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.

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