Business Window Signs

MatoskaWindowLetteringRightSide (450x800) (2)Matoska Trading Company is located in Downtown Orange just north of the Plaza. The store specializes in American Indian Art & Craft Supplies. Brent had sent me his logo and said he wanted artwork on the glass that would represent what he sold in the store. He also wanted the logo lettering in gold leaf. Brent found me thru my ad in the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review. He had read my byline ‘Senior sign painter at the Disneyland Resort for 7 years’ and wanted Disney looking signs for his business window signs.

There is the feel of an old general store to the place. The floors are old wood and the décor and counter make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

The idea for the glass windows was to have different artwork on the panels on each side of the doors. I worked at putting together a montage of different pictures that would depict the American Indian way of life. Thank God for the internet. There is so much information and pictures to help put together a project that requires vintage photos and artwork like this. Once the two different sketches were approved, I proceeded to pen and ink the artwork so I could make the patterns for the job. The windows are 40” wide so I didn’t want the width of the artwork to exceed 30”. Brent wanted people to be able to look into the glass and see the trade goods.

Normally I make a transparency and enlarge it on my overhead, but I discovered large format printing at Kinko’s. I used a proportion wheel to get the percentage and had the prints done in reverse so I could tape them up to the outside of the glass. It worked very well.

I used digital print, vinyl, hand lettering and gold leaf on this job. It was really nice to have people come up and make comments about the work and the fact that it was being done by a sign painter.


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Skinner Residence Custom Wood Sign

This is a hand painted and gold leafed sandblasted redwood sign for Casa de Skinner
I believe sand blasted redwood signs started making a showing in the early 1970’s. Walter Methner was doing sand blasted signs down in the beach area of Orange County. There were also a lot of redwood signs being done with a router, but the router limited the design and the fonts that could be used.

Redwood was the wood of choice for custom wood signs because it would sand blast easily, accepted paint really well and could be glued up to make larger panels if necessary,and it was light weight. Another plus for these signs was that they could be gold leafed. 2x blanks were the common thickness.

I did my first sandblasted sign in 1972 when a friend of mine, Gary Metcalf, wanted to do one. He had seen a sandblasted wood sign and asked if I would like to try making one. We also discovered that sand blasted signs were starting to appear in Signs of the Times sign magazine especially from a group of guys in Denver called the Letterheads.

At that time we layered masking tape to act as a resist against the sandblasting and we cut the stencil by hand with the xacto knife. A labor intensive job, but it worked and we were ‘wowed’.

When my father passed in 1974 I wanted to do his headstone and learned from a guy at Whittier Monument Co., Al Privetera, about 3M 507 tape, or ‘buttercut’ as we learned to call it. Buttercut allowed intricate designs to be cut on the stencil, kind of like linoleum block cutting, using the xacto knife. The wood surface had to be sealed really good so the adhesive on the buttercut wouldn’t remove any of the wood surface.

I always hand cut my stencils. This sign was done in the pre-computer days and wielding an xacto knife was almost as good as weilding a brush. I did this sign for my sister who moved to Texas back in the 1990’s

Monument Sign for Placentia Lakes

A monument sign with gold leaf
One of the best ways to enhance a sign is to add gold leaf, just like on this monument sign.

I used to play piano for Kirkwood Assisted Living, here in Orange. Danielle lived at Placentia Lakes and put me in touch with the management company who needed two new entrance signs. The Management Company asked me to come up with a design and after it was approved and the deposit made i started on the signs.

A monument sign like this is done on 2” HDU board and router cut. I asked Frank Smika at Letter Perfect to route the signs and he completed the job. I had to have a local graphic designer prepare the artwork for the router.

I did the drawings for the construction of the sign and also the artwork for the new design. The sign was painted with Mann Bros. acrylics and ‘placentia’ was gold leafed with 22k gold. Both signs are double faced and this job was a real challenge but turned out well.

Joyce Bright Interiors Gold Leaf Sign

This is a hand lettered and gold leaf exterior plywood signJoyce Bright Interiors needed a hand lettered gold leaf sign. They have been in the City of Orange for a number of years. Carol contacted me from an ad I had in the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review. She was moving to a new location at 300 Chapman Ave into a historical building that also houses the Chamber of Commerce. Carol asked me to design a hanging sign using their logo, and also working drawings so that the city could approve a permit. I did the design drawings in CorelDraw.

It took awhile but once the client and city approved the drawings I moved on with the job. The panel was cut from ¾” mdo plywood, primered and painted with enamel. After making a pattern, I did the hand lettering. I suggested a gold leaf border and they thought it would look nice and help the sign stand out. The client had the brackets made from drawings I furnished and they had a sub contractor install the sign.

Columbia Fire Engine Vehicle Graphic

This vintage fire truck is being restored and I did the vehicle graphic for the cowling lettersThis fire engine is a beautiful machine, gold leafed and pinstriped, It was built in 1926 by Seagraves Fire Engine Company. The placement of the vehicle graphic was crucial to the beauty of the existing paint.

Dave is in the process of restoring the complete truck and wanted a new name designed for the truck and have it placed on the split hood and also on the gas tank. I also did some sketches for the illustration of a ‘southern belle’ to decorate the lower part of the hood. I did several sketches and after they were approved went on site to do the gold leaf and hand lettering.

I worked in a covered garage and Dave wanted to learn some gold leaf technique so he helped me where he could. I did the stripping and all the brush work that you see. The work took several days and it turned out to be a really nice job. I hope Dave learned enough to stripe the rest of the fire truck. I haven’t heard yet how that went.