Library Protest sign making 101

I have been speaking to a number of library workers recently who are being affected by the upcoming cuts, I am one of them! There are a number of marches and protests planned across the UK and it will be a shame if Libraries are left out of the push for social justice, so I have put together a basic how to guide on making protest signs. This can also be used as a practical workshop for young people who feel they may want to protest.

It is also good for Friends of Library Groups that may wish to protest branch closures on a Local Authority level.


  • Poster boards (A3)
  • Ruler
  • Marker pens / Paint
  • Stencils
  • Pencils
  • Handles
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Duct tape

Select a thick board that won’t easily bend or tear in strong winds. Also, select a board that’s white – or, if choosing coloured board, make sure it is a light colour that won’t distract from the message.

Writing the message:

  • You will need a pencil, a ruler and a thick black marker for this part, especially if you don’t have stencils.
  • Using the ruler, measure the board and letter size – you do not want to start and then run out of space.
  • Using the pencil, lightly trace out the letters of the slogan, make them as large as you can (so that the slogan is legible from a distance)
  • Once you have a design you’re satisfied with, use your marker to outline the letters.
  • If there is a particular word you want to emphasise, consider adding colour. Red will make it stand out and look dramatic, but outline the word in black so it’s readable.

There is a how to construct a stencil guide at the bottom of the article.

Constructing your sign

Use glue to attach the sign to the handle and then use a staple gun for additional strength, for the paranoid you can use tape to make sure the sign will stay attached to the handle. If you use wood for the handle it may be advisable to wrap the end you hold in take so you do not get splinters.

Hold your poster up with both hands where people can see it. It is, of course, make sure it is right side up! Alternatively you can attach a handle to your sign.


These should be clear, concise, and readable – remember that people will only have a few seconds to read your message, by all means have some leaflets to hand out as well detailing your views.  Humorous slogans can work well, as do images.

For example:

We will not be shhhhhh’ed!

Close Tax Loopholes Not Libraries!

Making a stencil

  • Come up with a design – it is best to do this once you have measured the board as you may end up with letters that are too large or small for the size of the board.
  • It is important to remember that you cannot have ‘islands’ such as the middle of an O or R. You can use straight lines to connect the islands.
  • Transfer your designs to a piece of cardboard (cereal boxes can be used to make stencils). You can also draw out your designs on paper and then photocopy them on to thinner pieces of board.
  • Use a sharp craft knife to cut out the design. Blunt blades can rip the board wasting your work.
  • Spray-paint works best with cardboard stencils, you can also use acrylic paint and dab it through the stencil using a sponge or brush.
  • Remember to wipe excess paint off the stencil as this will help it to last longer.

3 Thoughts on “Library Protest sign making 101

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention teen librarian » Blog Archive » Library Protest sign making 101 --

  2. Great post Matt. I will be forwarding it to the local Libraries. I dont think Wales is as badly affected as England but cuts are cuts are cuts nonetheless.
    I hope all the protests/campaigns/petitions work. GOOD LUCK

  3. Charlie on January 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm said:

    Nice job Matt. 😉

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