Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

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Cheryl Ellicott
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Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:57 am

I'm currently doing someone a favor and painting an outdoor sign ---- not my usual surface to paint on, but it's fun. Problem is, I'm sensitive to chemical fumes, really sensitive, and don't use oil paints or anything with that toxic smell.
I picked up some exterior/interior type latex enamel paint and it's fine, smell doesn't bother me, dries really hard. But it takes a lot of coats to cover...
This makes lettering a pain.

Any suggestions? Something that doesn't have a lot of fumes, but thick enough that one stroke is enough (or even two or three would be fine) and that will stand up to weather?

Or should I just letter with my acrylics and then varnish it?

thanks for any suggestions.


cheryl

Danny Baronian
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Danny Baronian » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:46 am

Hi Cheryl, have you considered Benjamin Moore Aura paints?

Other forum members use the Aura line for their murals. Hopefully they will chime in, along with other favorites.

For my use, I've found BM Aura covers very well. I would never varnish a sign, that will be the first to fail.
Danny Baronian
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Cheryl Ellicott
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:43 pm

Thanks, Danny --- excellent feedback and just what I need. The recipient of the sign had just told me, this morning, no problem, use what you have (I had mentioned my fine-art acrylics to him) and I'll put a few coats of varnish on it when I pick it up. Nice to know that's not an option - so I'll rethink what I'm lettering with. Would be easier if i'd not had such a short deadline.

Thanks for the really fast reply. Much needed.


cheryl

Rick Janzen
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Rick Janzen » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:13 pm

Hi Cheryl, I second what Danny said. I've been using Benjamin Moore for years. I use both Aura and the Collections line. Both work well. You will have some coverage issues with certain colors, such as the Reds and yellows, but it's also a problem with One Shots and other paints. The nice thing with latex is the fact it dries quickly, allowing for quick re-coating. Ronan also puts out a water based product called Aqua Coat for lettering, but I have yet to use it. I wouldn't use artist acrylics as you can get most of the colors with B/M. One thing I've done is to match the colors I use with my artist paint pallet to B/M colors. It's a matter of using the right base, and getting them to leave the white tint out to match colors like Thalo Blue and such, plus it's far cheaper. I also don't put a clear over my work unless its really needed. Most of the house paints available will easily out last One Shot sign paint and such. Just my 2 cents. Good luck on your project.

Mark Summers
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Mark Summers » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:07 pm

Ronans AquaCote is a great product that is more of the one stroke variety.
They have them in the graphic colors as 1-Shot. You can get Ronan from
Dickblick.com

Mark

Cheryl Ellicott
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:29 pm

excellent advice. I'm so glad I found this forum before progressing too far on the sign. I'll post pictures when I'm done. Definitely plan to do more signs, if anyone asks, because I'm really enjoying working at this size (years back I used to paint miniatures - then my eyesight stopped cooperating) -- and I love lettering...


cheryl

Cheryl Ellicott
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:34 pm

here are some pictures, one of their old sign (blurry, sorry) and one of what I'm painting, almost done.
Attachments
10-18-2012 003wip.jpg
Here's my work in progress. Almost done. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.
10-18-2012 003wip.jpg (226.07 KiB) Viewed 4127 times
09-13-2012 006OLDsign.jpg
this was their OLD sign -- peeling white paint, arial style sticky letters from the hardware store...
09-13-2012 006OLDsign.jpg (81.67 KiB) Viewed 4133 times

Dan Seese
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Dan Seese » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:24 pm

Cheryl,

It's always intimidating to take on your first sign but it looks like you've attacked it with gusto.

There are a few ways that I think this is an improvement over the old sign.

1. You have a strong area at the top with reversed lettering using the dimensional letters from the hardware store. (Be sure the adhesive used is going to hold up outdoors.) Light colors on a dark background show up nicely and catch the eye as the main point of the sign.
2. Also you've arranged things in copy blocks which always helps the flow of the reading when you have a lot of words to deal with. It's a way to prioritize things.
3. Lastly, you've included sufficient "white space" around things. One tendency people often have is to try to maximize the space by getting to[/list]o close to the edges but that only ends up compromising legibility.


For the most part your thick & thin strokes are in the right places. If you plan to do more of this it would be important for you to get one or two basic alphabets that you study well and practice duplicating them. Mike Stevens, in his classic book "Mastering Layout" said that if you have a good cohesive design and your letter construction & spacing is right, your actual lettering can have plenty of imperfections and it won't show up.

Incidentally, I use acrylic house paints in a lot of my sign work but not so much when I do hand lettering. Contrary to what others have said here, I've found coverage with Benjamin Moore paints to be pretty weak, but that may depend on the color. Just today I was doing some hand-lettering on a wall using Benjamin Moore Aura paint! But it was a sort of loose calligraphy so having the background show through was part of the desired effect.

You're off to a good start.
Dan
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

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Cheryl Ellicott
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:06 pm

THANK you for the feedback.

You're right about the need to practice hand-lettering alphabets. In fact, when I realized I'd been semi-volunteered to do this, and with a really short deadline (they're having a revival tomorrow and need their sign back up), I had to run to the library and get some calligraphy books so I'd have some idea of what to do.
I've been doing design, and fine art and covers and illustration, for years and years. . . 25 years or so. I even do forensic art etc. But I never do text by hand -- never -- and in this situation they wouldn't have it any other way. I'd designed them a few sample signs, digitally, and gave them instructions on how to choose one, then take it to a vinyl sign shop...etc. I even priced things for them. So there I was, explaining it to these old farmers, gathered around their peeling old sign.... and they just kept saying, "Can you paint it here by the road?" and then one of the other old guys would say, "No, we should take it down and bring it to her garage; it's going to be cold out here."
So I'd explain, again, how to take the sample images I'd given them to a vinyl print shop and have the sign made.
Then they'd respond with, "Do you want to paint it out here, by the road? It'd be easier if you did." but that other guy would say, again, "We need to take it down and bring it over to her garage....it's gonna be cold out."

(ha)

so. I painted it.
In my garage.
by hand.
eeek.
I hope they like it.

cheryl

Dan Seese
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Dan Seese » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:52 pm

Sounds like the typical committee scenario.

A couple of other constructive criticisms I wanted to mention earlier but needed to sign off: I don't particularly care for the red phone number under the church name. I'm not a big fan of having phone numbers on signs (unless it's a vehicle) but sometimes a church is a different situation. Also, on the service times it may have helped to move the "Prayer Meeting" down a bit where it lines up better with "Wednesday".

Maybe next time, huh? Start practicing now. There are a lot of resources on this website and others for those who want to learn the trade.
Dan
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

http://DanSeeseStudios.com
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Cheryl Ellicott
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Re: Sign Painting / lettering without fumes?

Post by Cheryl Ellicott » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:13 am

the line for "Prayer Meeting" looked so much better BEFORE my daughter said "Mom, you forgot to add the Sunday Evening service..."
That was right before she asked me if I knew I had painted the Sunday morning services with the letters PM after their times.

;)
Like I said, or should have said, I don't do rushes very well.

practice...much needed.

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