Saturday, June 15, 2013

 How To: Sign Painting:

The German Army used a great variety of signage in WW2. I'd like to provide some tips on how you can paint signs for your displays. Below is an orginal copy of a Wehrmacht vocational training book in sign painting which was intended to provide occupational training guides for soldiers seeking work after the war.

Step 1: For my project, I wanted to create a sign for use at our fortress display. The sign we are rectreating depicts a Army Coastal battery in France. Using a Computer Output your sign to fit. Whatever pre-coated white wooden blank sign you have available. Tile your files if needed and tape them together until your template is complete. When Choosing a font try to stick with the DIN or Futura series when possible. Tannenburg/Fraktur based fonts while certainly germanic were less common as general signage.

Step 2: With the Template assembled flip the paper over. Using a graphite pencil begin shading the backside lettering of the sheet so as to make a transferrable image.
Step 3: Now tape the template face up to the wooden plank. Using a pen and a ruler trace over each letter form. The pen will help you see if you missed any parts.

Step 4: Now remove the template and your letter shapes will be transferred, albeit faintly, to the wooden plank.
Step 5: Now the fun part! Painting in the letters. I find a beer helps keep my hands steady. (Patrons of Ft. Indiantown Gap will recognize this notorious brew!) I am using a Tamiya Flat Black Acrylic enamel Paint. It coats really nice thins with water and dries fast and permanent. A wide flat artists brush will help you stay in the lines. 
Step 6:  With the lettering complete Frame in the sign with a black Perimeter. 
Project Complete! The completed new sign reporting for duty as part of our display. Hope you will consider a sign painting project that will enhance your next event!

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