(Last modified on March 26th, 2020)
Signs show everyone who reads them the terms of the land, so to speak. They set some basic rules. Road signs tell you the speed limit. Street signs tell you what to call that street and whether you should be there or not as you navigate. Restaurant signs tell you loud and proud that they’re there to give you the food and energy you need. But what about man cave signs? Well, they serve a purpose of their own. You can use them in all kinds of ways which I’ll be talking about today. Since man caves need to be distinct from the outside world in order to encourage relaxation, a man cave sign is one of the first things it needs. I've even gone into depth about why you need one in a previous post. So, are you interested in learning how to make a man cave sign? Grab your crafting tools and prepare to learn!
Before you start gathering tools or get building, think about what sort of sign you want. The easiest type of sign simply has the name of the man that owns the cave. Its message is ‘in this place, this dude’s word is law,’ or maybe simply ‘this place belongs to this dude.’ Another type of man cave sign—and my personal favorite—is one that calls the cave by its name. Oh, did you know you could name your man cave? Well, now you do. And you really should. If you can’t think of anything, a simple ‘Man Cave’ or ‘Mantuary’ plaque will do.
The last (but certainly not least) type of sign you see at the front of a man cave is a set of rules. Putting them into wood or metal really solidifies them…and more than literally. It drives home the point that the man cave is a totally different space with its own set of rules. If you need help thinking of rules, check out these man cave rule ideas I wrote down a while ago. It makes the place seem like its own dimension! So how do we go about making these man cave signs DIY?
As for materials? Wooden signs are very easy to DIY, but there are a few neat options to make your bar stand out. For example, personalized lighted man cave signs make a bar look spectacular and authentic at the same time. If you want to know more about making a fancy man cave bar, read this post I wrote on the matter. These ones are a bit more expensive to construct and might require you to order something special. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though!
For regular wood signs, check your local lumber yard for some cheap scrap wood or grab some from a home improvement store. For larger things, such as sheds, I would be picky with wood…but for signs, anything will do. You can use a saw to carve your name out of this wood…or, more simply, chip away your name from the interior. It’s a bit like carving a pumpkin, but you’ll want a very good knife for the job.
If you don’t feel like dealing with woodchips everywhere or if you need to be precise about your work, go ahead and purchase a wood burner. These are incredibly cheap (some pens at Walmart sell for more) and sold at every craft store I’ve ever heard of. You can use these to draw on designs. There are several different nibs to give you different effects. Lastly, you might want to consider airbrushing. Get an airbrush, air compressor, whatever colors you want, and those transparent page protectors they sell at office supply stores.
Unless you know what you’re doing and have done it before, I recommend grabbing a kit for both metal signs and personalized, lighted signs. You still put it all together yourself, but a lot of the dangerous parts are removed from the equation. You can find these kits on Amazon or from companies that specialize in custom signs.
Humor always gives away your true personality. You can be silly, dry, sarcastic, or stick to traditional jokes. Whatever your style is, stick to it as you make a funny man cave sign. If you just use a phrase that you pulled off the net, it won’t have the same luster. When you make a man cave sign, try using jokes, phrases, or memes that have already passed out of your mouth or through your hands. Not only is it funnier in the end (tried and true), it makes your man cave really feel like it belongs to you. Personalized man cave signs allow you to freely express yourself, so it would be a waste if you make a funny sign that just steals a joke you found on the spot.
When in doubt, ask others about your ‘catchphrases’ or signature jokes. If you have any sense of humor, they’ll have something to tell you. Even if the reply is ‘your face is your signature joke,’ they’ll follow up with a proper answer. Of course, only ask those close to you about this. Coworkers that you spend five minutes per day talking to won’t exactly know your inner soul.
For simple man cave signs, use blackout cloth or black construction paper to form the outside. Make a box or lantern with your desired words cut into your material and light it up from the back with low-temperature LED lights. You can cut your text out metal or plastic if you have the funds to do so. To make a professional man cave sign light up on par with bar signs, use transparent plastic cut into the shape of your desired letters, rather than combining them all into one lamp.
If you want neon lights, you’ll have to seek out professional help—and that help costs quite a lot. What’s a man to do? There are ways to imitate a true neon sign. Grab some neon light wire and metal wire—both of which are cheap on Amazon and inside craft stores. Use the metal wire to create a cursive or contour structure. Attach the neon wire to this foundation and then plug it in. If you did it properly, it should look tidy and light up as you plug it in. Make sure to hide any extra lit wire and hang it up with non-obtrusive hooks. You can combine many wires to create multi-colored signs…just make sure not to go overboard and fill up all your electrical outlets. These work best for simple signs rather than complex rule lists.
In the end, making a man cave sign is about more than putting materials together. It’s about finding what sort of message you want to convey and where you want to convey it. A good sign stands out from the rest of the room and labels its surroundings. As one of the most defining features of your man cave, it’s definitely something you need to put thought into.
As for my personal favorite method of sign building? I love making custom signs out of wood, carving out a smooth edge, and burning custom text or designs into the grains. It smells just like a campfire and allows just as much freedom as drawing with a marker would. Wood burners are also less than $10…but that’s neither here nor there! Hopefully this post helped you learn how to make a man cave sign. Take the time to think about what your man cave truly needs and put all of that into your work!