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Six great tips from the latest SignCraft

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some sign people are habitual experimenters—always looking for new materials and new processes to use on their signs. But experimenting with new products and techniques takes time, and that can be a scarce commodity.

That’s where the great ideas that are shared in every issue of SignCraft come in. It’s an easy way to find out what other creative sign people have discovered and developed. The new September/October 2013 issue is a perfect example. Take a quick look at just a few of the practical, profitable ideas you’ll find in it.

HDU is great for 3D signage, but often must be backed up to give the necessary structural strength. John Ralph of Quail Run Signs [] often uses Extira Treated Exterior Panels [] for this. The Rail Stop sign is Extira panels with HDU and acrylic letters applied.

His background is in sculpting, so he also looks for opportunities to use layers, which doesn’t add much production time but can add a lot to the appeal of a sign. The True Studio has an Extira sign face and backer, with a carved HDU ribbon.

John sells lighting on his signs whenever possible. Adding LED lighting to the sign bracket makes this sign effective day and night. (You can get brackets with lighting from The Sign Bracket Store,

John finishes most of his signs using the Matthews Paint system [] for durability. On the gold panels on Artrageous Studio, he added mica powder to the paint to make it shimmer in the light. He adds mica to the Matthews clear coat to get this effect.

A few minutes with a ball peen hammer is an easy way to make HDU letters look like hammered iron, as John did on the Catoctin Creek sign. This effect looks great with gold leaf on it, or with a copper finish, too.

Joe Crumley of Norman Sign Co. [] used to avoid translucent stains on cedar signs. Today he’s using Sikkens Log and Siding Stain with dependable results. “Because it’s translucent,” Joe says, “you can blend two colors as we did here. It’s easy and it gives the sign a little soul.”

Sandblasting HDU through the Grain Fraim [] gives the look and feel of real wood. Joe makes it easier—and the texture more realistic—by first routing the area to be blasted about ½-in. deep. He then lightly sandblasts through the Grain Fraim to add the woodgrain texture.

There’s lots more, too, like how Doug Downey, Creativeink Design Group [] used Avery Supreme Colored Wrapping Film to add the dark blue panels and transform this plain white police car. Better click here and start getting SignCraft today so that you don’t miss any of the other profitable, practical ideas in there.


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