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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m not really that interested in making signs as a hobby and don’t want to invest a lot of money in sign making equipment. Just every once in a while I come up with something that I’d like to have a decorative sign for.

Right now I have a little patch of weeds for my desert tortoise to eat and I want a little sign saying something like “Tortoise Garden” that will be exposed to the weather. I don't want people who see it think I'm neglecting my yard work. :smile:

I’m thinking about painting it, but I don’t do letters very well and most of the time I can’t even read my own writing. :laughing:

Oh I said "best way", but I guess I should have said 'easiest' way LOL
 

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How about taking a picture of the tortoise and the garden, then add whatever text you want.

I will have my wife print onto a special plastic tile with a coating which absorbs special sublimated ink.

You can then just make a frame for the tile.

My wife has these in license plate size, which may be a good size for your sign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys,

Wow Scott that sign really looks good. At first I thought about using a router, but after looking at the weed patch I realized that my sign is going to have to be small. I’m thinking about 10” wide and no more than 12”. That why I decided to paint it instead. I’m just not that skilled to freehand with a router.

Dave, that sounds similar to LaserJet silk screening process I used a couple of years ago for a PC board I made. I don’t know that I would be able to use the same process on wood because of the harsh chemicals I used. I’m curious about the plastic tile thing and thinking maybe I could use the LaserJet silk screening process on a ceramic tile and frame that.
 

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Thanks guys,
Dave, that sounds similar to LaserJet silk screening process I used a couple of years ago for a PC board I made. I don’t know that I would be able to use the same process on wood because of the harsh chemicals I used. I’m curious about the plastic tile thing and thinking maybe I could use the LaserJet silk screening process on a ceramic tile and frame that.
I do not think this is the same.

My wife uses special "subli-jet" inks. The object needs to have a special clear coating. The picture is printed with an ink-jet printer which has been retrofitted to use the special subli-jet inks.

The picture is printed mirror images.

The printout is then taped to the object and heated to around 380+ def F for a certain time.

The heat vapourizes the ink which then sublimes (condenses without going through the liquid phase) on the special coating. Once cooled the image is permanent.

My wife can print on the special plastic, ceramic, coffee pots, etc.

The pictures of the coffee mugs in this thread so not do justice to how vibrant the colours can be.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/mallet-swap-mug-shot-48799/

Happy to have the wife make a plastic plate or tile for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Will that’s nice of you offer Dave. I’m still undecided as to what I want to do.
I was just thinking of some painted letters on a piece of wood, but I’m intrigued by the photo idea. I was playing around in windows Paint to see what it would look like. I’m not real fond of the font, but I’m limited by what Paint has to offer. Anyway this just a beginning and I may make some changes:
 

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Will that’s nice of you offer Dave. I’m still undecided as to what I want to do.
I was just thinking of some painted letters on a piece of wood, but I’m intrigued by the photo idea. I was playing around in windows Paint to see what it would look like. I’m not real fond of the font, but I’m limited by what Paint has to offer. Anyway this just a beginning and I may make some changes:
You have the idea. I think a picture and the text is better than just the text alone.

Agree the font is not the best. My wife has lots of fonts.

FYI, I had a tortoise back when I was at highschool. Lasted until some time after I went to university.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Sleeper,
If you have a jigsaw or scrollsaw, or coping saw (WHAT!), cut your sign blank in the shape of a turtle then letter it. I freehand with my router using a V-shaped bit. You can set the depth somewhat shallow to control the width of the letters. I draw the letters with a pencil, they don't have to be perfect. Then take the router and use both hands to control it. If you rest the outside palms of your hands on the blank, the router can't go anywhere unless you let it. Just pivot your hands, don't lift them off the wood, and the router will follow the pencil lines easily. Try it on some scrap wood first. Once you get your lettering done, spray paint the letters and let it dry. Then just take an orbital sander or do it by hand (WHAT!) until you take the paint off the surface, leaving it in the letters. Very fun projects and they don't take much time at all. Everyone will think you're some kind of hero. Go to it.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sleeper,
If you have a jigsaw or scrollsaw, or coping saw (WHAT!), cut your sign blank in the shape of a turtle then letter it. I freehand with my router using a V-shaped bit. You can set the depth somewhat shallow to control the width of the letters. I draw the letters with a pencil, they don't have to be perfect. Then take the router and use both hands to control it. If you rest the outside palms of your hands on the blank, the router can't go anywhere unless you let it. Just pivot your hands, don't lift them off the wood, and the router will follow the pencil lines easily. Try it on some scrap wood first. Once you get your lettering done, spray paint the letters and let it dry. Then just take an orbital sander or do it by hand (WHAT!) until you take the paint off the surface, leaving it in the letters. Very fun projects and they don't take much time at all. Everyone will think you're some kind of hero. Go to it.
Mike Hawkins;)
Thanks Mike,
I was just out cleaning up the shop a little and I came across my old Dremel tool and was thinking about maybe giving it a try. I also have a Ridgid trim router that might be a little easier. I'm really bad with letters and would have to use a stencil.
I might print my drawing out and see if I can make a stencil out of it. If I can spray paint an image on to the wood than I could use the Dremel tool to carve the wood.
I'm still thinking about Dave's idea of using the tile and framing around it or maybe inlay the tile into a large piece of wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sign Making is Lot more time consuming than I thought

I started making the sign today, but it was a lot harder than I thought.

