January 10, 2013

tutorial imaged metal signs

hi again, hope you've had nice holidays and I wish everyone what you wish/need for 2013 and of course lot's of inspiration and fun mini-ing!

I'd like to start this year with a tutorial of how to make the metal plates as shown in my Give-Away. As I promised Jo, from Jo Mini in a reply to her comment, so here it is!

the sign in the front appeared rusted once it had dried up, probably because the surface of the sodacanmetal was tarnished from the fire, it started rusting that easy and fast in the short time of being in contact with water after applying the decal. I love the natural feel of it, would be impossible (for me) to mimic like that


I wanted to make this tutorial with options for as many of you as possible. Meaning with supplies not everyone will have but some of you might have or prefer (referred to with A) ) and options for as likely-in-house- or easy-to-come-by-supplies as possible (referred to with a B) ). I hope I succeeded. And don't be discouraged about the list of supplies & steps, it's nearly not as difficult to do as looking at this post suggests (and a lot about images, that many of you might not need)!

IMAGES
you can use the sign/image I used for this tutorial, see below, but you can also google for pictures of nice signs/texts yourself for your own use (not sure how about copyright of the signs you saw in my give-away.., that's why I use a copyright-free image here). Try to find pictures with high pixalation (the highest you can find) for they give the best results
--> If you don't know it yet: if you look for images through 'Google Images' and you find one you like, click it and you will see the option "search by image" on the right, that way you can easily find the same image bigger, if Google 'has' it of course. Fantastic feature that Google added at some point, I love it and use it very often!
Since it's always nicer to see what is being described, I tried to explain it with these 4 steps.

a good source of high resolution copyright-free pictures is The Graphics Fairy, known to at least some of you I'm sure. I selected one here for this tutorial that I used for the example plates (printed on paper with colourless nailpolish for a homemade decal). If you click on the image below you go directly to the image on the Graphic Fairy's website, to download the big/high quality image there, but you can also look there for other ones you might like better.

and If you feel like it and are a bit handy with drawingprograms you can also design your own sign of course! Or use a picture from a catalogue or magazine is also a possibility, as you can see below, this is a page from a home-magazine (lucky-enough there was this page..)

SUPPLIES
- metal
A) tin sheet 0,2 mm (for example K&S Engineering) I order at a Belgian webshop Minitair (the Dutch webshop/store Bibians Poppenhuizen now has them too and in other countries you might find it in webshops or craft-/modelingstores).
B) a sodacan*
- scissors - preferrably ones that you don't mind getting dull, however I'm not sure how bad it is for your scissors (mine still cuts paper and stuff fine, but just be warned not to use your favorite scissors since you just don't know what it might do to them directly or long term). The ones that I find working best/easiest are what I least expected, i.e. small fine-tip scissors (picture).
- gasstove (or if you don't have that kind, a lighter or something) - to blacken the metal
- tweezers (or metal kitchentongues) - to hold and turn the metal in the flame
- (olive) oil, in a small bowl or a saucer with some depth, you just need to be able to soak the metal in it after and in between blackening it
- paper towels
- glue, like tacky
- paint - white paint (without paint, the dark blackened metal will shine through lighter/white parts of the image, so they are darker and sometimes a lot less visible)
- small paintbrush or paintroller
- sandpaper (like 320 grid) or a nailfile will do too
- decal/image
A) the way I do it is with ordered decalsheets for printing, the white kind for signs and print an image on there. I make a habbit of collecting images on my computer I want to 'decal' and then print a whole sheet at once. Or what I also do when I don't want to wait for that is to place a picture in the top of a template, on it's side if it's a 'portrait'picture and more of the same or a few others next to it. I then run it through the printer and before spraying it with varnish I cut of the top section (so the part with the images), so I can use the rest later. Important: decalsheet needs to be sprayvarnished directly after printing (when using part of the sheet, cut a strip with that part straight of first, being careful not to touch images), but don't think that you can use hairspray as a substitute as I did the first time (since that works so well as a (cheap) varnish in other cases). Because a decal is used in water to get the backingpaper of, hairspray is washed of and will make your decal useless, didn't think of that... ;) 
B) When you don't have printable decalsheets or don't want to or can't order/buy them, you can print an image on paper or use a picture of a nice image that's the right scale from a catalogue**
- (spray)varnish matt/hairspray (for finishing, then you can use hairspray, since it will not be in contact with water anymore)
- matt sprayvarnish (satin will do also if you don't have matt) for the printable decals, optional for the 'nailpolish'-decals

- *B) sharp kitchenknife or x-actoknife (to cut the can open before you will be able to cut a piece out with scissors)
- **B) transparant nailpolish is what you need as well when you use printed-paper or a picture from a catalogue/magazine. I used nailhardener since that's all I got, but this chips easily, which I don't think you will have with normal clear nailposlish, so I recommend using that.

STEPS
Please read all first, so you don't come across any surprises.

