If you follow us on facebook, you have probably seen the picture of our beautiful sign proudly bearing the name "Shadow Ranch". If not, the picture of said sign will be on here tomorrow.
When making the sign, we had two things in mind, we wanted it to look nice, and we wanted to do it inexpensively. Pam and Marion bounced ideas around, and relative of Pam's had made the sign for their business out of an old wooden headboard. She fell in love with the idea and I volunteered to go shopping for it.
At one antique store that is particularly well-priced, I could not for the life of me find a solid wooden headboard. I thought about where else I could find one that I would know was wood, but I was stumped.....aside from going to every garage sale in town, and I knew at best it would be a long shot. So poking around on the second floor of a sweltering hot building, I found a tabletop with the paint peeling off, and since some of the paint had worn, I could tell that it was wood. Knocking on it to hear the sound, I found it was the same all over except for the top where it was slightly different (found out later it had a linoleum-type of plastic on top). Upon discovering it was only twenty dollars, I purchased it and hauled the treasure home in my green station wagon for the night.....I will never take my rearview window for granted again.
Upon arrival of work the next day, I proudly showed off my thrifty find to everyone. Pam had really liked headboard idea, but was open to different ideas as well. So I drew the designs allowing her to see on paper what I already saw in my head. After some convincing, she liked the idea. I had my summer project and got to work.....
I sanded the whole thing down because the paint was peeling, and while I did not strip it (didn't feel it was peeling that badly) I made sure there was nothing flaking off before I painted it. Because the plastic-type top of the table was difficult to properly roughen up with the sandpaper, I went over it with a light coat of spray paint. The color didn't matter because spray paint is an attaching layer, sort of like a primer. Then I painted the whole sign in two layers of the basic colors (the back is a darker blue like the lettering to protect it from the great outdoors). After this I worked on the letters. First, I measured out the horizontal length of the sign and divided the length by the letters in the word. Ex: If it were three feet long and I had three letters, each letter would have a foot of space. I marked the boundaries each letter had, and then I drew an outline of the letters. If you are ever doing lettering for a sign without stencils, I strongly encourage you to do this. I made many mistakes and it took a few coats of paint to even cover up the pen, let alone had it been painted. I'd also advice using a pencil instead of a pen, erasable and then easier to cover up. After this, I ran it by Marion, she liked it, and then I painted the letters. What felt like a million and one touch-ups later, the sign was ready for the world to see.
Because power tools are not my best friends and construction isn't exactly my forte, I had our ranch hand Kyle and our wonderful volunteer Lacey do the building part. I just told them what I thought would work. Apparently my idea wasn't too bad because they made it almost identical to the drawing I made them. After this, they put it in the ground, another part of this process I'm not too great at and am very happy they were able to do. (Thank you both soooo much!!!)
After one final touch-up (done after the photo was taken) the sign was completely done and is now happily doing its job of telling people where we are on this little county road.