Art SignWorks, Inc.
41785 Elm Street
Suite 302
Murrieta, CA 92562
Phone 951-698-8484

Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Pacific Time.

© Art Sign Works

Product Line 1A - Carved, Sandblasted & Painted Faux Wood Grain HDU Signs & Plaques (STYLES and PRICE CODES 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6)

Carved and Sandblasted HDU Signs & Plaques that have the Appearance of Stained Wood Grain Patterns and Textures

Fig. 1 - Airbrush Painted Sign with a Carved 3-D Background Texture

Welcome to  Product Line 1A,  which shows some  of our  High Density Urethane (HDU)  indoor and outdoor signs & plaques which have been carved and painted to look like naturally finished and stained wood, or faux wood ("faux bois" in French). Approximate prices for Product Line 1A signs & plaques are given in Lines 1.1.1 , 1.1.3, 1.1.4, 1.1.5 and 1.1.6  in Fig 4B on our  Prices & Design Options page. 

We make many thousands of real wood (Mahogany, Cedar, Redwood, Maple, Oak and Cherry) signs and plaques each year (see Gallery 3) ,  but there is a need for HDU signs that look very similar to wood, especially for outdoor use, because faux wood HDU signs & plaques have  significant advantages over real  wood signs and plaques  such as  Cedar, Redwood, Mahogany Maple, and Oak (which we also make), especially for outdoor signs. 

These advantages include:

  • HDU faux wood  signs & plaques are less expensive; they have 40% to 70% of the price of wood signs 
  • HDU outdoor signs & plaques last longer (3 to 10 times as long)  and require much less maintenance than outdoor wood signs, and they retain their original appearance far longer. They will not crack, split, or rot like wood signs eventually do, because they are completely waterproof, even if their paint wears off,
  • HDU signs & plaques are lighter; they have weights that are  50% to 80% that of wood signs & plaques. This makes hanging and wall signs easier to install.
  • For small detailed signs and plaques, HDU carves cleaner and more precisely because it has no grain structure.

However, we still make many thousands of real wood signs each year (see Gallery 3). .  Almost all of them are stained and varnished,  because they have a natural beauty that HDU faux wood signs cannot match, which is particularly important for indoor plaques and smaller wood signs. For large outdoor free-standing or hanging signs, real wood signs also have the advantage of being  stronger and more rugged than HDU signs.  For example, our National Park Signs are usually made of Western Red Cedar wood,  but these are painted and receive routine maintenance, To increase the strength of our free-standing post-and-panel HDU signs, we can reinforce them with steel perimeter flat-bar frames or back or internal steel steel structures, so they are as strong as wood signs. 

Fig. 2 -Multi-color wood grain smooth background sign, with simulated wood planks


In summary, faux wood signs  are often a better choice than naturally finished wood signs, especially when the sign is outdoors exposed to the weather. Naturally finished indoor wooden wall plaques are often the best choice when appearance and tradition are paramount.



If you have just entered our website and you want an overview of our company and all our products or other informational web pages such as our  Home page, you can view these by clicking on a title in the  gray box in the upper left margin. Other Product and Application photo galleries can be viewed by using the slider to scroll down that gray box and clicking on a numbered title.   If you are using a cell phone, you can click on the 3 red bars on the top right of your screen to see this menu.

Fig. 3 - Carved 3D Textures Simulating Rough Sandblasted or Weathered Wood

STYLES OF FAUX WOOD HDU SIGNS We use a combination of carving and painting to create our faux wood grain HDU signs. We make 4 basic styles of faux wood HDU signs (1) carved 3-D background texture signs; (2) multi-color wood grain smooth background signs (3) multi-color wood grain sandblasted  background signs , and (4) single color wood grain sandblasted  background signs. The first two styles have the closest appearance to different hardwood species of wood such as Mahogany, Maple and Cherry , whereas  styles (3) and (4) are more stylized representations of sandblasted softwood signs such as Redwood and Cedar. Signs in these four styles are shown in the numbered sections in the photo Gallery below. Each of these four styles are  described below.

