Mexican Restaurant Sign

By Martin Ramirez

When Martin’s brother Francisco bought El Tacotote, they changed the name to El Palmar (The Palms). Rather than paying a professional sign maker over $1,000 to paint another sign on plywood, Martin decided to try his hand at making a 3D sign out of foam. The backing is 1/2″ plywood and the rest of the sign is 1# EPS foam painted with outdoor acrylics. The city would only allow 3 solid colors. Martin was amazed that it only took him a few hours to make his own custom sign.

Foam sign display

Martine and his helpers, proud of their new sign

Stencil use for foam signs

They enlarged the font from their menu and had a friend print it on clear acetate on a home laser printer (it smeared when they tried it on a laser printer). They borrowed an old overhead projector and projected the letters and palm trees directly onto the foam and drew the outlines on the foam with a water based pen.


Martin used the Scroll Table to cut out all the letters, and the Hot Knife to cut out the large sun and palm trees.

 The letters took two coats of paint to seal. He used the Engraving Tool to trace the outline of the the second palm tree from the first one, then he just flipped it over so they would appear to be gracefully leaning towards each other.Signs_DISP_elpalmar_07

The final stage, gluing the components together

Foam sign made with hotwire foam factory tools