouldn’t be engraving 1000 signs at that size. Yeesh, that would take forever.


Think I can get them down to 4 x 6", if so, 10 min each = 200 hours and I can personalize. A couple weeks hard work. Might as well use the beast, right?


I was thinking the same and hopefully can just spray


All depends on your settings. The bad news is that if you go aluminum or metal marking, they tend to really like high LPI, which majorly impacts engrave times.

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True…but made some tonight testing on Baltic Birch, look nice, and with some good spar urethane could be good to go…nice thing with the engraving as long as the wood holds up the farmers won’t have to replace and they look natural. Made a quick coat with white paint tonight and they look sharp…not ready to post a picture because pretty raw but think it’s going to work…otherwise, plastic license plates ordered from an imprinter…yuck

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…and trying to keep cost containable for them…state mandate…wasted $$ for the farmers…they don’t say WHAT kind of sign or what size…they just have to have it…making them throw good $$ away…have to love our regulations these days.

Baltic, like all plywoods, is really susceptible to warping in the weather, doubly so when you add in the engraving.

I would suggest buying 3/4" marine ply and cutting it with traditional means, then engraving that, if plywood is your aim here.

Alternately, I might get 1x6 or 2x6 lumber and cut it with a saw, then engrave/varnish that. It’s going to stand up way better than ply will, I think.

If you’ve got a router, making a router jig and routing the lumber is probably an order of magnitude faster than engraving.

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Also look into cedar siding shakes. Last for years and they smell good when lasering :slightly_smiling_face: