French Outpost Sign in St. Ignace – Built To Last

Rain. Sleet. Hail. Wind. Ninety inches of snow last season. Life on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is no walk in the park during wintertime. As sign makers tasked with building a sign for a business in St. Ignace, The Graphix Garage knew their sign would need to be able to take some serious punishment from Mother Nature.

Steep in French-Indian history and possessing breathtaking views of the world-famous Mackinac Bridge, St. Ignace, MI, is a popular tourist destination. Recently-opened souvenir store French Outpost needed a sign to attract passerby and trusted The Graphix Garage to get the job done.

“Our customer sent us a 2-D visual image of their logo, and we did our due diligence in explaining the benefits of turning it into a 3-D sign,” says  Jen Devos, owner of The Graphix Garage. “Once we explained the visual impact and attraction of a 3-D sign, the customer agreed and we set to work.”

Using and Vectric Aspire software, Graphix Garage fine-tuned the “French Outpost” logo prior to cutting it out of PBLT-20 on their ShopBot CNC router. “The sign was made in several layers, from a combination of 1/2″, 1″ and 1.5″ thick Precision Board bonded together with PB-Bond-240,” states Devos. “The Fleur-de-lis is also made with Precision Board Plus, and its attached to a piece of 16 gauge metal with Magic Sculpt over it to give it an aged look.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.10.16 PM

“Living on the upper Peninsula definitely adds a little more to the job,” says Devos. “We prefer using only 20lb. Precision Board, and usually suggest that signs are at least 20 feet from the road so the snow plows do as little damage as possible. We use no less that 3 coats of paint, and usually 2-3 glazes to ensure our signs look good for a long time.”

3684703_origThe letters are made out of 1/2″ 20lb Precision Board

After assembling the sign, it was primed using FSC-88WB that was applied with a sponge to give it a rippled texture, which would resemble hammered-metal once painted over. Paints consisted of Sherwin-Williams Acrylic Outdoor paint, and Modern Masters metallic Pharoah’s Gold. Two coats of glaze were also applied to give the sign an antique look, and an additional third coat was applied, a clear base from Sherwin-Williams that can also be mixed with paint to act as a clear coat. The end result, is a sturdy, weather-resistant sign that also looks great!


Jen Devos started making signs in 1998 as a part-time hobby, eventually opening the Graphix Garage in 2008. The Graphix Garage is a full-service sign company, specializing in 3-D signs. According to the owner Jen Devos, “We use Precision Board Plus because it carves beautifully, holds great detail whether its being cut with hands tools or a CNC machine, and it works great with Magic Sculpt!”

See more info about The Graphix Garage at: