Tuesday, 30 December 2014

'Cushty n Retro' sign making.

'Cushty n Retro' is a company based here in the U.K. and owned by friends of mine, Simon and Amanda. 'Cushty n Retro' is a vintage and lifestyle accessory company selling 1960's - 1970's furniture including tables, chairs, vintage and also shabby chic painted furniture as well as other vintage and retro items. Simon and Amanda are both fellow Outcast VW Club members, so when they decided they wanted a sign making to help promote their business they asked me a fellow club member, and as they are not only fellow Outcast club members but also friends of mine, I said I of course I would help them out. Chatting to Simon he said he would like the sign to be approximately 3 feet long a about a foot high, with the wording "Cushty n Retro.co.uk" in a red font with a white background. The company logo is currently in a custom font that Simon had especially made and a style that I hadn't seen before, so replicating it was always going to be a little bit challenging. You can check out Simon and Amanda's Cushty n Retro web page here: http://www.cushtynretro.co.uk/default.html

Simon e-mailed me a picture of the company
logo. The only trouble was that the image was
only 13" x 2" so replicating this would be a bit
harder than I first thought as it was a difficult to
see the font clearly.

The first thing to do is plan what size lettering,
positioning and spacing would be best and then
I can work out what size board I would need.
I decided on 3" for the capital letters and 2 1/4"
for the lower case.

Once I knew what size board I needed, I went
off to the local DIY store. The board they sold
was bigger than I required so I asked them to
cut a piece to the correct size, which would be
neater than me cutting the board and it also
saved my some time. I decided to opt for 6mm
MDF board for this project as it will be strong
enough, but not too heavy.

I also purchased some of this 'D' trim which is
16mm wide and 4mm high to put around the
edge of the sign. This trim will finish off the
edge of the sign giving it a professional look.

To ensure a nice neat finish the trim had to be
mitre cut into the corners.

A good mitre requires minimal finishing and
my mitre's are getting better, although it will
still need to be filled prior to painting.

As I made each mitre cut I put the trim in it's
final position until I was happy with
all the mitre's on all the corners.

The next step is to glue the trim in position. I
use Evo Stick Wood Adhesive which is really
strong and will hold the trim in position.

Handy clamps make life so much easier while
the glue sets, which doesn't take long.

Once the glue has dried, the next step was to
get out the filler and just fill any gaps between
the trim and the board and in between the corner
mitre joints.

Once the filler has dried and it had been rubbed
down, it's time to get out the wood primer and
give both sides of the board 2 good coats.

The 2nd coat of primer has been applied. Once
dry it will need a good rub down before applying
the first coat of undercoat.

Again 2 coats of undercoat will be needed with
a good rub down in between coats to ensure a
strong and smooth finish.

2nd coat of undercoat finished and you can see
how smooth the surface looks.

OK, now it's time to start laying out the custom
font onto the board. I know how big each letter
is and where each letter begins and ends from
my planning notes.

Laying out the design is the time consuming
part, this just has to be right otherwise the whole
lettering will look totally wrong and I will have to
start again.

The logo only has 5 words but as it's a custom
font I am replicating, it's taking longer than I
thought it would. As I said this bit must be
right, so taking extra time now should pay
dividends in the long run.

Finally the ".co.uk" get drawn onto the board.
Drawing the logo has taken more time than
expected but I'm happy with the overall look
of the pencil lettering outline.

Time to start laying on the bright red enamel
paint. I tend to use enamel as the colours stay
vibrant for longer than most other paint types.

What a difference just one painted letter makes.
This is the part I find most relaxing, applying the
paint to the sign. I tend to drift off with my
thoughts whilst sign writing.

First word done, and it looks a pretty good
replica of the original font Simon sent me.

The wording is getting there. I wouldn't normally
take a picture half way through but I needed
a cup of tea, so while I waited for the kettle to
 boil, out came the camera.

First coat of shiny red enamel finished. As the
red is slightly opaque it will need 2 coats.
This is the moment I suddenly got the 'light
bulb' moment. You know, the moment when you
suddenly get a little light bulb above your head
as you remember something, or think of
something as they do in cartoon's... as I
was setting up this photo and looking at the
sign my light bulb moment occurred, Oh No,
I thought. No, it can't be...Surely not... but as I
looked at the original picture Simon sent me,
it was true. The company logo had the ".co.uk"
under the word Retro, not in line as I have
designed and painted it.! How could I have
made such a monumental mistake. After I
had had another cup of tea and calmed down,
there was only one answer to this situation, and
that was to start again from scratch.

