Tips & Tricks

Timesaving shortcuts from SignCraft readers


Posted on Saturday, August 29th, 2020

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Be a part of SignCraft! Share your favorite shortcuts, gadgets used in your shop and other time-savers. Email them to, mail them to SignCraft, P.O. Box 60031, Fort Myers, FL 33906 or fax to 239-939-0607. SignCraft, of course, cannot assume responsibility for the validity of reader submitted tips.—Editors
Real Silver film shines through digital printing inks

Here’s a really cool effect you can create with your eco-solvent inkjet printer and Real Silver sign vinyl—or Real Gold sign vinyl, too. The eco solvent inks are translucent, so I print on the Real Silver film and let its shiny silver finish show through.

The result is a great-looking effect—similar to a “Kandy” paint job on a custom car, where you put down a silver metalflake base then spray translucent colors over that. A lot of my customers are owners of high-end boats. They like these graphics that have the look of custom paint work.

I’ve played with effects on vinyl film ever since I first started using computer-cut vinyl, experimenting with translucent film over chrome foil and all sorts of other things. But digital printing changed all that, so I use the printer for most of my effects.

I specialize in the marine industry, so to make a fish look more like a fish, you need that silver reflecting through the colors you print on top of it. And you need extremely durable material, and Real Silver vinyl is far more durable than any chrome film on the market. The same effect looks great on lettering, too.

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to capture the look of a reflective product like this in a photograph. They look much more unique in real life since you’re looking through the translucent colors as light reflects off the Real Silver base.

Joe Herdering, Shadow Graphics, Boca Raton, Florida

Finish PVC board with 1 Shot enamel

We have made 3D signs from PVC board for almost 20 years. When we purchased our first router in 1997, we used HDU exclusively at first. When the PVC board became more readily available in thicker sheets, we began to experiment with it at the suggestion of one of our distributors.

For finishing, we have found that 1 Shot enamel sticks amazingly well directly to PVC when you thin it by about 10% with MEK or lacquer thinner. You can brush, spray or roll/tip for great results that are long-term durable. I have signs out in a tough beach environment that were made using this method in 2001 and are still going strong!

Rick McDonough, Typestries, Manahawkin, New Jersey

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