Leon’s 21st Sign

For Leon’s party we wanted a sign that said “Leon’s 21st” in Big Harry Potter font. I thought that would look cool. We decided to hang it in the front entrance so as you walk through the front gate, it was the first thing you’d see.

I had a sheet of 3mm MDF (2400×1200) that was left over, so I made a frame out of 19x42mm pine and screwed the MDF on to it. What I wanted was for it to the look like the opening title  from a Harry Potter film with a dark cloudy and misty sky.

I started of by giving the board a few coats of black for the background, then I sprayed some blue and cream in wispy patterns. This part wasn’t that crucial as this was just the background colors and I would blend them all together latter with some white and black for detail.

In the end it did look just like wispy clouds,  however this is merely the background there would be big letters covering a lot of it. The other thing we thought would look cool was to have two torches with candles lighting up the sign  and giving it warm moody effect.

For the lettering we found the Harry Potter font on the net, typed in “Leon’s 21st ” and then printed it out the exact size we needed for the sign. This is the easiest way, why reinvent the wheel. I also printed out a colored A4 size one so I could work out the shading.

When we printed the lettering, each letter was 4 sheets of paper that needed to be cut out and taped together. Then it’s a matter of placing each letter on a piece of foam, tracing around it and cutting them out with a sharp blade.

The next step was to mark with a black marker the lines where my shading would be. I first started painting the silver/chrome on using a brush this gave me the direction of the light and where my highlights were to go.

The most important thing to remember when painting, is which direction your light is coming from. This tells you where your shadows need to be and remember they all need to be on the SAME SIDE or it will not look right.

I gave the highlights two coats of silver and then moved on to painting with the blue and black that I mixed up for the shadow side. At this stage it all looks quite flat and not yet 3D, you need to use a brush for these two colors as you want a clear defined line between them.

It starts to come to life (look three dimensional) when you spray on the black. I simply used a scrap piece of MDF so I could get my sharp lines and define the edges to give the letters a chiseled look.

I started of by spraying on the black very lightly, you can always add more if needed. Work slowly gradually building up the color. Now it was just a matter of going over every outline to define the edges.

Once all the lettering was painted and dried, I placed them on the MDF and arranged them in a irregular line just like the movie titles. Once I was happy with the arrangement, I traced around them with pencil so I knew exactly where they would go.

The next step was to glue them in place, I used PVA wood glue on the back of the foam and hot glue on the MDF. The reason for this is that the hot glue will keep it in place and cool quickly so they wont move while the PVA is drying but it’s the PVA that will give it a lot of strength.

That’s it, it’s as easy as that. Give it a try you will be amazed at how effective it will look.

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