SignHero
HOW TO GET GIRLS AND HAVE A GREAT LOOKING BOAT IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

For many people building the boat is the easy bit, but they really shy away from finishing off with a nice bit of signwriting. Vinyl lettering isn't too expensive, but it's not really in the Puddleduck spirit, and particularly now that computers are commonplace it's pretty easy to get a reasonable job with just a bit of patience.

Have you ever noticed how all the girls flock round the best looking boats, and the best looking boats have all got terrific signage that looks as though it was professionally done, and great sail logos as well?

Then you will obviously be wondering how that can be done for almost no cost using a few basic implements without actually having to own a signwriting store.

Read on, and change your life!

Warning, the skills that you learn hear, will equip you to become a rabid street artist. Please resist the urge to tag every building with the PDR logo. Just do the places that have high visibility!

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FIRST PRINT YOUR SIGN

OK, To do this you'll need a computer, (or a steady hand of course), actually it's a lot easier if you have a computer AND a steady hand!

Work out what you need and print it full size. Don't worry if you can only fit a letter or two on each page, it will be fine.

Because I'm such a tightwad, I print the letters out in outline form. Saves ink!

Now using an X-acto knife or a scalpel (to cover all bases I actually use an X-acto knife with a scalpel blade in it), carefully cut out the letters. Where there is a piece with a floating centre bit, leave a couple of bridges like I have done on the "d" here. Don't forget if you want to see this in more detail, you only have to click on the picture.

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NOW THE EXPENSIVE BIT

You really need to have a pressure pack can of contact adhesive for this bit. There are other ways of doing it, but the easiest way to adhere you stencil is to give the back of it a light dusting of spray adhesive, and then wait a few minutes until it is completely dry.

Carefully line up all your bits of paper, and pat them firmly into place.

Take a really sharp scalpel (the one you've used to cut all the letters won't be sharp enough by now), and trim out all the little bridging pieces.

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SPRAY!

Mask everthing that looks as though it might get overspray on it.

Stand back, and spray the colour of your choice!

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PEEL OFF THE MASK

WAIT! You won't want to, but if you don't want to smudge the edge of your work, wait until the paint is touch dry, then carefully peel off the mask.

You may need to have your scalpel handy to gently prise of some sharp corners, or to separate the paint from the mask.

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FINAL TOUCHES

Now you have your sign pretty much done, you can do it again using another colour.

If you wish, you can get a really neat shadow effect by using the same word, a different colour, and spraying again after moving the stencil a little.

SAIL GRAPHICS LIKE A PRO!

The only problem with polytarp as a sail material is that NOTHING sticks to it. I've tried all manner of paint, primers, sticky stuff and there's just nothing that works.

I am undeterred though. Now I just paint and get on with it, then do it again when it needs a touch up. Or I don't do it again, depending on my mood!

Mostly I don't, but the photos look fabulous!

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PRINT THE DESIGN

Take your intended design, and blow it up on a photocopier till it's the right size. It doesn't matter how many sheets of paper, you can glue them together if you wish.

The printed design could become the stencil but if you want to re-use it, it won't last the distance.

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TRACE ONTO DRAFTING FILM

Get a hold of some drafting film (Mylar) and trace the pattern onto it.

I'm a bit lucky. Having practiced for years as an architect, I have a cabinet full of old drawings that are perfect!

Now cut out the stencil as before. This time the bridge pieces are larger as they have to be quite robust. They will remain in place and the logo has been designed to allow for this.

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SPRAY

Lightly dust the back of the stencil with Spray Adhesive as before. Let it dry, then press the stencil onto the sail.

Grab a spray can in the colour of your choice, stand back and press the button!

Because the stencil is barely adhered, it's best to spray as close as possible at right angles to the work.

I've found that multiple light dusting coats of paint work best, build up until you get a decent coat.

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CLEANUP AND STAND BACK!

The good thing about polytarp is that overspray doesn't stick to it either.

A damp rag, or a rag dampended with mineral turpentine is fine for cleaning up any overspray.

You can even twist it to a point and tidy up the edges of your work, using it the way your mum used a handkerchief to wipe the spots from around your mouth.

Stand back and admire your work. Be careful of the gathering crowd. Be nice to them, pose for photographs and sign autographs.

THERE'S NO LIMIT

Once you get into this sail logo thing, there's no limit to what you can do!

Remember to treat it as temporary art, (or use a different sail material!) it would be a shame to go to all this trouble with the expectation that it will still look great next year. It won't, but you'll have fun touching it up anyway!

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PAPER STENCIL

This time I'm only going to use the stencils once, so I just use copy paper. Touch ups will happen by hand and a brush once the line is established.

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LAY OUT THE ENTIRE DESIGN BEFORE SPRAYING

It's easier to see if there are any set out errors if you lay out the whole thing. We're going to use a couple of colours here, so that means multiple layers of stencils.

Complete all the work in each colour as you go.

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STAR

Here's a detail of one of the stars. Notice that it's not precise 'crispy edge" stuff. You won't get that on polyarp that is all crinkly, but it doesn't matter because it's always going to be viewed from a short distance or more.

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BASE LAYER DONE

The first layer's done and it all looks fine. Now to pull out the stencils again. (a new lot this time) for the next colour

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DONE

With a sail like that, it doesn't matter if you can't actually beat anyone. Just sit beside your boat on the shore, and you'll become a legend in your own lunchtime!

 

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In This Section:

Building notes and additions to this section are now on a monthly schedule, so watch our "news" pages, or check our ever changing menu panel as more building pages come on line:


one minute guide
building overview
• materials
• tools
marking out
hull assembly
hull assembly 2
hull completion
foils
spars
rigging
finishing
sails
signs and graphics
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