I’ve been looking around as I visit various gardens, somewhat envious of their plant ID signs. Question is, how do you create signs that will do your garden proud, not break the bank, and last a good long time. There is always the cheap plastic signs from the 99¢ store, but the writing fades pretty rapidly in the weather, even with a “permanent” marker.
Looking around for possible posts, I found both pvc pipe and EMT metal pipe left over from other projects as well as some unlabeled brown paint that was left over from the previous owner. Those items fit my budget perfectly – free. The pvc is easy to cut on a diagonal, but rigid only in short lengths; whereas the EMT is very sturdy in longer lengths. I decided to join the two together to make custom sign heights. Using a hand file, I could form the pvc pipe to fit snugly inside the 3/4″ EMT pipe, and using a rasp drill bit, I could core out the pvc to fit snugly over the 1/2″ EMT pipe.
Now for the sign part. My Sister-in-law, Lora, has been printing images on metal for my art business for quite some time, and her prices are very reasonable. She uses a dye sublimation process, so the image is chemically fused to the metal. It is not guaranteed to hold up forever in the direct sunlight, but I bought some Krylon UV protecting spray to give the signs the best chance for survival in the wild. I figured it is definitely worth a shot.
So, I sent her the images. She printed and cut the signs, and they were back in my shop within days.
In case you are interested in trying this, contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Their base prices are $1.75 for 3.5″ x 2″, $4.75 for 10″ x 2.5″, and $12.50 for 8″ x 10″ You can contact Smart Charms at (623) 536-6960 discuss pricing or custom sizes.
While the signs were in production, I cut the pvc to 6″ lengths, cut a diagonal on one end, then fashioned the other end to fit either the large or small EMT pipes. I cut the EMT pipes to different lengths. Then I painted all the pipes.
Once the cut signs arrived, I glued the diagonal cut end of the 6″ pvc pipes to the signs and let them dry over night. to install, I pounded the EMT pipe into the soil until it was secure, then installed the pvc/sign into it. One last touch up of the paint. The final step was to spray each sign with Krylon UV resistant clear spray. The results are in the slide show below.