While smaller signs are easily installed with steel wires or frames, these wires will not support highway signs. This leads to the all too common question, "How Do I install my Highway Signs?"
There are many answers to this question and the method of installation depends largely on time, budget and creativity. In my experience, candidates have used everything from PVC pipe to chicken wire to hold up their signs. However, the process really does not need to be difficult. Below are 3 sets of simple instructions which I use to advise my clients about highway sign installation:
1.) Double Sided Signs with T-post - (Supplies Needed: T-post -2 per sign, Hammer or Mallet, zip-ties)
In most cases, your signs will be used in high-traffic areas, so it is important to expose your message to both directions of traffic. If you order your signs double-sided, you can use T-posts as your sign holders. T-posts are available at any hardware or home improvement store. They are typically sold in 6 foot lengths ranging between $3 and $5 each.
To install your signs, simply pound the T-post in the ground using a hammer or mallet. Space them apart so they are equal to the width of your sign, leaving approximately 2 inches on each side for the sign. Leave enough of the post exposed to equal the height of your sign.
Once your posts are installed, simply set your sign on the ground between the 2 posts. Drill small holes at the top and bottom of the right and left sides of your signs (you can actually poke through the corrugated plastic, rather than drill). Then simply run your zip-ties through the holes in your signs, then through the holes of your T-posts. Then, pull your ties tight. That's it!
This method of installation will adequately support your sign and is certainly the easiest. On a 4'x8' sign, you may want to also zip a post in the middle. During heavy winds, the sign could "sag" in the middle. As an alternative, you may also use 2"x2" wood posts and simply screw your sign into them.
2.) Single-Sided Signs with Posts "Sandwiched" - (Supplies Needed: T-post - 2 per sign, Hammer or Mallet, plastic zip-ties)
This method is very similar to the above method, however, there is extra cost involved, but it is a bit more aesthetically pleasing. Pound your T-posts two feet into the ground and far enough apart to be within the borders of the sign. Then line up your sign panel, and drill 2 small holes about 1" apart (vertically). Align the holes in the sign with the holes in your post and run a zip-tie through the holes on the sign and the holes on the T-posts. Cut off the excess tie. Repeat this step on the other side.
The holes will be unnoticeable from a few feet away and your signs will appear to be free-standing. The other advantage of this method is that you will have no opacity (see-through) issues. Backing the signs will block sun light from shining through the plastic.
3.) Single-sided signs with backing - (Supplies Needed: Drill, screws, zip-ties)
This is by far the simplest method, but requires a pre-existing structure. The other down-side is that only one side of the sign is exposed.
Basically, this is a method where you attach your signs to a building, fence, barn, etc. If attaching to a building, a strong double-sided adhesive will usually do the trick. If you're in the marketing for corrugated plastic signs (http://www.campaignpros.com/corrugated-yard-signs.htm), the 4'x8' signs only weigh five pounds. Ideally, you could drill holes and run screws right into the structure, but this is typically frowned upon. Fences are ideal. Just follow the steps in the previous 2 examples and use drill holes and zip-ties.
A very resourceful candidate may create their own plywood structure and screw their signs directly to their home-made frame. The stability and look of this method is unbeatable, but installation can be very expensive and time consuming.
Installation of political signs (http://www.campaignpros.com/campaign-materials.htm) on the highway can be a very simple, inexpensive process and the results are huge. Don't be intimidated by the installation. A trip to the hardware store and a sunny weekend can put your sign campaign over the top.