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Easy DIY Vintage Sign and a Pie Distraction

There were big plans.  Big, organized, stay-on-schedule PLANS!

I made a bunch of frames for Further Adventures in Spite Crafting.

I was gonna get all of them done and present you with a Spite Extravaganza!

And it was to be glorious!

But then I thought, “all this organized productivity is super.  Why don’t you throw a wrench in it?!”

So I did!

 

Please meet Pie.

For years friends have been saying, and I have been agreeing, that I should get a dog.

I just never quite got around to doing it until, well, now.

He’s from a shelter of course.

(he wears the “Cone of Shame” due to a slight, um….adjustment he experienced before I could bring him home.  Please don’t tell him about it)

He’s  a stray with no known history. They think he’s between 1 and 2 years old.  A mini pinscher mix.

Crazy sweet-natured.

If you sit anywhere near him he curls up in your lap.

This has caused a slow-down in production but a decided uptick in happiness!

However,  I did get around to a bit of my plan – just not the glorious, overwhelming part (stay tuned.  I’m totally sure that’s coming).

I really liked the look of the Spite Photo Display (the link will give you the full tutorial on how I made it)but, being just relentlessly me, I just felt it needed……wait for it!……OK, say it along with me……TEXT!  GRAPHICS!!!!!

Crazy idea right?  You never saw it coming.

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself and we’ll resume.

I played around a bit, mixing and matching from the supply of images I’ve done previously – just to see how it would look.

And I liked it and thought I’d do another.

This one would have a solid back (rather than the slats) so I came up with a simple, black and white design.

I reversed it, printed it out on my laser printer.

The backer was a scrap piece of Luan Plywood that I had painted with basic white acrylic paint and allowed to dry thorougly.

I applied the printed  image using the Polycrylic Transfer Technique (again, the link will give you the basics of how to do it – so easy!)

And, after letting it dry overnight rubbed away the paper with a damp cloth.

This technique works almost too well if, like me, you’re going for a vintage look.  

I needed it to be much more distressed and faded.

In the past I’d tried sanding it which was fine but always looked sorta, well, sanded rather than actually aged.

So this time I went back in and, with the same damp cloth, rubbed again, fairly hard, but across the grain of the wood.

Much better!

And just before I put it together (using just some wood glue and pin nails to attach it to the frame) I had a last minute idea to paint the inside and outside of my white frame black.

(You should have seen the precarious, silly, set up I made to take that picture.  It involved bricks, a cardboard box and fishing line….I had to snap all the pics super-fast before it fell over.  I’m terrible at this “vignette” thing that everyone else seems to do so well.)

My intention was that this would be another photo holder.  The design would serve to make it look good whether or not you had photos to hang.

But is it just me or is a Camera Shop Sign photo holder a bit too…… on the nose?

I’m thinking maybe instead I should put hooks or something on the bottom and make it a key holder or some such thing.

Notes:

  • If you wanted to do this yourself any thrift store frame would work.
  • I used latex paint for the backer and milk-paint for the frame.  I’m loving milk paint and it would have worked for the backer as well – I just had the latex handy
  • I did a quick hand-sanding of the frame after I painted it just to give it a bit of distress to match the sign.
  • If your image is too large to print on your own you can break it down into pieces and assemble it like a jigsaw puzzle or (easier) take it to a copy shop and have them print it out.  Plain copy paper works great.  Nothing fancy needed.
  • The backer could be anything sturdy enough to handle the paint and the damp-cloth rubbing.

OK, Pie needs a walk.

I actually think that, far from messing up my schedule, Pie may actually force me to be on a much better structured schedule.  Good stuff!

 

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It’s a Sign! Take 2 – A More Detailed Tutorial

Image Transfer TutorialI feel that I owe you an apology.

I was so happy with that Santa Monica Beach Sign that I rushed a bit getting the post up and created, I think, a pretty un-useful “tutorial.

So please allow me to revisit it with a slightly more detailed approach.

This will also give me a chance to provide a more in-depth explanation of the Lenk tool and how (and why) I use it.