(1) Carved 3-D background texture signs. These HDU signs & plaques have their backgrounds carved with a CNC router in textures that (1) have the appearance of hand-carved hardwoods such as Mahogany, Oak  or Cherry (examples of this technique are shown in Figures 1 and 6; other examples are shown in Section 1  of the Gallery below, photos M1853 and M1859 to M1870.) or (2) look like rough-sawn, barn wood, sandblasted  or weathered  softwoods like fir, pine, cedar and redwood, which have a more pronounced grain pattern than hardwoods. Fig 3 and Fig 8  shows different patterns which you can select that we can carve into the HDU. A sign can be carved to look like it is made up of different wood boards  on a single sign board, each with their own texture. Figs 4 and 5  show  examples of  sign  with an example of this technique. The different textures are painted with an airbrush using long-lasting Matthews  acrylic polyurethane paint (MAP) to provide subtle color variations. The sign can then be clear-coated with matte  or satin Matthews clear. 

Fig. 4 - Carved 3D rough textured multi-board sign simulating sandblasted or weathered wood, with aluminum letters

(2) Multi-color wood grain smooth flat background signs. These HDU signs & plaques have their smooth backgrounds engraved  with a CNC router, so they have the appearance of  a stained and clear-coated wood sign with its grain showing in a smooth face .These signs & plaques have their the wood grain patterns are painted with an airbrush and artist brush, , rather than carved into the surface. Examples of this technique are shown in Figures 2, 6, 9 and 10; other examples are shown in Section 2  of the Gallery below, photos M1871 to M1900.



Fig. 5 - Carved 3D rough textured multi-board sign simulating sandblasted or weathered wood, with smooth painted letters and border


(3) Multi-color airbrushed sandblasted wood grain  signs . For this style, we  sandblast the backgrounds of HDU signs  using a a metal frame mask with horizontal steel wires to carve textures comprised of raised horizontal ridges where the wires (which can be slightly curved and with a spacing that can be varied) block the blasted abrasives so the HDU is not removed from the surface  This creates a texture similar to that of a sandblasted Redwood sign, where sandblasting erodes the softer wood between growth rings which are hard. After sandblasting, the sign's background is painted with an airbrush using slightly different colors, creating the appearance of color variations in wood grain. Fig 10 shows an example of this technique; other examples are shown in Section 3  of the Gallery below, photos M1903 to M1934. 

(4) Single color wood grain sandblasted  background signs. This technique is similar to (3) above, except the sandblasted backgrounds are painted with a single background color, rather than several different shades and hues. Consequently, the backgrounds do not resemble real wood as much as technique (3) above, which is  generally the customer's preference. Examples of this are shown in Section 4 of the Gallery below, photos M1934 to M1984. 

(5) Distressed or Aged Faux Wood Signs. This painted technique is used to simulate aged, burned  or distressed wood which may have been stained but is discolored at edges or along grain lines.  The backgrounds may be smooth or  sandblasted. Backgrounds are painted with two or three colors. Examples of this are shown in Section 5 of the Gallery below, photos M1990 and M1991.  

Fig. 6 -Multi-color wood grain smooth background sign

The custom faux wood signs and wall plaques in this photo Gallery 1A have styles that range from elegant  to rustic.  We can also incorporate your design concepts, including logos, seals, photos, paintings, and drawings into the design of your sign or plaque. Most of our designs shown on this website are the result of a collaboration between our designers and the customer. We can turn nearly any artwork into a beautiful and unique custom faux wood dimensional sign or plaque.

We  have 45 photo galleries of various application (e.g, farm signs, pub signs, park signs, address signs, cabin signs,  military signs, etc.) on this website, many of which contain faux wood signs & plaques. These  can be viewed by clicking on a title in the  gray box in the upper left margin. If you are on a cell phone, click on the 3 red bars on the top right of your screen to see this menu.  




