While retro posters can look great and have their place, they’re missing something. They’re still made of paper. Who wants paper in their man cave? Old metal is where it’s at. Vintage metal signs have a really cool look to them and they obviously last for a long time.
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Recommended Vintage Signs
One of the most popular topics for these signs is cars and motorcycles and anything that has to do with them.
- Petroleum brands
- Car brands
- Motorcycle brands
- Oil brands
- Service stations
- Other related brands
Many people have a favorite car brand or a brand they have good memories of. This is obviously a good choice for a decoration. All the other categories are less emotionally charged but some people might still prefer one over the other. These are more to create the atmosphere though.
Only having signs with one brand on them, gets a bit boring. Use the others to create the theme you’d like to have in your man cave. Check out this set of 5 oil company signs on Amazon for example.
This set of Indian motorcycles branded sings on Amazon is pretty cool too. The benefit of buying a set is that they will have the same look and quality. And you don’t have to wait for different packages from different shops!
The next big category is beer. This doesn’t need much explanation, but just to give an idea of your options;
- Beer brands
- Funny phrases with beer
- Bar signs
Like with cars, many people prefer one brand over another. But if you don’t really care about the brand, just get a sign you like the looks of. If you need to say a prayer before drinking, here is something to make you remember what to say. Click to check the price on Amazon.
Of course vehicles and beer aren’t the only things being sold to us for a long time. Other brands have tried this as well. They aren’t always as successful in creating that emotion in a brand though. People will have strong opinions about which car or beer brand is better. We don’t seem to have that emotional connection with many other types of products though.
That said, there are some brands that have created great looking signs that are cool to put on your wall even though it might not evoke the same emotional reaction.
This is a bit of a strange category. How do “futuristic” and “vintage” go together? Well, they don’t really. The signs in this category are not available as old versions (as far as I know). There are some designers who have managed to make a vintage futuristic design and put it on a metal sign.
Remember those drawings from the first half of the last century? “The world in the year 2000” Which would include all kinds of flying cars and other tech we probably won’t have for another century. That is the style I’m talking about here. Check out this Isaac Asimov inspired sign for example. Click the link to find it on Amazon.
When traveling was something that only the upper class was able to do, the adverts were pretty classy as well. These signs are usually designed by an airline or cruise line. The destinations advertised are usually very picturesque. For example this one on Amazon, featuring the beautiful tropical destination of Hawaii.
The final category of common signs is the street or location sign. A route 66 sign (Amazon link) might be one of the most popular and recognizable in the world. That’s only one example. Of course there are plenty of others. Most street signs won’t be really vintage but are great decoration nonetheless.
For street and location signs it’s more personal what you’ll like. Maybe a sign of the street you grew up in would be the best for you. Obviously not everyone grows up in the same street.
Funny names would be another great decoration. Luckily you don’t have to find and steal your favorite sign anymore. There are plenty of shops online that will make a street sign with anything on it you can imagine. The illegal way might be more fun though…
There are more topics of course. Take a look around the internet for things you like. Some things that caught my eye;
- Flying lessons
- 24 hours of Le Mans
- Superman (or any other superhero)
A guide to vintage metal signs for your man cave
Why put old signs in your man cave?
Most vintage signs are actually old advertisements. Most of us don’t put modern advertisements on our wall so why would we want old ones? Who knows? Maybe old advertisements were better, maybe it’s just nostalgia.
They are not actively trying to sell you anything anymore so it feels “safer” in some ways. Just something to be looked at and admired. Often they also bring up good memories of childhood and people at that time.
The style they’re drawn is very different as well. Actually, the fact that they’re drawn at all is something you don’t see any more in advertisements. Modern advertisements are often very “clinical”. The style of the old vintage signs feels more “real”.
In the end, the purpose they serve on the wall of your man cave is to decorate. Whether you just like the look or find some meaning in it doesn’t really matter.
It fits the style
What’s the reason for hanging it in your man cave then? Well, these type of signs usually fit the man cave décor very well. Home bar, rustic, English pub, sports themed, etc. Anything but the most modern decors can be improved by carefully placing a couple of these signs on your wall.
Where to put these signs?
What can you do with these signs?
Most metal signs come with holes in them so you can screw them into the wall. It’s the easiest and cheapest option by far.
The drawback is that you will be left with holes in your wall after you take off the sign. For most people this isn’t a big issue but if you are planning to put up a lot of signs, this can result in a wall that looks like it was in the middle of a firefight.
On a panel
To prevent this you could choose to take a wood panel (or other material if you’d like) and mount all the signs on this panel. Then mount the panel on your wall. This way you’ve saved your wall from quite a few holes.
You can also choose not to mount them at all. Put them on shelves, on top of cabinets, etc. This works great to liven up those areas.
The last option to use magnets and stick them on the fridge. Most of these signs will be made of tin and Magnets will stick to them. Magnets are cheap and available in many places. If you’ve got a big sign and are not sure if magnets will hold them, get some neodymium magnets. These are much stronger than normal magnets and can hold up much more weight.
Tape the magnet to the back of the sign for some extra safety.
Where can you find these signs?
So now you want one or more of these signs, but you don’t know where to get them. No worries, I’ve got some suggestions for you.
The best ones are obviously the ones that are actually old. Obviously they don’t sell those at IKEA so where to go?
What do you have?
You or some family members might have something interesting in their garage/basement/attic. Dig around a little in your own house, possibly you forgot about something that you like. Maybe not a sign but if you start digging around, you might come across something else you’d like to put on your wall.
If you don’t have anything yourself, ask family and friends if they’ve got something. Especially people that are a little older might have something stowed away.
If nothing comes out of your search, you’ll have to buy something. Antique shops are the most obvious place to find old things.
But who likes to go outside anymore? You don’t have to go to an antique shop when you’ve got the world’s largest thrift store right at your fingertips. Ebay.com is the place where people like to sell their old stuff. Do a search for “vintage sign” and your favorite topic and you’ll likely find a few nice examples.
Other second hand sites
Besides Ebay there are many sites where people trade their second hand “treasures”. Try the site that’s the most popular in your region.
If all this fails, you can always get replicas. On Amazon there are hundreds of new “vintage” signs. They actually look good albeit a bit too new. I guess leaving them outside for a couple of weeks in the winter could solve that problem pretty quickly.
The benefit is that you can get exactly what you like and are not dependent on what your grandpa got 50 years ago.
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