After reading durdyolmans thread “I found a limb on the road” I decided to use an Apple branch I cut for fire wood the other day. I ripped a slice off of it and glued a printed sheet of paper to it.

At first I tried cutting out the letters, but that seemed to be a waste of time so I just started to grind through the paper. The lower case letters were a real pain especially the ‘e’. I then decide to completely change the bottom to all capitals saying KEEP OUT to save some time.

The apple log had a branch coming out of it so I’m going to use it for an arrow pointing to the weed patch.



 

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Like Mama says

Never throw anything away.:no: Your sign is looking pretty good so far. Will the turtle appreciate it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Never throw anything away.:no: Your sign is looking pretty good so far. Will the turtle appreciate it?
LOL, I don’t think the tortoise will care much and it’s more for me. It drives me crazy every time I see these weeds growing and I want to pull them out. I’m hoping the sign will make it easier to accept.

I paid $10 for the seeds and now that they are starting to grow, I realized that I could have found a nearby field and got a shovelful for free. Well at least the money went to a good cause helping support unwanted tortoise. Since they can live up to a 100 years, my tortoise may end up there someday.

Anyway thanks for the comment. I haven’t done much more since I took the photo. This is more like a chore and not much fun for me. I enjoy building larger scale stuff and watch it taking shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looks like Sign making is not for me!

Ok it came out looking like crap and will go back into the firewood pile. What a waste of time although I did learn a few things that I should have done. I just don’t like doing things over again and not sure if I’ll try this again for a while.

 

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I don't think it looks that bad.
Don't sell yourself short sleeper. And don't lose any sleep over it. Lol. It looks good.
 

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I print out fonts to the size I want, transfer to wood with carbon paper, then freehand rout them. I hate the look of stencils. :smile:
Thats looks sweet!! I dont wanna hijack the OP's thread but are you using a trim router or a full size router? What type of bit? Also how did you do the scalloped edge? I was asked awhile back to do a sign for my wifes uncles fishing cabin and Ive been putting it off because I didnt know what I wanted to do. I love your sign!! The one I do will be cedar so it can be left outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't think it looks that bad.
Don't sell yourself short sleeper. And don't lose any sleep over it. Lol. It looks good.
Thanks for the vote of confidence Dominick, but I don’t know. I decided to try one more time using larger letters and less of them. This time I sanded it completely smooth before gluing down my template and cut out the letters with an x-acto knife. I already lost it and took out a small knick.
I had to quit for now and rethink this. I need a better plan


Thats looks sweet!! I dont wanna hijack the OP's thread but are you using a trim router or a full size router? What type of bit? Also how did you do the scalloped edge? I was asked awhile back to do a sign for my wifes uncles fishing cabin and Ive been putting it off because I didnt know what I wanted to do. I love your sign!! The one I do will be cedar so it can be left outside.
I'm using a dremel tool and i have to say I think I would have lost some fingers if i used a router by the the way this is going. This is from an apple tree I cut down and it will also be outside
 

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Thats looks sweet!! I dont wanna hijack the OP's thread but are you using a trim router or a full size router? What type of bit? Also how did you do the scalloped edge? I was asked awhile back to do a sign for my wifes uncles fishing cabin and Ive been putting it off because I didnt know what I wanted to do. I love your sign!! The one I do will be cedar so it can be left outside.

Thanx, PM sent. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Another question?

Well I’m about half way done with the lettering and looked for information on using a router. I found this YouTube video with a small sign like mine.


I have only one problem and that is I’m doing it on a ½ a log only 8 ½” long. All the other signs I've looked at are huge and it's another whole different story with something as small as mine.

I’m undecided if I should rip it so that the back is parallel with the front and flat. I then could fill in around the log so that I have something to rest the router on.

I have one question and not sure if I should present it in a new thread, but my question is: Will my sign warp and crack after ripping the back side?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just found this video and now I’ve decided to start completely over using a Router instead of the Dremel Tool. I wish now that I would have searched YouTube in the very beginning, because I would have been done by now.

Ok so another sign bit the dust. The next one is the last one because 3 strikes and I’m out. :smile:

 
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