I) downloading & scaling image - search for image - see 'images' earlier- and save to computer (I assume you know how that works, if not, please ask). To scale you open it in a drawingprogram, like Gimp or photoshop. I use Gimp, so I don't know if what I'm about to say makes sense for other programs. The best way not to loose quality of your image is not to scale by reducing the image itself, but by adjusting dpi (dots per inch), with what you will reduce imagesize as well, but in a way the quality - density of pixels - will not be less too. That way the image is 'scaled' but with the same ratio pixels as when it was big, if you know what I mean. If not, just trust me, it's true. In the examplephoto I explain how, hopefully it's similar in other programs.
II) printing image on decal (A) or printing image on paper and/or nailpolishing image (B)
--> A) follow instructions of the decalsheet. I now mostly just print a topsection, fill that up with other pictures and cut that section of, leaving the rest of the sheet for another time. Printer doesn't mind, just starts printing. You just need to push the paper a bit further in the printer so it will take it. (sorry, no pictures of decalsheets and process, since I worked with decals I had printed long time ago and instructions that come with decals are clear)
--> B) print image or pick one out of a magzine/catalogue and cut widely around picture. Apply the nailpolish in a thin but not too thin layer, using strokes in both directions covering it well. Be sure to go well over the edges of where you will cut the image. Blow a little to dry it a bit faster and when (after a minute or so) it's dry enough apply another coat. Then leave to dry for an hour or two. Then repeat previous steps. Leave to dry/harden overnight. I discovered that paper printed 'decals' are best coated three times.
III) cutting the metal - PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL! Cut tin - and the tin from sodacans even more so - is razorsharp! I don't want to hear from any of you you got a nasty cut or even losing fingers as a result of this tutorial ;), but seriously.. be careful!
So, after being strict, we can go back to having fun ;)
--> For B) you need to cut the can open with a sharp knife first, carefully, cut the sides of the can from the bottom and top. Then you have a wide strip of tin. Then put a piece of cellotape over the back of the image to prevent your image from being distroyed after gluiing it.
- with some tacky (just a little stripe across the length of your image) temporarily fix your image to the metal and leave to dry for a few minutes (can sometimes take longer, check if the image is secure and doesn't move).
- cut the metal a tiny bit bigger than the image, just a hint of extra edge, this will prevent the decal to curl up for it's easier to stick all over the plate. Should work with exact size as well in my mind, but in the real world it just doesn't.. ;)
- carefully remove the image from metal and the cellotape from the image.
IV) blackening the metal - put the bowl with (olive)oil to your stove and keep your metal with tweezers (or tongues) in the flame(s) of the stove (lighter) until it darkens (mostly brownish/blueish teint), then put in oil. The metal is instantly cooled of by it. WARNING: when using sodacanmetal; open doors, windows, turn on the kitchenfan and keep your face away as much as you can and/or cover your mouth and nose: the plastic inside of a sodacan makes toxic fumes in the fire. I tried sanding away that layer, but doesn't take all of it away.. The metal is probably going to flame, because of it.
Take the metal from the oil, take of oilexcess with kitchentowel and put it in fire turning it around and after a while put it in the oil again. Then wipe off. If it might use a bit more darkening, you can put it in the fire again. Now clean the metal very well with a kitchentowel so no residu is left on the metal (you can hold it om some warm water and some washing up liquid to be sure, then dry well.
V) painting the metal
VI) applying decal - cut the decal, put it in a small bowl of water and leave for:
A) about a minute or so. The backing paper will seperate from the decal, sometimes you just need to move it a little with tweezers. Take the decal out of the water and slide it right onto the white side of your metal plate and move it until it's nicely positioned.
B) a few minutes. Other than with 'real' decals the backing paper will not slide from under the decal. You will have to carefully remove it yourself. Be very carful not to tear the decal itself in the process! If this does happen (like with mine, all of them..) don't throw them away, I decided I make a feature of it being cracked enamel or something (see rightdowncorner for the square-one for example). You will now only be able to remove the first layer of paper on the back. Put the decal back in the water and leave for another minute or two. Then carefully (!) roll with your finger to remove the last bit of paper. Now place the still wet decal onto the white side of your metal plate and position it where it should be.
A) + B) . Remove airbubbels if necessary by carefully pressing it with a piece of papertowel. Leave to dry, best overnight so your sure all water is gone (also under image which takes longer).
VII) finish - spray with matt varnish (or if you don't have that, hairspray) to seal the metal sign, making sure the sides are covered so the edges are - and stay - adhered to the metal. You might want to repeat the step a bit later just to be sure. Spraying with matt varnish also reduces the shine of the nailpolish if you used that to make decals.

Hope you have fun making them, and if you have questions, please ask them!
More tutorials, but also tips & trics can be found in my "Tutorials, Tips & Trics"-section.

50 comments:

  1. muchas gracias por el tutorial

    besitos

    Mari

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  2. Thank you Monique for the tutorial.
    Hugs
    Magda

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  3. Thanks so much for this tutorial, it's great! I will try it.
    Hugs

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    1. You're very welcome Eliana! I hope you find it clear enough, if not, please ask! Enjoy it!

