Mold Making & Casting Sign Appliques


I didn’t see the value of the molding and casting process, until I visited Chicago artist, Chris Maylone, at his studio on the city’s upscale far north side. Chris had taken an order to produce twenty-five hand-carved Christmas trees for a retailer. Carving just one involved mind-numbing tedious detail. Carving twenty-five of the same thing would have been maddening. Read more

Where to Buy Liver of Sulfur Gel


In Toning MetalLeaf with Liver of Sulfur, I describe how to create a patina with a liver of sulfur gel. Several people, who have read the story, have asked what brand to use and where to buy it. Read more

How to Paint MDO with Butch "Superfrog" Anton


Properly applied, a painted MDO sign can provide up to 10 years of service life or more. Premature paint failure often occurs for a variety of reasons. Often problems develop because the surface was improperly prepped. Using the wrong raw materials for the application or incompatible materials can also contribute to problems. Read more

Toning Metal Leaf with Liver of Sulfur


Exposed to the elements, many metals oxidize. When they do, they change colors. Copper and bronze will sometimes develop an attractive verdigris of green. As they weather, metals will also darken, turning their brassy colors to antique hues of brown. The term most frequently used for the weatherworn coloration that metals develop is patina. Read more

Applying Vinyl Graphics to Textured Wall Surfaces


With the right film, the right application tools and the right techniques, vinyl graphics can be applied to textured wall surfaces such brick and concrete block. Many of old time decal applicators would heat a cast vinyl with an industrial heat gun, and burnish the hot, pliable film into the textured surface using a rivet brush for this job. Read more

DuPont Surface Cleaners


In the movie, Karate Kid, do you remember the instruction that Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel on waxing a car? “Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget…very important.” Read more

How to Tape Retensionable Screen Print Frames


Screen printers have devised many different ways to tape a screen printing frame. Having visited many shops in many different countries, I have also seen all types of tape used. Some printers use packaging tape from office supply stores. Read more

Preventing Wall Graphics Failures


Getting good adhesion to painted wall surfaces has been a problem for sign makers and the manufacturers of vinyl films. Flat finish paints are especially a problem. To help your customer avoid the pitfalls that result in vinyl graphics falling off the wall, here are some guidelines to follow before beginning a wall graphics installation. Read more

Roll Slitting Tricks of the Trade


For years, I have explained the advantages of razor slitting “factory cut” rolls of application tape. The paper application tapes are slit on the coater as the paper comes out of the curing oven before the tape is wound onto a core. Read more

How to Apply Window Graphics


Vinyl window graphics provide retailers with several advantages over hand-painted graphics. Cost-effective machine-made graphics consistently reproduce a company’s image from one store location to another to another. Read more

Vinyl Application to Wood Panels


Vinyl application to stained and varnished wood can be problematic, if the panel is not prepared properly. Some factory-finished panels have a slightly stippled textured, which can interfere with the adhesive making complete contact with the substrate. Read more

Mr. J's Panel Jam


On May 5th, Julian “Mr. J” Braet and his wife Linda hosted their third panel jam at Mr. J’s Sign Service in Paterson, NJ. More than 100 professional stripers, automotive painters and hot rodders attended. Some of the most talented sign artists on the East Coast striped and painted all day long. Read more

Maintaining Color Quality & Uniformity


A customer had encountered a problem whenever she printed grey. When the prints were viewed inside, the color was dead on. But viewed outside, in the sun the grey immediately turned green. The other day she printed a beautiful grey horse and laminated it. As soon as the print was viewed outside, the grey took on a green tint. Was this a problem with the laminate? Not necessarily. Read more

Outgassing Paint and Vinyl Graphics


Have you ever seen the effects of outgassing paint on applied vinyl graphics? It’s not pretty. When the problem starts, it looks as if the surface of the film has had a breakout of severe acne. Tiny bubbles underneath the film grow until they merge together forming larger, more ominous bubbles. Read more

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