Monday, 11 November 2013

Painting Highlights on Cast Letters

I recently did a job for a client that collects and restores  old gas pumps and different types of memorabilia. He had a Texaco pump base that he wanted the lettering and logo highlighted. Anyone who's involved with collecting or restoration will have to deal with this at some point. Although it's not a really complicated process, it does take time and patience, it also it helps to use the right brushes and paint. The paints I use are for painting signs. One Shot, or Ronan lettering enamels are the brand I use. One Shot is available from stores selling sign supplies and such, Ronan is readily available in the states, but only from one suppler in Canada carries it. Brushes can be a little difficult to find, but can be found online. If you are planning to clear coat the piece after, you'll need to use a hardener made for the lettering enamel. One Shot makes a hardener that works with both brands. As for brushes, I use liner brushes and sign quills, as they hold a nice edge, and have good control. Most of the brushes you get from the local art store aren't suitable for this type of work, and will only add frustration to process. It's amazing how much easier a job becomes when you use the right tools. The process is the same whether it's a gas pump or a piece of equipment, and it really adds a "WOW" factor to the project.

This is the base my client wanted the high-lights on. I can't stress enough about adding hardener if it is going to be cleared. If you don't, the clear will attack the lettering enamel. If you're planning to clear with an enamel based product, you won't need the hardener.  For this job, I didn't have to worry, as it wasn't going to be cleared. Most of the projects I work on, they use urethane, so hardener is a must. Care must also be taken with the first few coats, which should be dusted on to prevent it for attacking the lettering enamel.

Time to start highlighting. For this I use a liner brush, as it is narrow and doesn't fan out as much as a quill. The trick is to stay in the center of the letter. Once you get the hang of it, it's just a matter of being patient, and watch the line width. Cast letters are far from perfect, so you may have the odd challenge with straight lines and curves, but hey, that's part of the fun. If you have to second coat, depending on the color, you already have the letters established, and it goes quickly.  

With the white finished, it's time to move onto the logos. This part can be a little more challenging, as you will be dealing with different shapes, not to mention the missing details. This piece had a poor casting on the word Texaco, and also the Reg. Trademark copy. The trick is to just keep it clean.

Now the piece starts to come to life. Care must be taken when painting ovals and such, as a sloppy job will ruin all the hard work you've done on the lettering. If you make a mistake, just take a rag with some paint thinner, and wipe it off. It's just that simple. Better to start again than try to work a bad line. People only see the final piece, not all of the challenges you had doing it, so take your time and do it right.What's that old saying again...oh ya  "Practice makes Perfect" So don't worry, it's only paint.

 A picture of the finished piece. My client was thrilled to say the least. It really does bring out the beauty of an industrial  piece of equipment. With just a little paint, and a little more patience, you can turn the average piece into a show piece. Hope this helps. If you have any questions on this project, or any of the others, just drop me a line. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these shots, Rick. Embossed Coca-Cola drink boxes are my favorites to do.


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