I had the main shape of the wood sign finished, and I’d prepared the vinyl text stencil. All I had to do was spray paint. One problem: it was the middle of winter…
So, let’s establish why the season matters: paints, especially sprayables, can “go off” just like food can. If the temperature drops too low, or rises to high, then paints can begin to clump or break down, or other things may happen that make the paints unusable.
In the case of spray products, temperature and humidity determine how usable they are. If the temperatures are outside the 15-25 celcius range, spraying is not recommended. So… winter, with freezing temperatures during the day. If you spray at those temperatures, Bad Things ™ can happen. Going outside to spray simply wasn’t an option.
So, what does one do?
Well, if you’re me, you do something really dumb.
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s back up and discuss the vinyl stencil first. In part 3 of this series you could read about how I digitally designed the lettering and had it cut out of a vinyl sheet on my vinyl cutter, and how I weeded out the letters to be left with just a stencil.
But before one can spray over the vinyl sheet to apply lettering, the stencil had to be applied to the wood. I ran into an issue here, as well. If I’d used a single piece of wood, this would not have been a problem, but since I was using three individual pieces of wood…
Can you see the problem? It’s those areas between the planks. With the stencil applied as straight as possible, it means the vinyl crosses the gaps between the planks. If you were to spray then, the spray paint could crawl underneath the vinyl near all those edges.
So, what can we do about this?
A smart person might have thought about this ahead of time and designed the stencil to be elongated so it could be pushed into the gaps.
I didn’t think of that.
Besides, I already had the stencil applied, by and large. So I did what I do so often… I improvised. First, I cut along the full length of both of the gaps:
Then I got out my small, high-quality tamiya masking tape, and masked over the remaining areas (which should not receive paint) by hand:
Okay, so it took some time, but I could finally move on to the spray-painting stage… but, as we know, I couldn’t spray outside. So, what was next?
I improvised some more.
That’s right. I made an impromptu indoors spray-booth… of a sort. The window is still closed on that photo, but I opened that up while I did the actual spraying. I also turned on a fan, and closed the door to the room.
Then it was just a matter of letting it dry, then removing the masking…
… and removing the vinyl stencil itself, to reveal the result:
That worked out beautifully. That result was exactly what I was trying to get, and it was just perfect. I was incredibly happy with it.
… look, if you’ve been following my posts, you know this is where the twist happens. But in a twist of my usual twists, this twist doesn’t apply to the result of the spray painting, which was genuinely perfect and I was genuinely happy with. What I was less happy with… was what spraying indoors had done to my hobby room.
I hadn’t noticed it at the time. I probably should’ve. But when I came back a few days later, well… this is what my room looked like:
Okay, I jest, it wasn’t visibly green. But there were minute quantities of green dust literally everywhere. I noticed it when I wanted to clean up and wiped a wetwipe over my clean-looking desk and it came back covered in green dust.
I got out a fresh wetwipe and tested another part of the room. Green. Repeated it for another far corner. Also green. Cabinets, green. Shelves, green. Everything was covered in green dust. Not visibly so to the naked eye, but it was definitely a thing that had happened.
So it took me an entire day to clean the entire room. Most of it. Some parts, like the back of the radiator, or other hard-to-reach places, I skipped. Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t have the capability to clean all of it on my own in a single day, anyway.
So as it turns out, trying to use a rattle can to spray inside was in error… putting on a fan to help spread that dust around into every corner of my room, even more so.
Live and learn, eh?
At least I was genuinely pleased with the results. That print on the sign looked so sharp and perfect that it looked machined. And I suppose that, in a way, it was. This definitely would not have gone this well if I hadn’t bought my vinyl cutter. I love that thing, it opened up a world of additional design opportunities for me.
Tune in next time for the finishing steps of this project — painting in the doggy paws and hearts in the corners of the sign, adding a clear lacquer to protect the paint job, and some finishing steps. 🙂
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