How to Build Your Own A-Frame Sign

Cheryl Torrie

Building your own A-frame sign gives you access to its versatility for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one. Real estate professionals, store owners and individuals who have garage sales or participate at craft shows need the portability and convenience of a sign that can easily be set up anywhere, and an A-frame sign fits their needs. It might seem complicated at first but with the aid of a specially designed hinge, you can build an A-frame sign for all of your advertising needs.

A-frame signs give you all the flexibility you need.
  1. Cut two 28-inch by 48-inch pieces of MDF with a table saw equipped with a carbide-tipped laminate blade.

  2. A paint roller assures a streak free even coat of paint on your sign boards.
  3. Apply a coat of white acrylic exterior paint to both sides of each of the MDF boards with a paint roller. Allow the paint to dry for 2 hours.

  4. Cut two 26-inch by 38-inch pieces of acrylic sheet with the table saw.

  5. Place the MDF boards flat on a work table with a 28-inch width side toward the back of the table. Then place the acrylic sheet pieces on the MDF boards, centered 1 inch from each vertical edge, 7 inches from the top and 3 inches from the bottom. Trace their outline onto the MDF boards with a pencil. Set the acrylic sheets aside.

  6. Super glue a rubber washer to the front of the MDF boards 1/2-inch in from the acrylic sheet outline at each of the four corners and one centered between the bottom two washers. These 10 washers will assure an even spacing between the acrylic sheet and the MDF boards so a cardboard or paper sign can be inserted.

  7. Set the acrylic sheets back on top of the MDF boards, aligned with the outline, and screw a 3/4-inch wood screw through the acrylic sheet into the washers and the MDF. Place one of the MDF boards on top of the other with both of the acrylic sheet sides facing down, line up the edges and tape them together with painter's tape. Be sure that both of the tops of the boards and the acrylic sheet openings are aligned before taping.

  8. Turn the taped MDF boards over so that one of the acrylic sheets is up, center the A-frame sign hinge along the top of MDF boards above the acrylic sheet, and secure the left hand hinge pieces to the boards with painter's tape. Mark the left hand hinge hole locations onto the MDF board with a pencil and set the hinge aside.

  9. Drill a 1/4-inch hole through both of the MDF boards at the marked locations with a drill equipped with a 1/4-inch drill bit.

  10. Remove the tape holding the sign boards together and install the hinge onto the back of the MDF boards by placing the screws into the pilot holes from the acrylic sheet side. Insert the washer onto the screws from the back and tighten the nuts supplied with the hinge onto the screws against the washers.

  11. Insert a 24-inch by 36-inch poster-sized sign behind each of the acrylic sheets and set up the sign where desired.

  12. Tip

    If you will be using your sign on snow-covered ground, you can install aluminum feet -- available online or at a sign material distributor -- to the bottom of each MDF sheet.


    Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools.