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Cheap easy billboard signs for buildings

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  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,302 posts
Cheap easy billboard signs for buildings
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, March 11, 2022 10:35 AM

I've only had moderate luck with decals.  It seems there was always an issue with tearing, aging, or getting them to lay flat and disappear.  And my selection was limited.

So I found this technique about six months back.  Results vary, but with practice it can come out pretty nice.  It's cheap, easy, and realistic looking.

 

Step 1: Find a sign you like on the internet.  I personally find "Signs for your layout" a good source (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/626000416925593860/)  I know a member here put a good amount of time creating these (thank you)

Step 2: Download the sign and then in paint, reverse flip the image (right->left)  Then print it on any color laser printer.

Step 3: Carefully trim to the edges on of the sign.

Step 4: Take the sign and create a paint mask on the surface to which you want to apply it.   Apply a white background.  I used an "Aged White"  (Note the backwards sign facing up)

IMG_20220310_133226493

 

Step 5: Let the paint dry.  Waiting at least 30 mintues will do the job.

Step 6: Coat the IMAGE side of the laser print sign with Mod Podge Matte (Yellow bottle)  ONLY coat the image side.  I brush outwards from the center to keep the image from curling up.  Only a moderate amount is needed.

Step 7:  Apply the paper, image side DOWN on the surface.  Run it over with a roller to help press it in.

Step 8: Wait 8 hours.

Step 9: Wet your fingers and gently rub the back of the paper till it begins to roll off.  You might have to do several rounds of this.  Be patient.  If you rub too hard, you'll take off the laser print.

IMG_20220311_111414848~2

 Step 10: Clean up any edges and brush off the paper bits.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    March 2021
  • From: Vermont
  • 134 posts
Posted by Ablebakercharlie on Friday, March 11, 2022 4:13 PM

Thanks for posting this technique!

Will give it a go - have some newly made buildings that would improve with some old time ads on their sides!

- charles

 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,802 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Friday, March 11, 2022 4:42 PM

DigitalGriffin

I've only had moderate luck with decals.  It seems there was always an issue with tearing, aging, or getting them to lay flat and disappear.  And my selection was limited.

So I found this technique about six months back.  Results vary, but with practice it can come out pretty nice.  It's cheap, easy, and realistic looking.

 

Step 1: Find a sign you like on the internet.  I personally find "Signs for your layout" a good source (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/626000416925593860/)  I know a member here put a good amount of time creating these (thank you)

Step 2: Download the sign and then in paint, reverse flip the image (right->left)  Then print it on any color laser printer.

Step 3: Carefully trim to the edges on of the sign.

Step 4: Take the sign and create a paint mask on the surface to which you want to apply it.   Apply a white background.  I used an "Aged White"  (Note the backwards sign facing up)

IMG_20220310_133226493

 

Step 5: Let the paint dry.  Waiting at least 30 mintues will do the job.

Step 6: Coat the IMAGE side of the laser print sign with Mod Podge Matte (Yellow bottle)  ONLY coat the image side.  I brush outwards from the center to keep the image from curling up.  Only a moderate amount is needed.

Step 7:  Apply the paper, image side DOWN on the surface.  Run it over with a roller to help press it in.

Step 8: Wait 8 hours.

Step 9: Wet your fingers and gently rub the back of the paper till it begins to roll off.  You might have to do several rounds of this.  Be patient.  If you rub too hard, you'll take off the laser print.

IMG_20220311_111414848~2

 Step 10: Clean up any edges and brush off the paper bits.

 

This is an interesting twist on a technique I first saw used by George Selios in the first Allen Keller video on his layout. That was about 30 years ago. I'll have to give it a try. 

For source material, I like to google for vintage building billboards. You get a wide variety although many are not usable because of the angle. You will get some that are already aged and even some ghost signs. Here's a nice sampling:

 ghost signs on brick buildings - Yahoo Image Search Results

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 11, 2022 10:39 PM

Hi Don,

I noticed that you referred to "laser print". Does this technique only work with a laser printer?

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,302 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Saturday, March 12, 2022 10:03 AM

hon30critter

Hi Don,

I noticed that you referred to "laser print". Does this technique only work with a laser printer?

Thanks,

Dave

 

It works very well with cannon and espon inkjet.   HP inkjets will run. 

That said some people prefer to use minwax polycrylic matte.  They say it comes off cleaner.   I haven't tried it though.  Hobby lobby, Lowe's and home Depot carry it for $10 to $15/half pint 

 

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,511 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, March 12, 2022 10:51 AM

I just download images of old advertising from the Internet, size it properly n something like MS Word of Paint, and print it out on my injet printer.  I would have to say that HP printers I have used did not do as well as Canon or Epson.  Once it's printed and dries a little, I cut it from the sheet and give it a simple coat of clear spray like Krylon to seal it.  I let that dry for 24 hours or so.  In the meantime, I paint a rectangle or whatever shape the decal is on the structure wall, wood fence or whatever with cheap white craft paint.  This re-balances the colors.

Then it's a simple matter of applying the decal with Microset and Microsol, letting it dry, and doing a final seal with usually a flat spray.

You do need to use inkjet paper for inkjets and laser paper for lasers.  I got mine from DecalPaper.com.  It works better than others I've used, and I basically got a lifetime supply for about $20.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    June 2021
  • 13 posts
Posted by RedDogF5 on Saturday, March 12, 2022 4:21 PM

This technique is different than decal paper, it doesn't need special paper.  I've seen it done with the shiny carrier from sticky labels, but this doesn't even require that, although it seems more sensitive to the technique of disolving the paper off.  Letting the glue dry completely seems key, and I would imagine this method is more form fitting than a decal as it has one less layer.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,159 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 12, 2022 9:56 PM

DigitalGriffin
It works very well with cannon and espon inkjet.   HP inkjets will run. 

Guess what?!? I just bought a new printer.Thumbs Up Unfortunately, it is an HP.Thumbs DownGrumpy

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Bakersfield, CA 93308
  • 6,526 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, March 12, 2022 10:39 PM

I printed this billboard in 2011 on my HP printer.





Hasn’t changed in 10 years even under fluorescent lighting.


Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
Turned 84 in July, aging is definitely not for wimps.

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 440 posts
Posted by azrail on Thursday, March 17, 2022 2:48 PM

"King-Size" in the 50s meant a 12 oz Coke bottle.

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 440 posts
Posted by azrail on Thursday, March 17, 2022 2:51 PM

BTW, Duke University has a site of vintage outdoor advertising, some of which can be usable for us.

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