Warning: This is gonna be a pretty lengthy and detailed post/tutorial so if you never plan to do a transfer using a Lenk tool you might want to sit this one out.

Here is what I used for this project:

Lumber:

  • 1/2 Inch Plywood measuring 18×18 inches for the backer
  • Five (5) strips of MDF wood 18″ x 2.75″
  • 1/2 inch plywood 18″ x 4″ for the shelf

Paint:

  • White, flat-finish, latex paint
  • Blue, flat-finish, latex paint
  • White spray paint
  • wood stain
  • Spray-on Polycrylic

Tools and Sundries:

  • wax (just an old candle)
  • Lenk tool
  • 3 coat hooks
  • wood glue
  • wood screws
  • sandpaper/sander
  • jig-saw (for rounding the corners of the shelf)
  • hangers

Painting and Aging (the title of my yet-to-be-released, scandalous autobiography)How to Distress Wood

To age the scrap MDF here is what I did:

1) stained the edges with gel stain.

2) After the stain dried I rubbed a chunk of wax along the edges

3) painted the slat with flat, white latex paint  and let it dry.

4) went back in and sanded the edges.  The paint won’t stick to the wax so you end up with a nice, distressed, edge.

I repeated this process with the remaining strips painting them alternating blue and white.distressed wood techniqueFor the plywood shelf I used a jigsaw to round off the corners, sanded the whole thing and used the same wax/paint/sand process on the edges for an authentic, worn look.

I also painted the backer board blue and sanded it’s edges.

When everything was dry I glued all the strips into place (I didn’t attach the shelf till the very, very end).

Wall Lenk Tool Process:Lenk Craft ToolOK, as you know, I’m loving the Wall Lenk Tool.  But it does come with pros and cons

Pros:

  • I think it produces results very much on par with the various transfer mediums I’ve tried.
  • It’s quicker (you don’t have to let it dry overnight or anything).
  • It gives a very authentic “aged” appearance.
  • Because only the graphic is transferred you don’t have to cut out the image right along it’s edges nor do you end up with any lingering edges or visible outlines where the paper ended.
  • It’s pretty inexpensive (I got mine from Amazon) and, of course, if you do a lot of transferring, you’ll only have to buy it once.

Cons:

  • It takes some trial and error to get the hang of it.
  • The results are a bit unpredictable but really no more so than using any other method (and I’ve found that it’s easy, as I did on this sign, to go back in and re-transfer if needed).
  • It has no heat-control mechanism so I will inevitably set something on fire one of these days.

Tips:

I’ve found it’s very important, if you your using the Lenk with a painted surface,  to let the paint cure as much as possible.  If I can, I let it dry for 48 hours – even longer is better (although for this project I think I over-did it waiting 6 months).

Flat paint works better than satin or semi-gloss and if I want a shiny finished product then I just use a glossy sealer at the end.

I also like to give the painted surface a light sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper before I begin.

OK, the Actual Image Transfer Process

(I’m mixing and matching new and old photos here so don’t be thrown by the lettering changing colors)

For this sign I gathered my graphics (the woman is just an image isolated from an old matchbook) and printed them, in reverse using plain, legal size copy paper on my laser printer (I don’t know if ink jet prints will work) Reversed Graphics

I let the tool heat up for 8 minutes as the manufacturer instructs.

It actually gets a bit too hot initially and if pressed into the paper right then it will just burn it.Wall Lenk Tool TutorialSo, I  “burn off” some of the heat by pressing it to a wood block.  There is no set time or amount of heat or any way to check the temperature so I just do it until the wood quits smoking.

I then rub the lenk over the graphic.  Image Transfer TutorialAgain there is no “set” amount of time for this.  The more you rub the more image will transfer so it depends on how “aged” you want it to look. I went over this line of text for about 4 minutes and then paused to let the Lenk heat up again a bit (it loses heat as you go) and then rubbed for another 4 minutes.

I just go back and forth sort of slowly, keeping the tool in motion.  If you stay in one spot too long you risk either burning the paper or getting paint so heated up that it bubbles and melts (not good).