Fig. 7 - Airbrush and Artist-Brush Painted Sign which has a Carved 3-D Background Texture

OUR FAUX WOOD HDU SIGNS ARE MADE OF THE FINEST MATERIALS, AND HAVE LONG LIFE & MINIMAL MAINTENANCE.  We use the very best materials and manufacturing processes to create signs which have a very long life (20+ years) and require very little maintenance. We provide a warranty of 2 years, and we expect our HDU signs to last for several decades. We carve our HDU signs and plaques out of premium ultra High-Density-Urethane (HDU) Precision Board Plus sheets  made by Coastal Enterprises, in Orange, CA. We use 20 lb/ft3 HDU for all our signs & plaques, which is 30% denser and stronger than the 15 lb/ft3 HDU used by other sign manufacturing companies. Our signs carve cleaner, last longer, and are less susceptible to impact damage than HDU signs made by other companies. We use exclusively Ultra Low VOC  Matthews automotive-grade 2-part polyurethane acrylic paint and clear-coats, which are UV and graffiti resistance, so there is very little fading when the sign is exposed to direct sunlight, and graffiti can usually be cleaned off with acetone. Matthews paints cost $200/gallon, compared to house paints which cost $40/gallon that most other sign companies use. Matthews MAP will last  20 years or more before re-painting. We use 1-Shot Low  VOC Oil-Based High Gloss Lettering Enamels for text and artwork. 1 Shot is simply the best (and most expensive) lettering enamel in the world. It costs $200/gallon.

Fig 8 - We Offer Many Different Faux Wood Grain Textures and Colors, Including Those Shown Above


Fig. 9 -Airbrushed multi-color painted wood grain background, for engraved sign with a smooth face

.OUR PRICES.  Our custom designed smaller 2.5-D signs, 18 inches to 24 inches wide, have retail prices that range $200 to $440. Medium size single-face signs, from 24 inches to 36 inches wide, have retail prices from $300  to $850.  Large signs, from 48 inches to 96 inches in width and 36 to 60 inches high,  have retail prices from $800  to $3000+. Our sign prices depend primarily on sign area, whether they are single or double-faced, their design detail and complexity (e.g., depth of carving, complexity and fine detail, number of paint colors and amount of artist-painting, and any special features (e.g., steel reinforcements and frames, overlays, gold leaf, etc.). These prices do not include posts or support structures, which we sell separately.  Approximate prices for Product Line 1A signs & plaques are given in Lines 1.1.4, 1.1.5 and 1.1.6 in Fig 4 on our  Prices & Design Options page. Please call us at 951-698-8484 or email us at for quotes for your specific sign project. 

Fig. 10 - Sign with a smooth face and a painted Birch wood grain background with simulated wood planks

PLEASE CONTACT US - WE HAVE GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. Please call or email us for a price quote on a specific sign. We will work with you to design and build the exact sign or plaque you want. Our knowledgeable and helpful Customer Service Representatives, Christie, Regina and Liz, will respond to your request promptly. Call us at 951-698-8484 or email us at Or, you can fill out and submit our on-line Request an Estimate Form.  We take great pride in every sign or plaque we make for our valued clients.



Fig. 11 - Airbrush and Artist-Brush Painted Sign which has a Sandblasted Wood Grain Background Texture


HOW TO NAVIGATE THIS SITE. You can scroll down the page to see more sign designs by using the slider in the right edge of this page. You can expand a photo and get information on the sign by clicking on the photo. After you expand a photo, to return to this Gallery page, click on  "Return to List" at the bottom right of the sign or text.

 Prices & design options, request a quote, place an order, and  our Home page,  can be viewed by clicking on a title in the  gray box in the upper left margin. Photo galleries can be viewed by using the slider to scroll down that gray box and clicking on a title.  If you are on a cell phone, click on the 3 red bars on the top right of your screen to see this menu.



Powered by PrinterPresence