Monday, September 13, 2010

Aboard Sign Making

I've been wanting to make an aboard sign for bloop pretty much ever since we first opened.  With a barrage of visitors over the summer, and limited time, it took awhile, but this project finally made it off of my idea list last weekend.

Originally, I was planning to commission,  Haley Ann Robinson, to make me one, but in order to save money, I decided to make one myself with help, of course, from the blond fox and his power tools.

I'm documenting the Aboard sign making process on this blog and hope you find it helpful. Feel free to pass this post along to anyone you know who wants to make one for their small business. 

1) If you live in Portland, determine whether you will purchase an aboard permit from the city. I did, but honestly I am not sure if this permit is enforced. My guess is probably not. The cost is $60 a year and you can find a link to the aboard permit form in the City of Portland here.

2) Purchase an Aboard sign (or make one). I happened to already have one, but you can get one at  Mr. Plywood if you live in Portland. Mr. Plywood is an inexpensive lumber store perfect for all sorts of projects whether you are interested in making an Aboard sign or not. If you are interested in recreating the cute letters that Matt and I designed, you can pick up a 4 ft by 4 ft sheet of 1/4 inch birch for around $12.00.

3) Decide on your design. This is where you can be as creative or not creative as you like. Most businesses paint their aboards, but chalkboard paint is another fun option. Once again, if you need an artist to help with your design. I know a good one! I was planning on using stencils for my wood letters, however the dude helping us at Mr. Plywood suggested I just use MS Word to create my own stencils. I recommend the following font: Tw Cen MT Condensed Extra Bold (Size 600).

After cutting out and tracing the letters onto the birch board I purchased, Matt cut out the letters with a jigsaw. For tight turn cuts he used a router, however a jigsaw would work for this too, it is just much easier with a router. While I was really good at cutting out the l's, my o's looked more like ovals, so I sanded the letters down and painted the Aboard sign while he finished cutting out the letters. If you ever need a handy man to help with your projects in Portland or beyond, the blond fox (Matt) is always available and his work is reasonably priced.

4) Determine what materials you will need to finish your aboard. I used an outdoor paint in greybeard gray with a matte finish from Miller Paint.  A great place to find inexpensive materials, if you don't mind buying them used, is the ReStore. Operated by Habitat for Humanity, the ReStore collects leftover paint, stains, and other building supplies and resells these items for super cheap. Matt and I have collected different shades of stain, one of which we used on the letters. We attached the letters using Gorilla Glue.

5) Set up your aboard street side, oh yea. I am so happy how this turned out and will be interested to see if business picks up, as the bloop/ Sonny Bowl cart is hidden behind an urban hedge of coniferous bush.


  1. Kat this looks so GREAT!!!!
    I LOVE!

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