So once I had re-designed the wording, and
the spacing I had some more board cut and
started the whole process again. Here I have
cut the beading and have just glued all the
pieces to the new board.

The new board filled, primed and undercoated
next to the old sign. The new lettering will be
slightly bigger at 4" for the caps and 2 3/4" for
the lower case, which means the new sign will
be 3' 6" x 12" which is pretty much as Simon
requested. The old sign I can rub down and
then re-paint and re-use for another project
in the future.

Right, the ".co.uk" is in the right place, under
 the word Retro on the board. Having made
such a silly mistake I was double checking
everything, the spacing, the letter size and I
lost count the amount of times I re-checked
the spelling.

After I was happy with the layout, and I had
checked the spacing, and spelling yet again,
it was time for the paint.

First coat going on, as it was last time it will
need two coats as red enamel is opaque at the
best of times, let alone trying to cover a brilliant
white background. This is where I left it for
the night, I will continue in the morning.

Next morning it didn't take long to finish applying
the first coat of paint. You can see just how
opaque the red paint is as it tries to cover the
white background.

The painting is finished. The red really stands
out against the brilliant white background. I
have fixed 3 picture hanging brackets to the
back of the sign so Simon can hang the sign
easily and also without damaging it. All that
is left is to give the sign a good coat of
exterior clear satin varnish to protect it from
the weather and maybe the odd knock.
I just hope both Simon and Amanda like their
new sign.

So that was my sign making for Simon and
Amanda, of Cushty n Retro.co.uk. Simon
came round tonight to collect his sign and
when I showed him the original sign I had
produced with the ".co.uk" in line with the
other wording, he said that didn't matter
and that as he liked both of them, he decided
to take both signs, one for inside his showroom
and one for outside. It's always good when a
customer likes what you have created from
a brief description of what they would like, as
you never really know what are visualising
as they describe what they would like.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Volkswagen / Hotrod related signs

Well the VW season is well and truly over, so that means there are no more shows or events to attend and write reviews about for this season, so for a final post this year I thought I would share with my readers my evening pastime during the long cold winter, my sign writing / making activities. I know I have posted a few sign related posts in the past  but I thought I would put all my recent signs together in one big post. The signs I make are all my own work and made in my spare time, sometimes made to order on commission, and sometimes just for fun and for something to do. They are as you would expect either Volkswagen or Hot rod themed, although I can produce most fonts and styles. I have included a wide variety of signs that I have recently made to show the type of things I can produce.

This sign was produced for the 'Oil Droppers'
workshop in October 2013 to help advertise
their business. The customer chose the font
and font colour and also all the wording. The
size is 40.5" x 24"

This 'Office' sign was also produced for the
Oil Droppers and hangs on their office door.
A bit tongue in cheek fun sign with the 'We
accept cash' bottom line.

This 'Empi Equipped' sign in made from a
piece of 12" x 12" 3mm birch ply, sanded down
and produced using only a pencil and a
permanent marker pen.

Another sign made in the same 3mm ply and
using the pencil / permanent marker pen

In November 2013 I produced another sign,
this time an 'Entrance' sign for the Oil Droppers
workshop. It is made from 6mm ply and is
very formal and informative to create a good
impression for the customers business.

I had an abundance of 3mm ply left over from
when I made a new headliner for my bay, so
I have used the left over wood to make these
fun signs.This sign is 30" x 7.5" This is another
pencil / marker pen sign, they are so quick and
easy to produce but look really good.

More signs made for the Oil Droppers work-
shop. A Mr. Bobble head sign on 3mm ply
with with additional wording 'Oil Droppers'
and 'Volkswagen' and a fun sign painted onto
a rusty old saw. Check out how I produced the
saw by clicking on the November 2013 entry
in 'My Blog Archive'

The bobble head family, with the additional
wording 'Approved Garage' and 'Volkswagen'.

A fun double sided hanging sign in the shape
of a big spanner, designed to be hung up in
 the workshop. The overall size is 42" x 11"

Reverse side of the double sided sign, with
different wording.

