Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Signwriting for the Oil Droppers Garage

My best mate Stuart Munro has been servicing and repairing air cooled VW's for the last few years at his garage / workshop in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, on a part time basis while holding down a full time job. He has worked on all types of air cooled VW's including Beetles / Bays / Split Screens and Karmann Ghia's, and even from time to time on my bus. He carries out everything from a simple service to a full restoration, from M.O.T. preparation work to welding and fabrication. Stuart has owned a 1971 bay window for about 14 years now and he has recently fitted a turbo he designed himself to his 1671cc engine. Stuart is a well known figure within the local Volkswagen community, with his red oxide painted bay window with the chequered front, well he has finally decided to bite the bullet and give up his full time job and to make his hobby of working on air cooled VW's into a full time business, called 'Oil Droppers'. Stuart and I were talking about his new venture and as I had done some sign writing in the past I said I would create a sign he could put up over the garage to advertise his business, and make it easy for future customers know where the workshop is, just to help him keep his initial advertising costs down.

As it has been more than 20 years since I
have done any sign writing, I thought I'd better
have some practise and brush up on my sign-
writing skills. I found an old piece of 3mm ply of
about the right size and drew the 'Oil Droppers'
logo in the font that Stuart had decided upon.
I found some turquoise paint in the shed and
started to paint the sign. This is not the colour
Stuart has decided upon but it's all I could find.

The name of Stuarts new venture all painted.
Not looking too bad... from this distance.!
Next job was to outline all the lettering in black
to help it stand out.

The board I used was not prepped or rubbed
down, consequently the raised grain was

playing havoc with me trying to get a straight
line. My fault entirely, I should have at least
sanded the board first, but after 20+ years,
 I simply forgot.

Apart from the wavy, uneven black outline it's
not looking too bad.

The trial sign finished, including black outline,
underlined and the whole thing varnished.

Stuart supplied the board for the sign, and he
also added architrave to the edge. The board
size was 40.5in x 24in. The first job was to
paint the whole board in an old looking red

Next job after the two coats of red, was to
apply 2 coats of an off white colour to the
front and architrave.

Once dry I sanded down the white to allow the
red to show through at various places, to make
 the sign like it had signs of wear and look old.

Hopefully it looks like the frame has had years

I learnt to sign write about 30 years ago, and
therefore I'm old school, so the next job was
to mark the board up into one inch squares
using a pencil to ensure the positioning of the
wording is accurate and straight.

The font Stuart chose, 'Magneto' is quite easy
to replicate onto the board. You can see how
useful marking the board out really is. Once
all the wording is painted, I'll simply use an
eraser to remove all the grid lines.

It's a bit difficult to see in this photo, but all the
wording is on the board. I'm not 100% sure
on the spacing of the bottom two lines but I'll
give it a few days to see if it grows on me, if
not I'll space the lines out a bit.

No going back now. Stuart chose the font
and the colour of the lettering, a good choice
considering the background colour, it will
really make the wording stand out.
Well, it's getting there just the last line to go
with Stuarts e-mail information along the
bottom. I decided in the end to space the
bottom two lines out
The sign finished, complete with a couple of
coats of exterior varnish on both sides to
protect it from the elements. I'm quite pleased
with the end result (although you always seem 
to think you can do better) I just hope Stuart
likes it.!

Well I'm pleased to say Stuart liked the sign,
and he put it up on the side of the workshop
the very next day.

Here is another sign I painted for the office
door, a bit tongue-in-cheek with with the
bottom line but again Stuart liked it.


  1. As per my face book post, Its brilliant and as testament to you the likes and comments prove it.

  2. Thanks buddy, just glad you like it.