Sign Making Question

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Forum topic by Randy Sharp posted 01-05-2009 06:39 PM 2368 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3697 days

01-05-2009 06:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question signs router

I recently purchased the Milescraft Sign-Pro. It works great! I’m looking for suggestions on how to fill in the routed letters.

I’ve tried:
- Spray painting the entire board, then running it through my planer to remove the surface paint. Spray paint “sucked” into the wood, not giving the letters a good coating.
- Hand painting the letters, then sanding (60 grit) to remove paint outside the letters. It looks great, but is time consuming.
- Using a Magic Marker to fill in the letters. It does a fair job, but the tip of the marker wears out quickly.

Is there another method that works just as well, or better? Thanks for your suggestions.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

8 replies so far

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 01-05-2009 06:53 PM

I have had good luck with Avery A1830-S Yellow Paint Mask for doing this sort of thing. It is like a giant roll of plastic masking tape that is 15 inches wide. It is vinyl with a peel off backing. This allows you to use standard paint and is fast (and inexpensive). Sign makers use it all the time.

Beacon graphics sells a 10 yard roll by 15 inches wide for $33.50. The yellow is high temp.

So, you finish the board with paint, stain, oil, varnish etc. Let it dry. Then apply the mastic. Now route through it. It can withstand 200 Degrees so a router will not melt it. Now paint (spray or brush) the design, allow to dry, and peel off the mastic.

Like this:

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3899 days

#2 posted 01-05-2009 07:40 PM

I like Steve’s suggestion. Another thing you could try would to be to route the letters, put a couple of coats of varnish on the whole sign (surface and letters), then glaze the letters and wipe away any glaze that got on the surface. Once the glaze is dry, top coat with more varnish.

-- -- --

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#3 posted 01-05-2009 08:32 PM

For a really low-tech solution, I’d go back to what you did in the first place…. just spray paint the whole thing, then sand or plane the flat surface. It sounds like the only problem you had was too much paint being soaked up by the wood inside the letters. The solution to that is either spray a second coat, or use a seal coat first. You could also try brushing the paint into the letters rather sloppily, then sanding/planing.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3551 days

#4 posted 01-05-2009 09:23 PM

...or pour the piant into the lettering grooves and adjust with a cotton swab.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 01-05-2009 09:42 PM

Oh, yeah, I tried cotton swabs too. Even the best brand fell apart almost immediately.

Charlie has the right idea, I think. The signs don’t need to be perfect. I’m using 5/4 deck boards to make “Next Tee” signs on a local disc golf course. And, a few “smack talk” signs along the way, just for fun.

Sloppily Charlie? My best work is sloppily.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View Brent Golden's profile

Brent Golden

151 posts in 3846 days

#6 posted 01-07-2009 02:26 PM

Try spray ink. I use that on all my signs. Dries very fast, doesn’t sink into the wood like paint. Also, try this site. He sells tapes and cd’s about making signs. Very informative.

-- Brent Golden

View hankery's profile


1 post in 2313 days

#7 posted 02-19-2012 06:33 PM

New here, also new using the Milescraft SignPro. Everything works great, except cannot rout a small letter (n) that looks like a (n)


View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 02-19-2012 06:37 PM

How about routing through Contact paper? It has a sticky back so it won’t move, can be pealed off, and with a little mineral spirits any remaining glue will dissolve away.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

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