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  4. Hello Monique,
    Happy New Year and all the best for 2013. Thank you for the great tutorial!
    Huigs,
    Giac

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    1. Hi Giac, thank you, I wish the same to you!
      You're welcome, hope you have fun making signs if you decide to give it a try ;)

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  5. Greetings Monique,
    Great tutorial. I look forward to making a few signs, the ageing is wonderful.
    Regards Janine
    Safe and happy 2013

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    1. Thanks Janine, I hope you find my instructions helpful, if not, please mention it or ask if you need help. I hope 2013 is going to be great for you too!

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  6. Great tutorial! I didn't realize you actually burnt the metal.

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    1. Tnx! Yep, wouldn't have thought of it myself, but it's something I saw in a miniature magazine once, they did that with metal hooks. I use that for a lot now (and discovered that aluminium can't be burnt, because it melts..), since it gives metal a very different (and often wanted) look.

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  7. Oh this looks like fun! Playing with fire, haha!
    I have never used decalls, yet! It's been ages since I have made any miniatures other than building work. When I get to that stage where I need this type of detail (I can think of some things for the attic and garden shed) I will be sure to remember your tutorial!

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    1. Haha, yes, who says that playing with fire is just a men's thing? ;)
      And you do wonders with building, love what you do! But when you get to accessorizing you will have fun doing this, it's an easy way with great result. The details is all I can do mostly, but hope to be able to start building soon!

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  8. Thanks for this great tutorial and all the explanations but I am not sure I will play with the fire, nice cat to help!doei, claude

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    1. you're welcome! You can always make the plates without burning them and leave them how they are or use patina on the backs to give them an older feel (not sure if metal takes patina, but you could try..).

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  9. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I still building dollhouse, but anxiously await the accessorizing phase!

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    1. It was my pleasure. Ah, I can understand you're fingers itch to start accessorizing.. the day will come and then I hope you have fun with this tutorial!

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  10. Hi Monique! Thanks for this wonderful tutorial! This is very helpful, especially as you also show the different ways to do it! I will surely have a go :-)
    And, of course: Happy 2013!!!
    Sandra

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    1. Happy you like it Sandra, hope you find it as fun as I do, good luck!

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  11. Hi Monique, What a great and detailed tutorial! Your explanations are just so clear...I can't wait for the weekend to try it. I need to make some metal signs for my 2nd project so your tutorial came just on time. Thanks a lot.
    Patrick
    http://ajarnpatrick.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Patrick! Glad you find my explanations clear, wasn't sure since it made the post soooo long.. :) How about that timing huh? I will see the results in your blog!

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  12. This is so inspiring. Thank you for the tutorial.I must try it out as soon as possible.

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    1. Thanks Gosia and you're welcome! Will see what you make of them in your blog!

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  13. Thank you so much for this Monique, not only sharing one way to make your items but 2 and telling us all the warnings from things you found out along the way. Very generous of you!

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    1. You're so welcome, it's more fun when knowing as much of you can give it a try and of course I let you know what my bumps in the road were, no need of them being repeated right? ;)

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  14. Wow! Merci mille fois, Monique!
    I didn't expect my comment to result in a tutorial, but now I'm just even more glad I posted that comment! :-)
    It's so nice of you to explain all of the details on how to do the signs and all. I will surely use your instructions for some signs I want to make for my mini kitchen in the next months.
    Thanks again! Can't wait to try that technique now... just gotta find the time...
    Big mini hug, Jo

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    1. Mille fois très bien fait Jo! Haha, yes, I knew I couldn't just say something about it, although it isn't a difficult process at all, it needs quite some explaning I found. And I did it with pleasure. I think all the others are happy with your comment about it then too ;)
      Hope you'll find time soon!

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  15. A wonderful tutorial, thanks so much!

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    1. It was all my pleasure to share Susan, hope you have fun with it!

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  16. Thank you for this fabulous tutorial!

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  17. I often wondered how to do that.... Thanks for a great tutorial, Monique! Very clear how-to!
    Groetjes,
    Gee

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    1. I'm so happy I could resolve that question for you Gee and that it makes sense :D

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  18. Fabulous tutorial Monique ! Great and clear explanations and nice photos !
    Thanks a lot.
    Karine

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    1. You're very welcome Karine, glad it receives so much enthousiasm!

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  19. Thank you for this fantastic tutorial!!
    Greetings
    Melanie

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  20. Muchas gracias por el tutorial. Está magnificamente explicado.

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    1. de nada Carmen, me alegro de que estés satisfecho con la explicación :)

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  21. Love your signs! Lots of work with great results!

    Thank you for sending me your "thank you" gifts! They are perfect for my garden center.:D You are so sweet and I loved my little surprise!

    Blessings,
    Kathi

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    1. Thanks! Happy that so many of you like the tutorial and find it helpful ;)
      And you're so welcome Kathi, I just wanted to send you a little thank you. I'll see them in your garden center when you'll get to that part :)

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  22. This is such a helpful tutorial. Thank you so much. The results are so wonderful.
    Hugs from Craftland

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    1. so glad you find it helpful Craftland! and you're very welcome!

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