A pair of Empi signs, made on more 3mm ply
and made just for fun. Any colour choice is

28" x 3" 'Classic Auto Body Shop' sign painted
straight onto the board in a classic old looking

This 'Bobblehead family' sign was made for
friends of mine, Simon and Amanda who have
2 children, a cat and a dog. Amanda asked
for 'Beware of the kids' wording to be added.

This Mr. Chumley Warner sign is quick and
easy to produce. I only used a pencil and a
permanent marker pen straight onto the
board. Although these are designed for interior
use, I could always add a coat of varnish so they
could be hung outside.

This sign was produced in the same way as
the one above. The size is 12" x 10"

More wording on a rusty saw, I thinned down
the paint on this sign to make it look old. I did
rub off the stabilo pencil lines after taking this
photo, but this photo allows you to see how I
space the letters to ensure they are equally

This 'My way - Highway' sign had the paint
thinned down, then the sign was rubbed down
to make it look old.

Another pencil and permanent marker pen
sign is this Mr. Singent Smythe character.
This would make a fun sign for a child's
bedroom, maybe something like ' Dean's
bedroom, keep out!'

This sign is designed for members of our club,
The Outcast VW Club. I reversed the drawing
just for a change.

These signs can have any wording of your

You could have 'My other car is an Early Bay
/ Beetle / Split Screen / Beach Buggy /T4 /T5

Reversed drawing of the Mr. Singent Smythe
design but with different wording.

This 'STP' sign was made from a piece of
scrap 3mm board, 8.5" x 5.5" and painted
using acrylic paints.

A 'RAT' sign, again aged to look old. I liked this
one so much I have put it on the dash in my
bay window, as it suits my bus perfectly!

A painted fun sign, It's nice to make something
different once in a while. I did use the eraser to
remove the pencil lines that I had drawn to
ensure the wording was straight.

Various painted signs, 38.5" x 3" 'Volkswagen
Boulevard' 11" x 4" 'Edelbrock' and a 12" x
12" 'Moon'sign, again all made on 3mm ply.

Just to show what the Volkswagen Boulevard
sign looks like when hung up.

'Mr. Horsepower' the Clay Smith Cams logo,
painted straight over a pencil design onto
sanded down board using acrylic paint.

Again another piece of scrap board, 10" x 4"
with permanent marker pen lettering over a
painted base.
I made this sign for Elliott, a good mate of
mine as a way of a thank you because every
time I posted pictures of my signs on face book,
he always posted complements and positive
comments. As you can tell, Elliott owns a 1970
Beetle, named Loreen. Thanks Elliott.
This sign was made for the local indoor karting
track and made well over 10 years ago. It is
about 6' x 5' and designed to remind the would
be Formula 1 drivers how to use the pedals
whilst in the kart.
I made this sign for my mate Malcolm who lives
in Germany for his Laurel & Hardy collection.
The size of this sign is 43" x 23", you can see
how I produced this sign in my May 2014 blog
Another sign I produced for Malcolm was this
8ft long by 10" high Laurel & Hardy sign. Check
out my blog entry for February 2014 to see how
I created this sign.
Another double sided sign in a 1950's style
and ready to be hung on the back of a
glazed door, the size is 12"x 5"
These fun hand held signs were made for a
friend of mine, Steve who owns 'Swale
Photography'. Steve was attending a super
hero convention and wanted some fun signs
his customers could hold whilst having their
photo taken.

More signs for Swale Photography, these were
designed to direct the public to Steve's photo

This large sign was made in 4 piece's for easy
transportation and again made for Steve at his
super hero convention photo shoot. This was
so enjoyable to make as it had so many different
fonts to paint, see how I made this sign by clicking
on the September 2014 blog entry.

So that is a small insight into my evening
activities during the long cold winter months.
I might have a commission for a sign for a local
 company called 'Cushty n Retro' owned by friends
of mine Simon and Amanda, which I should be
starting soon and I'm sure I'll post a blog entry on
how I produced their sign. Come the Spring /
Summer, and once the VW season starts again I'll
be out in the bus visiting all the VW shows, and
posting reviews of these shows / events, and any-
thing else I get up to in my 1969 VW Microbus.

If you want to see plenty more reviews on other
VW shows and events, you can find them all in
'My Blog Archive' to the top left of this page. Simply
click on an arrow next to a particular year, then
click on an arrow for a particular month and this
will give you a drop down menu for all my
blog entries for that month.

So now there is just one more thing to add..
I hope all my readers have a very merry Christmas
and I wish you all a Happy New Year.