Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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80 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S MASTER'S TOUCH keep on hand. Someone had written on the pattern to try that brand of tape, but I used the full roll of tape I had in my truck at the time. Regular masking tape? Forget it. I tried a little of it just as a test, but that was a total waste of time. One very important factor in taping large patterns like this in place, and also preventing them from tearing and self destructing, is to use clear packaging tape to reinforce the edges of the pat- tern everywhere. The company making the patterns did this for me, but once I cut it into smaller sections, there were edges that were not bordered with pack- aging tape, and this is where the paper might try to tear, and where it was harder to tape it securely to the wall. Having the clear tape edging makes the pattern much tougher, but also gives a wonder- ful surface to tape over when placing the pattern on the wall. The duct tape will grab that tape edge better than bare paper, and tears in the pattern are rare (very important). It took most of a workday to get the several large sections of that large pattern in place, pounce it, and with the patterns removed, trace over the lines again to keep a brief summer shower from eras- ing all the work that had been done. I have drawn more complicated designs than this working from a simple scale drawing, with a 1' x 1' graph grid super- imposed over the design. On the jobsite the full scale design is hand drawing from point to point, grid square to grid square using a tape measure and large level. I am not sure that method of placing this large simple logo on the wall would not have been faster than messing with the paper giant I jousted with that day. With the image clearly drawn on the wall, I returned the next morning and was up in that bucket and already paint- ing before the sun popped over the hori- zon. That was a good thing because of the heat and the need to get the painting completed in only one day. Fortunately, late in the summer I am usually accli- mated to the heat, and there was a bit of a breeze all day. So I just kept plugging along even though that hot black wall was no friend of mine. First I outlined each large letter with an old but decent brush, putting on a couple of coats at least and defining each letter with a paint stroke several inches wide, almost a foot in some places. This does not take years and years of skill, just a marginally steady hand, and a bit of patience. To me, it was just play time as I like being out of the shop and don't mind fooling around with paint once again. After that step, a 4" wide "fuzzy" roller, a high-quality one that did not leave much fuzz behind, was the next weapon of choice, and it was not hard to paint two or three coats of paints on everything inside the lines, which was a requirement because of the black surface. The paint was pretty good, a Sherwin- Williams acrylic latex enamel of indus- trial quality, provided to me in a five gal- lon bucket, though I used less than two gallons to complete the whole job. Lastly, I found some of the black paint they had painted the building with, which had a satin finish, and painted over some tape residue from the duct tape, which was easier (much easier) to cover with paint than to remove. Any drips or flaws in my red paint job were touched up at this time as well. In the end, it really was a fun job, and not a bad paying job since I had so little cost in it, not even the patterns. Some sign pros in this day might turn down a project like this, but there's no reason to. They're actually just straight forward sign jobs that often pay pretty well. And it's always fun, even years later, to step back and say, "I put that up there," and know you have left a mark of your work, in your community, in ways few people would ever have a chance to… which suits this old sign maker just fine. SDG I only used one 4" wide high-quality "fuzzy" roller for the whole job, applying about three coats of paint, which was drying so fast I didn't have to wait much at all between coats. Roller painting the centers of the let- ters was pretty fast, but still took a while just because of the size of the work and the need to move carefully and slowly in the man- lift, not risking putting a dent or scratch on the building itself, or on the sign guy as far as that goes.

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