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I am looking to kit bash my first store where I planning on adding a complete new interior. Before I place this plan into action, I am going to need to get a few new exterior business sign made and perhaps window lettering. Does anyone know of companies that will custom make them if I give them the wording and sizes? This is really out of my realm of expertise and I want to take any advice I can get from those who have done this before.

Thanks!

John

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John:
Going to a company will be expensive. First try these:

1. for window signs there are two methods I use - I will print the sign on vellum (I have even tried it on clear plastic) and use the vellum as the window pain. this technique is great for text only signs. I have also printed decals and attached them to clear plastic. for below all the window treatments you see are printed vellum. The exterior sign is card stock on white plastic.

2020-07-06 Zern Building Fronts 005

2. for exterior signs there are a whole number of processes. The one I have standardized on is to print the sign on heavy paper (card stock). I cut it out, glue (white glue) to either black plastic (roughened) or black conservation board. Once cut you have a good stiff exterior sign. You can actually use any color backboard you want.

Back of sign - conservation board

back conservation board

Front of sign - printed card stock

front card stock

Joe

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  • 2020-07-06 Zern Building Fronts 005
  • back conservation board
  • front card stock
Last edited by Joe Fauty
@Joe Fauty posted:

John:
Going to a company will be expensive. First try these:

1. for window signs there are two methods I use - I will print the sign on vellum (I have even tried it on clear plastic) and use the vellum as the window pain. this technique is great for text only signs. I have also printed decals and attached them to clear plastic.

2. for exterior signs there are a whole number of processes. The one I have standardized on is to print the sign on heavy paper (card stock). I cut it out, glue (white glue) to either black plastic (roughened) or black conservation board. Once cut you have a good stiff exterior sign. You can actually use any color backboard you want.

Joe

Joe,

Could you please post a couple examples as it may help to visualize how you addressed item #2?

Thanks!

One can get fancy with Photoshop however I use simple LibreOffice Presentation. If you have Microsoft Office you can use their presentation program. If you want email me (address in my profile). I can send you a LibreOffice presentation file so you can see how the sign is put together. If you have Microsoft Officer however - I don't think you will be able to open the file. For the attached sign I typed the text, made a rectangle for the background and used a circle for the top which I overlay-ed the rectangle to cover the bottom half.

Printer settings depend on the printer you are using. With HP there is a heavy paper or card stock setting. For my Brother printer the choices are few. I use paper setting but sometimes the card stock jams on this setting. I have not tried the 'brother matte paper' setting as yet

While on printers if you want to print decal paper use a printer like HP which will print glossy photos. I just bought a Brother printer (1000 times better than HP for ink use) and though not sure about all Brother printers the one I bought won't print decals (they smear) even though it has a 'photo paper' setting. I have my old HP set aside for that.

Rick:
It sounds like you are going to need decals that show up on dark background colors. That means an alps printer.

Contact Stan Cedarleaf

Stan Cedarleaf
scedarleaf@aol.com

If you are simply looking for decals that show up on light colored backgrounds then buy the clear decal paper. I use MicroMark. This wet paper.

For 'dry transfer' I simply use Avery clear shipping labels. I buy the full sheets 8 1/2 x 11

I also use MicrMark white decal paper on occasion but only for signs. I print a colored border if complex. For simple rectilinear signs I cut around the perimeter.

@cubalz posted:

I am looking to kit bash my first store where I planning on adding a complete new interior. Before I place this plan into action, I am going to need to get a few new exterior business sign made and perhaps window lettering. Does anyone know of companies that will custom make them if I give them the wording and sizes? This is really out of my realm of expertise and I want to take any advice I can get from those who have done this before.

Thanks!

John

John - Curious if you had any desire for 3D printed signage? A

Office supply or craft stores like Michaels sell sheets of letters that are stickers, and they also sell rub on transfer letters. There is a very wide variety available. If you need 3D letters, refrigerator magnets are available. Any printed advertising packaging can be used. There are lettering stencils in many sizes that you use a pencil to spell out the words and then use sharpie markers in any color to finish the sign. I think you can try any of these methods if you want to get away from using a computer and printer.

Paul Goodness

If you're looking for custom decals including white contact Ricky Rupp at Modern Rails Decals (modernrails.com). He's done a lot of custom work for me at very fair prices. If you can send him camera ready copy with the exact size you want the finished product it will reduce your costs somewhat.  He did a whole set of New Haven coaches for me about 15 years ago, and other work since. The pics are out of focus, but the decals were perfect. I sent him copies of the script and N.H. lettering from a book along with the size i wanted in the finished product. Not only is his work great, but i think you'll be pleased with his prices.

DSC00006DSC00010

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  • DSC00006
  • DSC00010

Office supply or craft stores like Michaels sell sheets of letters that are stickers, and they also sell rub on transfer letters. There is a very wide variety available. If you need 3D letters, refrigerator magnets are available. Any printed advertising packaging can be used. There are lettering stencils in many sizes that you use a pencil to spell out the words and then use sharpie markers in any color to finish the sign. I think you can try any of these methods if you want to get away from using a computer and printer.

Paul Goodness

I recently bought a Cricut Maker 3 for my business. Among other things I can cut out text on any color adhesive vinyl. I cut cut out the whole line of text as one unit or individually and apply to a structure. Vinyl lettering is a great way to go in lieu of decals since there are no decal lines to contend with.

The lettering on the conveyor house is vinyl versus a decal on the shed. You can see the decal line on it versus no lines with the vinyl. There are methods to make the decal lines disappear but I have never mastered them.

2021-11-29 8 Unit Grain elevator [2)

This is an example of placing the letters one at a time which is basically the same as Paul describes

2021-11-14 8 Unit Grain Silo 003

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  • 2021-11-29 8 Unit Grain elevator (2)
  • 2021-11-14 8 Unit Grain Silo 003

There is a program called Evans Design, that allows you to make and print just about anything, I believe.  Signs, for sure, brick walls, paper buildings, lots of railroad stuff.  The programs are written for railroads, and include sample signs, walls, and more..  He might even be a forum sponsor.  I think you can see examples at evansdesign.com, or search with your browser for Evans Design.  You can scale your output to any size railroad = I.E. O, S, HO etc.  He also offers a variety of ink jet papers to print your output on, from vellum to plain papers.

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