Sign Painting Supplies

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are "bulletin colors" and when should I use them?

    Bulletin colors also have a gloss surface, but are thinner than enamels and do not provide as high a level of coverage. They are suitable for fresh surfaces, for redoing older signs, and for covering large surfaces. Bulletin colors should only be used on a primed surface.

  • What are "enamels" and when should I use them?

    Enamels have a durable, gloss finish and can be used both inside and outside. They have excellent hiding power, so they are suited to covering older signs. Water-based enamels can be used on heavier paper mediums such as cardboard or posterboard. Enamels are not suitable for thin paper mediums.

  • What are "poster colors" and when should I use them?

    Poster colors, also called poster paints, have a flat finish, and they dry faster than enamels. Unlike water-based enamels, they can be used on thin paper mediums. They are suited to interior and short-term exterior use.

  • Do I need a primer or sealer?

    It depends on what you are covering, on the quality of the surface underneath, and on how long you expect the finished sign to last. If you are covering an older sign, a primer helps to prevent its ghostly presense from bleeding through and spoiling the appearance of the new sign. Use a sealer to prepare a surface, especially a porous surface, so that your sign will last longer.

  • Can I use acrylic paints for sign painting?

    Use only acrylics that are designed for exterior use. Exterior acrylics have a harder and less flexible finish than artist's acrylics, and they resist water. This makes them suitable for both indoor and outdoor uses, such as architectural murals and signs.

  • Do I need to use a coating or varnish to finish my sign?

    How long do you want your work to last? If it will appear in an exposed, outdoor location, we can provide a variety of varnishes, coatings, and glazes that help protect it from the ravages of wind, rain, and ultraviolet light. Some of these coatings are also designed to give it a glossy or reflective sheen.

    If your sign will appear in a protected indoor location, you might consider some of the products in our Finishes section.

  • "When all else fails, read the instructions."

    Remember that there are a variety of sign paints and accessories because no single product is right for every situation and surface. Read the instructions carefully because the manufacturer's advice on how to get the most from a sign painting product is always extremely valuable.

    The specialists in our Product Information department can also answer your questions. You'll find all the ways to contact us listed at the bottom of every page in our website. At peak times, it may take up to a day for someone to get back to you with an answer.