Signwriting hand painted signs by a traditional Signwriter is the best way to have that more natural rustic but neat feel to a business.
The French owned clients run a Boulangerie & Patisserie (Bakery & Pastry) shop in Soho & wanted to keep that French feel which has a rustic charm but also looks fresh & neat.
Their design was produced prior to my involvement as they had a clear idea of their fresh look. The letter styles did have a French appeal. The lettering on the fascia was designed to be close to the window due to a awning being added above it at a later date.
The first stage is to have the branding design drawn onto paper at the correct size & then use the drawing to relief the image onto the fascia by means of a pounce. This is chalk or a similar powder rubbed on to the paper & traced off. A bit like brass rubbings in school.
Measurements of the fascia are made & the centre of the fascia is found & marked which the drawing is lined up to. This ensures the signwriting is in the correct placement as desired by the clients.
The drawing is visable up close to allow me to see where to paint. The straight drawn line is the centre line to make sure the lettering is straight & also in the correct position before painting.
When signwriting hand painted its most important that the edges of the letters are straight & crisp but also the curves are neat & acurate too. If they aren’t then the whole look of the font type changes.
The larger word of the two completed after the first coat of paint. When signwriting hand painted on a dark background with white or pale colour its far more professional & quality finish.
Signwriting hand painted the 2nd coat on the main wording. the C has a second covering but the O & M yet to have theirs. As can be seen the brush stokes are still visable on the O & M so the 2nd coat is essential and just makes the lettering fully opaque. Once the all the lettering is completed the marking out chalk is wet wiped off the surface.
The above image shows the marking out having been wiped off & the lettering having had its second coat. The below image shows all of the shop facade signwiting hand painted with double coating.
With the signwriting hand painted on the fascia completed, the next work to be produced was the signwriting on the front window. The clients had a design they wished for in gold leaf & white in the given font they had designed.
The design was drawn to the correct size required & was then measured into place on the window at the correct height & in the centre between the left & right window frames. The design was taped to the outside of the window, so it could be seen through & produced on the inside of the window.
The white paint was added first & allowed to dry before the ‘size’ (a glue of applying Gold) was painted onto the window to allow for sheets of 23 carat Gold could be pressed on & allowed to dry.
The next stage once all is dry is to remove the excess gold from the window. This is done with care using whiting powder, alcohol & a soft damp cloth.
The result is it leaves the gold only where it was painted & so a crisp sharp edged finish. The gilding producing the signwriting hand painted is known as oil gilding. To create the gold with a reflective mirror finish is a different process & known as water gilding.
Sadly overnight having finished the work & once everyone had left the building, someone cracked the glass. Whether it was done accidently by someone leaning on it or if done deliberately isn’t clear but the latter from a begrudged near by trader seems the most likely.
This meant I was called back to repeat the work a day or two later once the new glass had been fitted. For speed the white painted letters were applied using a paint mask, which is a stencil made in vinyl, which is peeled off once painted.
The fresh signwriting having been painted onto the new glass. The white paint looking darker with the light not coming through it as well as the ‘frosted’ powder mixed oil size applied for the gold leaf drop shadow.
The completed signwriting with the gold leaf having been applied was then again cleaned to only leave the gold required & the excess gold removed from the window. Once all is dry the clear varnish is hand painted over each of the letters. This hardens & provides the signwriting of protection from condensation & is then able for the window to be chemical cleaned without affecting the paint or gold.
The shop completed with its external signwriting hand painted. The clients were over the moon with the results.
Traditional & Contemporary Hand Painted Sign Writing in London
Sign Writer Traditional Signs of London