Shop Talk: Making Simple, Recycled Tent Signs (with tutorial!)

Tent Signs

Signs are super duper important, no matter what you’re making. Folks at craft shows and in stores want to know what things are made of. They want the story.

After doing a few shows, I realized that a lot of folks were asking the same questions about what I make:

  • What is this?
  • Did you make this yourself?
  • What is it made of?
  • How much does it cost?

I’ve got no problem answering questions, but it makes things much easier for shoppers if they can see a bit about your work at a glance. Some shyer folks might not want to ask questions, and that could cost you a sale! These simple little tent signs do the trick, and they’re cheap and easy to make, too!

thin cardboard from your recycle bin (empty beer, soda, or cereal boxes are perfect)
paper scissors
recycled printer paper
image editing and word processing software, like Photoshop and Word (optional)
stickers or whatever else you want to embellish (optional)
glue stick

1. Take a little inventory of your cardboard….you’ll need your pieces to be as wide as your sign and twice as high, so use your ruler to measure your cardboard pieces. See what you’ve got, so you can design your sign to fit your materials.

Cut out the pieces of cardboard and fold them in half lengthwise, so you end up with little tents. The face of the tent is the size of your sign.

2. Once you know the dimensions of your sign, head to the computer. (You can skip all of step two if you’re planning to design your sign by hand.) In your photo editing software, create a new blank image that reflects your sign dimensions in inches and is 300 pixels/inch. The pixels/inch part is important – most photo software defaults to 72, and that will make your image way too small.

TIP: I made my image about 1/4″ smaller on each side than my cardboard, so it would be easy to fit.

Now that you have your blank image, it’s time to design! Put a little blurb about your product on there, including the price. You might want to include some imagery like your business logo or something like this…play around until you like what you’ve got!

Repeat step 2 for however many signs you’re looking to make.

Once you have all of your signs designed, open your word processing software and insert your images. You’ll probably be able to fit more than one sign on a page, which is a great way to save paper!

Once everything is on the page, you’re ready to print!

3. Now, you’ll want to cut out your printed image. If you’re hand-designing your sign, just cut some paper to size, write a blurb about your product on there, and you’re ready to roll.

4. Grab your glue stick, attach the sign to the cardboard, let it dry, and you’re all done!

The signs pictured at the top there don’t have prices on them, but I’m going to add a price to the bottom with a little round sticker. I just like the look of that for whatever reason.

So, have you guys made your own recycled signage? I’d love to hear about your processes, too! Craft show season is coming, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my display!

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