This is the real “learning-curve” part.  There is no way to tell how well the transfer has worked at this stage.  I’ve taken to peeling away just a little bit of the corner of the paper just to get a sense of how it’s going and to determine if I should go over it a few more times or not.

Once I’m satisfied I let the paper cool thoroughly and then go back in with a fairly damp cloth and rub away.Image Transfer using Wall Lenk ToolThe paper comes off fairly easily under light-to-moderate rubbing.

I find that I have to do this process a few times.  I’ll do it once, it will look awesome but then it dries and there is a light, white, film of left-over paper visible, so I just go back in with the damp cloth and give it another round.

I’ve also found that it’s pretty easy, if I decide the transfer wasn’t good enough, to go back in and do it again.  I wasn’t thrilled with my first go on this sign so I just reprinted and tried again.  Here is the “A” in Santa Monica image transfer technique(I’ve got to be honest, I’m a bit stunned that it’s possible to successfully line the images to re-do them but I’ve done it with graphics large and small and had no problem.)

Once I’m satisfied with the results I seal it with a spray on polycrylic

Finishing Steps:

After marking where the shelf was to go I drilled pilot holes and then glued the shelf in place and screwed it in from the back.Attach Shelf

I had spray painted the coat hangers and screwed them into place as well and added hangers to the back of the board.DIY Vintage Beach Sign

I hope this helps with any questions about the tool or how to use it.  But feel free to fire away if I’ve left out some step or been vague about some process.

Happy image-transferring!

It’s a Sign! It’s A DIY, Vintage, Beach Sign

Image tranfer vintage sign tutorial

UPDATE:  I’ve done a slighly more detailed tutorial on how I created this sign.  You can find it here

 

I learned something new!  Or, rather, I tried a different way to do something and it worked better!

OK, the backstory.

I’m not particularly good at planning.  I tend to get excited about an idea, launch into it with a  sorta half-formed concept in my head and then hope inspiration strikes.

It usually does……eventually……..

So, for instance, I wanted to find a use for the MDF scraps that result from coaster making and I wanted to see if I could make them look authentically aged and distressed.

So I stained their edges, did my wax-and-paint trick and nailed them to a piece of scrap plywood.distressed wood techniqueCool! It looked exactly like what I had in mind.

And?

And…..that was it.

It seemed beachy.  I knew I wanted text or an image or something but couldn’t figure out what that would be.

So it sat there all stripey and distressed for, oh, about 6 months.

And then, just the other day, while in the midst of doing something else entirely I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I grabbed a graphic I like, wrote out some text and got to work with my Lenk tool (go here for a full Lenk tutorial – but then come back cause there’s an update).DIY vintage sign tutorialMy usual method for using the Lenk is to rub back and forth slowly,Lenk Tool for Image Tranfer on Wood Projects then gently peel back the paper to check my progress and then, if needed, rub a little more.Image transfer onto woodIt works well, and, although I liked the distress, I just wasn’t getting the depth of color I wanted and I was spending a LOOOONG time on each element.

But sometimes the paper doesn’t peel away and you have to rub it off with a damp cloth,image transfer using Lenk tooland I found that if, instead of lifting the paper up to check, I just let it sit there till it cooled and then, using the damp cloth method rubbed it away – I got much richer colors along with the distress.

So here is how the sign looked on the first round:DIY Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadAnd here it is after I went back in and used the “leave the paper there and then rub it off” technique:Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadBingo!

There is still plenty of distress but the colors are much more vibrant.

I did find I had to go back in a couple of times with the damp cloth and gently rub away a film of white, leftover paper.

When I was happy with the look I sealed it with some spray on polycrylic.

After that I added a shelf (just a piece of plywood glued on and screwed in from the back) and some hangers and had myself a fun little vintage beach sign coat hangerDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI’m excited about this improved technique.  It’s pretty fast, the colors are rich and the distress is exactly what I likemake a vintage sign tutorial by Cheltenham Road and the sky is the limit as far as what design to use.

Trays.  Coat Hangers.  Signs.  Pretty much anything!DIY Vintage Beach SignOK, now I have to get back to what I was actually doing before I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

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