Applying the metal paste/paint to the edge of the sign panel. This paint is embedded with iron particles that make the HDU foam look like it's really metal.

Good news, in this case- the rusted edge of the D&S sign... It wasn't easy, either!

To continue the macho-metal look of this sign, I chose a rusty edge and it's looking good, almost ready to deliver. It's a 2 part paint process, laying a thick iron embedded base down that is almost like a metal paste. Always going for the best finish, I applied 2 coats of 'metal', and started the second step while the second coat was still wet. By applying a mild acid to the metal layer the rust began immediately, and within a few hours it looked like a tired old battleship.

Ah, rust! Slowly growing around the rivets, it will end up coating most of the front border and edge of the sign (on purpose)


We'll let it rust some more, highlight the rivets and add some distress (code for:mess things up to look cooler), and then move on to the text.

The wrench and lower text has been coated with metallic silver paint, which with a wash will take on a well worn favorite wrench appearance.

The wrench has also been distressed (in this case, physically assaulted) and painted with a durable metallic silver latex paint, then washed with a dark color to render some depth to that shine. End result is a well used, probably loved old wrench head that holds the D&S.

Other gold leafers will take offense to my use of a foam brush to lift the gold and drop it in place on the shiny D (shiny because it had a layer of gold size applied about an hour and a half previously). Hey! Whatever works, huh? The gold will still shine and shimmer and doesn't care how it got to the letter- and is another case of making things work in our resourceful shop. Never cut corners, but don't overdo anything that's not necessary.

Final step for this sign is hand leafing the D&S text with 23kt loose gold. This gold is thin, so thin in fact, that it's not worth breaking into the sign shop to steal our gold. It is the real thing, but beat thin enough to be affordable (compared to bullion!) and BEAUTIFUL. There is NOTHING that shimmers like real gold. Wow. Although it's a tedious process, it is addictive for the artist that leafs the gold... Once you get going you want to leaf everything in sight...

A layer of beautiful gold laying on the S, waiting to be burnished and cleaned up. The gold finish will easily outlast the rest of this sign, it is beautiful, durable and - I have to say it- worth it's weight in gold.

We'll let the sign sit for a day and let the gold size cure with the gold, and then deliver the sign to the customer- that has no idea what's coming... Remember that he asked for $50 worth of door lettering- and we're 'using him' to try out some fun new techniques.