Monday, 5 August 2013

Hand Painted Sign for the National Bar.

I just completed a job for one of my clients, and thought it would make a good post for the blog. It was a typical wall job downtown Calgary. I'm not a big fan of working downtown due to parking and such, but I do like painting signs. I also thought I would use my iphone to record the process. I recently retired my trusty Motorola Razor for the new iphone 5, and decided to try out the camera for both its still and video functions. I must admit it worked well. It was a straight forward wall job, nothing fancy. I decided I would layout the star by hand and use patterns for the copy. With the star being 12' high, it made no sense to use a pattern, instead just a level / tape measure and a piece of chalk was used. Once you find the center of the wall, it's all just measurements. The wall was painted with a semi gloss latex, so to eliminate any problems I used the same paint product for the lettering. 

Looking up at my blank canvas. They all start the same. The first thing I do is establish the horizontal center. This job would have looked better at the top of the wall, but had a permit issue. I'm not a big fan of heights, but am willing to overlook this small detail when it comes to making money. It doesn't look that high when looking at it from the ground, but is a different story when on the lift.

Star layout completed. Layout done "Old School" using a level / tape measure and chalk. First I drew a vertical line, then a series of horizontal lines to get my points. From there it was just a matter of connecting the lines. One of the tricks I use is to use masking tape to make sure the lines run straight from the points. I work by myself on most of these jobs so I don't have an extra pair of hands. I could also use a chalk line, but they can be a pain to anchor, and also remove. Everyone has a different way to do things, this method works well for me.

Just to give you an idea of the tight quarters I had to work in. It was a busy alley with a lot of traffic, so I had little room to park my truck. But hey, I didn't have to pay for parking. Just on a side note, Calgary has one of the most expensive Downtown parking rates in the world.


Next, I layout the copy. I used patterns for this step as it saves time, and gives me the freedom to move the layout around to suit the space. The layout provided by the Architect was different than what I ended up going with. One reason being the the permit, it stipulated the height I had to start the sign at, also to prevent graffiti. Tagging is always a big issue when working in the downtown core. You also have to be aware of how it reads in the space, what looks good in a drawing may not look the same on the wall.

The finished wall. Overall, the job went off without a hitch, though the heat was a bit of an issue. The day I started was overcast with a chance of rain. I don't usually start if there's a chance of rain due to possibly of losing the layout, but I felt lucky. The next two days for the lettering and re-coat seen temperatures in the high 20s. With the wall facing south, it was hot to say the least. I thought I could smell  bacon cooking, then realized it was me. One of the big problems working on a hot wall is that it bakes the paint into the brush, no matter how wet you try to keep them. In the end, it means more time at cleanup as you have to soak the brushes in methyl hydrate to get the dried paint out.

Here's a little video I made of the job. I decided to give the iphone 5 video recorder a shot, and must admit it worked out not too bad. Forgive the camera shake and the odd shot out of frame, but I was both camera man and sign painter. I just shot another little video of a distressed sign job I did in Edmonton, and applied what I learned from this one. Watch for that post coming soon.. Thanks for dropping by.

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