Designing With Street Signs

Designing with Street Signs, door

Sometimes things turn out better than you expect – I was beginning to wonder what the heck I was going to do with the $60 worth of street signs I had piled in the basement. Turns out they don’t work so well for magnetic boards – since they aren’t magnetic. “What now?” we asked ourselves, (I wasn’t the only one with a basement stash of them). We decided to experiment by making a street-sign-collage-clad door for access to my attic. The location is basically out of sight in the house – you know – just in case it didn’t work out so well…We started with the the giant hole in the wall which had been covered by 2 planks all winter (bye bye heating $$) –

Attic access before

Upcycle Street Signs:

We started this project over a year ago, shocking how time goes by! You can read about it here. Beginning with a rough layout of the attic opening, we marked the edges with string so we could better visualize what we had. Then, we cut the signs to fit and removed the rounded edges with the chop saw, pre-drilled holes for our nails, and nailed the signs down with galvanized nails. Two important notes: We laid it out so that we had NO long cuts – this reduced the risk of wobbly lines and, yes, the nails protrude from the plywood backing – but will later be covered by thick rigid insulation so we won’t impale anyone.

The angled pieces were left long so that they could be cut all at once and hopefully result in a straight line. With the signs firmly attached to the board, we clamped on a straight edge to use as a guide for our skill saw – donned safety glasses, ear plugs, and can you believe it, no camera – and cut. It worked, mostly. Just a bit of filing for a few rough spots and on to installing the hardware. The latches, hinges and handle are intentionally offset –  we do this sometimes, and it’s often more visually interesting. And avoids measuring. We hauled it up the stairs, up the ladder, into the tiny loft space of the kid’s room, and fit it into the jamb. As we sat looking (gazing, lovingly) at it, we suddenly realized – it didn’t need the fir trim we had initially designed – the galvanized flashing used to trim the exposed drywall edge was enough to finish the project. Funky. Industrial. Even my boys like it (especially at night with flashlights)!

Green, Salvage, Up-cycle

Chunky, industrial handle

Street signs, Green, Design, Door



he Humble Brag Supporting Habitat for Humanity

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3 thoughts on “Designing With Street Signs

    • Fine so far – they don’t touch it much since it accesses the attic. If I needed it sturdier I would screw the signs on, but we did use long, 3 1/2 inch screws to attach the hinges through the drywall and deep into the studs. That baby is going to stay put! Now we are brainstorming more sign projects, the material is so easy to work with! Love the lamp link – very fun!

      • Yah yah, probably not needing everyday access to the attic, so perfect there. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the rest of them.

        If you ever see one of them lamps at a good price, scoop it up, even if you don’t like it, they go like hotcakes on Ebay.

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