1. Contact New Bohemia Signs with scope of work (see FAQ below).
  2. We'll reply with a bid or price.
  3. If the bid is accepted, we require a 50% deposit as well as any art files, Pantone colors, or other aides you'd like us to have.
  4. Once we have the deposit, we schedule the work.
  5. We get started!

What do you need to provide a bid (price)?

  • Sign dimensions
  • Single or double sided
  • The exact text or copy
  • Number of colors we need to match (you can provide examples or we use the Pantone coated book for reference)
  • Font name (if you need us to match a particular font)
  • If you want effects on fonts (such as shadows or outlines).
  • If you want a logo (a jpg logo file or even a crude drawing helps)
  • If we are painting directly on a wall, then we need to know the wall surface (i.e. smooth drywall or rough stucco). We may have to visit the location to determine "how rough" unless you can provide detailed photos.

How do you price your signs?

Detail is more of an issue than size. We estimate our time for painting, design, construction, and how many colors we need to match. We then figure in material costs and travel if we're working on location.

Single color letters with no effects are the quickest to paint. Drop shadows usually take about half as much time as painting the original letters and outlines about the same amount of time. So a line of text with an hour long paint time would take 1.5 hours with a drop shadow or 2 hours with an outline.

Can you work with a budget?

Yes, we actually prefer to work within budgets, especially if we are designing. So if someone wants to spend $400 versus someone who wants to spend $1,600 we can design accordingly.

Can you match colors?

Yes. You can reference the Pantone coated chart or tangible examples such as paint chips you provide. If you don't have a Pantone book, you can look at ours. We use the actual printed Pantone book as reference - trying to communicate colors across computer screens is a useless endeavor. We mix by hand and eye and can get very close to Pantone color choices, but we can't promise scientific precision!

I would like to provide artwork for the sign - what do you need from me?

If your design is in digital format we'd like the artwork as a vectorized file (.eps or .ai work nicely), to the exact sign dimensions, with all the type "outlined". But we can work from detailed, scale drawings as well. If the sign is very large, such as wall lettering, then the art should be at 1 inch = 1 foot scale.

I want New Bohemia to design my sign - what do you need from me?

You can bring visual references to our shop or email us digital files of designs you like. Patience is important as the back and forth design process can take time. We'll do all we can to encourage you to describe to us exactly what you want your sign to look like - because then you're more likely to get it.

What materials do you paint on?

We usually paint our signs on MDO or DiBond.

MDO is a plywood made for outdoor use sign-boards bound with marine grade adhesives and epoxy-sealed paper faces. We seal the edges with an elastomeric sealant. For double-sided signs and A-frames we use 3/4" MDO and for single sided signs we use 1/2" MDO.

DiBond is thin - about 1/8" - nylon sandwiched between two sheets of aluminum. We use MDO & DiBond since they are made for outdoor signage, and have smooth faces for our lettering quills.

We can also paint on most anything you bring in. We've painted on antique fireplace screens, bikes, airplane cowls, and plenty of other surfaces, so just tell us what you have in mind.

Can you paint a sign on reclaimed wood?

We rarely source reclaimed wood but can paint on it. Keep in mind that if the wood is raw that we'll have to seal underneath the lettering with a primer layer (unless the paint soaking into the wood and spreading a bit is an effect you're looking for) and if the wood surface is rough, painting takes longer than on smooth MDO. We will take these factors into consideration when making a bid.

Building Resources in San Francisco and Urban Ore in Berkeley may have reclaimed wood.

How long does it take to get a sign?

Usually 3-4 weeks. We are typically booked up to 2-3 weeks in advance and actual sign production takes about a week. If you need a sign sooner, ask and we may be able to move our schedule around.

What's the smallest lettering you can paint?

1/2" caps are about as small as we feel comfortable going. Truth is: we're not exactly calligraphers. Our tools and skills are tailored toward inscriptions larger than a notebook page. We're willing to attempt tinier work, but the imprecisions of our craft, at larger sizes might help to imbue a certain hand-crafted charm. At smaller sizes they tend to devolve into...well, just imprecision.

I don't live in SF - can you ship a sign?

Yes, we can ship you a sign. We'll box it up and charge you a nominal box & handling charge.

Will you make a vinyl sign?

No. If you are in San Francisco, we recommend Budget Signs.

I have an interior-lighted sign. Can you paint it?

It's not a good idea to paint the translucent plexiglass faces of interior lighted signs (cans). When the sign is lit from within, the brushstrokes show and a flat field of color is not possible. We recommend using vinyl for an interior lighted sign. We are willing to provide you with a design which you can have someone else produce in vinyl.

Where can I find New Bohemia?

Our address is 281 9th St. San Francisco, CA 94103.

How do I care for my painted windows or gold on glass?

For information about care, download our handy Window Care Guide.