Quick “Do Not Disturb” Sign

It’s a fairly safe bet that, at some point or other, everybody has wanted a “Do Not Disturb” sign for their room. Unfortunately, the kind you hang on your door handle tend to be difficult to make and don’t always work very well with certain doors. (Mine, for example. It eats them in a day or two.)

As such, I’m going to tell you about a quick and easy way to make something a little more interesting: The type of hanging flip-sign you always see in the movies with “Open” on one side and “Closed” on the other. One additional pleasant feature of this design is that most dollar store handy-persons will already have all the necessary materials.

Before I start, keep in mind that I am not including pictures because I can’t find my digital camera. However, this project only takes 5 minutes and costs about $5 if you have to buy all the parts brand new at the dollar store, so I decided not to wait.

What you will need: (Materials assume Canadian pricing and standards. Adjust as necessary)

  • 1 small hook (I used peel-and-stick adhesive ones meant for lockers. $1 for 4 at the dollar-store)
  • 4 paper clips ($1 for a package of at least 100 at the dollar store)
  • 18 inches of string ($1 for a 300-foot reel at the dollar store)
  • 1 US Letter-size piece of cardboard from the back of a pad of writing paper ($1 at the dollar store)
  • 2 pieces of US Letter-size photocopier paper (16¢ from a photocopier as a source of last resort)
  • Markers or a computer and printer

You may already have guessed how this is going to work.

  1. Install the hook on or near your door. I prefer the small metal adhesive hooks because they look nice and, though it’s not a problem for me, they are more parent/roommate/spouse-friendly than the screw-in kind or the rather ugly plastic adhesive kind.
  2. Tie two of the paperclips together with the string, placing them no more than 13 inches and no less than 11.5 inches apart. Double- or triple-knot both ends and then trim away the excess.
  3. Print your chosen back and front messages on the two pieces of paper. Attach them to the front and back of the cardboard by securing the corners with the paperclips.
  4. You’re done. Hang the sign on the hook and enjoy.

For those who are wondering, the reasons for not putting the message directly on the cardboard are threefold:

  • Cardboard is usually brown which makes for ugly signs.
  • By securing the messages with paperclips, we ensure that they can be easily changed if necessary.
  • Even if the top two concerns are negated, cardboard appropriate for making signs is too thick to fit into a computer printer

CC BY-SA 4.0 Quick “Do Not Disturb” Sign by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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