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Posted - 09/21/2003 :  8:17:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage
The following is the step-by-step process I used to create this billboard:

The first thing I did was some research on the internet. In this case, I knew what I wanted to advertise on the billboard. But, since the name of Hunt Paints was fictional, I needed to create my own image.

So, I used the internet to find a picture of an old paint can. In this case, Benjamin Moore had a picture of a paint can. A lot of companies include history on their websites, which is a boon for creating vintage signs.

So, now I had an image, but I wanted to replace the name of the company and manufacturing locations on the label with my own data. You can use different software for this, but I will show how it is done in Paint, since everyone has that.

Using the "Zoom" feature in Paint, I zoomed into the lower half of the label.

Then, I highlighted the area just above the company name area of the label. This area contains nothing but the background of the label.

I then copy, paste, and position it so that I completely cover the company name and locations.

The next step was to insert your own company name and locations. The trick was to find an acceptable font. I found this website a long time ago.


I found that the TGIFriday font has some of the fancy characteristics that the rest of the lettering on the paint can label has. So, I downloaded and installed that font. Now to use it for the text I want to add.

The first thing to do is select the color for the lettering. There is a button in the Paint toolbar that allows you to point to any location in an image and "Pick Color". So, I clicked on this button, moved the cursor to a beige area, and clicked again. Now, you can see that the color bar at the bottom shows this beige color as the active color.

You can only add text after you zoom back out. After doing that, I clicked on the text button in the toolbar, highlighted where the text was going to go, changed the font to TGIFriday, and typed away. I also made sure that the text box is transparent. It is one of the options that is part of the toolbar.

I finished adding the remaining lettering the same way.

At this point, the image is done for the sign. Now, I need to create the sign, add the image, and additional text.

The first thing I did was open up a new Paint session.

Then, by selecting "Edit" and "Paste From", I then selected the image of the newly created paint can.

The next step was to resize the image, not the paint can, but the image for the entire sign. In this case, I knew what the horizontal and vertical dimensions would be. So, from the menu bar, select "Image" followed by "Attributes" to ge the following screen:

Sorry to do this, but I am going to introduce a little bit of math. For my sign, the dimensions are 5.5 inches wide by 2.86 inches in height. But, the attributes screen shows 5.5 inches wide by 4.16 inches high. How much wider would the sign have to be for a 4.16 inch high sign to retain the 5.5 to 2.86 ratio. To solve that...


So, update the width portion of the attributes screen to 8.

I didn't want the paint can to be the full height of the sign. So, I highlighted only the paint can.

Then, I move the cursor into one of the four corners to shrink the image of the paint can. There are 8 points around the image to either expand or shrink an image. The four points in the corners will expand the horizontal and vertical planes simultaneously. If you use the four points that are either in the center of the horizontal or vertical plane, you will get distortion. You can still get distortion using the 4 corner points, but as long as you move towards the center of the image, you minimize that risk.

Then, I drag the image into the spot I want in the sign. The image is already highlighted. So, it is only a matter of dragging it into position with your cursor.

The sign background is next. I did the same thing as before by picking the beige color. Then, I used the "Fill with color" button on the toolbar and clicked on a white area of the sign.

Notice that the area around the paint can is a light beige instead of the color of the background. I used the zoom feature of Paint to zoom in on the areas around the paint can and edit the color with the "Brush" item on the toolbar. The color in use should still be the one you used for the background.

The only thing remaining is the additional text. I wanted to use a blue color that is also on the paint can. Again, I used the "Pick Color" from the toolbar in Paint and moved my cursor to a blue area. Then, I selected the "Text" button on the toolbar and added the text in the appropriate area. Make sure the background area for the text box is transparent.

And that is it for creating the sign. I pasted my sign into a Word document and resized the vertical or horizontal dimension. All you need to do is resize one of these dimensions. Since the image is already in the proper ratio of vertical vs. horizontal, the resizing in Word should give you an image that meets your needs.

I printed my sign on a color printer. You may find that the sign is too dark or light. I didn't find any area to adjust the tint, brightness, or contrast for the whole sign in Paint. You will need to use another image or photo editor to do so.

As for weathering, I cut my sign into 10 pieces. A billboard was not printed on one sheet of paper. Instead, multiple sections were printed and then pieced together on the sign.

Before I mounted them on the wood sign, I sanded the face of all 10 pieces. The direction I sanded them was in the vertical direction. I also sanded a little bit more along the edges since they deteriorate faster than anywhere else in each panel. Them I hit each panel with the india ink/alcohol solution. Once that dried, I glued them to the wood sign.

And, that is it!

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