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  • Using tracing paper for signs

    I am at a point in construction of several buildings, where i need to consider signage. I've noted a few threads where after printing , the back of the paper is sanded thinner before application.

    It made me wonder, why not use thinner paper to begin with? So it made me think of printing on Velum or tracing paper, something needing less or no sanding

    I suspect some of you have already thought of that, and are way ahead of me on the evolution in the learning curve. Please share your experiences.

    What worked?
    What didn't work?
    How did you prep the sign before attaching it.
    What glue and tools worked best to snuggle it onto the structure.

    I'd say "curious minds want to know" but that's probably copyrighted.

    Dave
    Rochester NY
    Last edited by David_J_Buchholz; 11-22-2021, 07:42 AM.
    Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

  • #2
    Hello Dave. I've only used normal paper and sanded the back, for all my signs.
    I would always like it thinner, but tend to sand through the sign, if I keep going.
    Another option I've heard of, is using the tissue paper from shoe boxes. Very thin but strong, unlike normal tissues.

    I'll be interested to see what others have tried, and either had success, or it got jammed in their printer.
    Regards Rob

    Despite the cost of living, it's still popular

    My current build.

    https://railroad-line.com/node/979864

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    • #3
      I'm going to try more of the reverse print and mod podge technique...
      i.e. where you print your sign in reverse, cut it out and glue it to the building with the print towards the surface and when dry wet and rub off the paper, only leaving the print behind.
      Michael Graff

      "Deo Adjuvante Labor Proficit"

      Swedish custom model builder.

      http://sites.google.com/site/graffairbrushart

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      • #4
        Years back we had a paper made for Airmail that was thinner. Now that worked out great. Your thought of tracing paper might seem to be a good way, but it is not. The tracing paper is made of something other than regular paper, and once glued down will look like you glued a piece of wax paper to your structure. The tracing paper doesn't settle down onto the surface well. I still stand by the use of using printing paper with back sanded, and applied with Mod Podge. One coat to glue it down, and a top coat to look like paint brush marks.
        Take a piece of tracing paper, glue it to a wooded or plastic structure scrap to see what it does, and get back to me.


        Louis
        Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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        • #5
          Hi Dave,

          I'll start off by giving credit where it's due. I learned my sign making technique from a Bar Mills clinic during one of the National conventions. It has become my go-to method for applying signs on structures. I'll take you through this technique, step by step.

          1. After you select your sign, print off a copy of it using your printer. The purpose of this exercise is to see exactly where the sign will end up printing on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.

          2. Cut a new piece of tissue paper (the kind that you use for gift wrapping) slightly larger than the sign you want to print. Tape this tissue paper to a new sheet of paper in the exact same spot as the original that you printed out in step one. Use scotch tape and make sure to tape all four sides. Otherwise, the tissue paper will snag inside your printer.

          3. You can now run the piece of paper with the tissue paper attached through your printer. Print off your sign.

          4. Since printer inks are water soluble, it is very important to seal your sign. I use Testor's Dullcote sprayed through an airbrush.

          5. You can now apply your sign using diluted white glue. Make sure it's pretty thin. The diluted white glue will soften the tissue paper and allow your sign to conform exactly to the surface you are applying it to. Even though the sign will be saturated, it remains surprisingly strong. After the sign is in place, just leave it dry completely. I typically blot up the extra diluted white glue with a Kleenex. After it is dry, it will look it was painted on.

          I'm attaching a picture of a Grant's department store that I build a few years ago with a sign on the back using this technique.

          After I started using this method, I've pretty much abandoned the old sanding technique.

          I'm not at home right now, but I can take a better photo if you'd like and repost it. I'm using a photo that I happen to have on my phone.

          Good luck and post some pics when your done!
          Mark
          Last edited by bandofan1; 11-22-2021, 11:24 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks to all who've responded. My plan is to try three different materials that I will print on, applied to identical panels.

            I have a few unused DPM wall panels left over.
            I will try the velum, tracing and tissue paper
            I will try direct printing on the first two materials. If they shred or jam, I will use the taped on method described above for the tissue on all three.

            ​​​​​​Dull coated with spray sounds like the plan to seal the ink.

            I'll keep you all posted of both successes and failures to compare both the materials and processes used.
            Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

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            • #7
              My mom was old school and called it onion skin paper. She used it for quilting patterns. In fact it is not made of onions.

              I just wonder if Kleennex will actually print?
              I think if you tape it to regular typing paper where it feeds you may be alright..(Fold it under at the edge so it doesn't hang)

              I just use regular paper and sand thinned as mentioned earlier.

              Philip
              Last edited by Philip; 11-26-2021, 10:26 AM.
              Philip

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              • #8
                David,

                Thanks for creating the thread.

                Mark,

                Thanks for posting the tissue paper technique.

                Scott

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                • #9
                  Do NOT try that scotch tape technique with a laser printer! You're likely to get the tape fused to the guts of the machine.

                  dave
                  Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have had great success using tracing paper for signs. same method as Mark.
                    I tape a piece of tracing paper to the printing paper using masking tape (painter's tape ) on all 4 sides
                    I just about cover the printing paper with the sheet of tracing paper.
                    Print as normal, cut out the sign, apply pva glue to where you want to place sign, work the sign onto the surface, I use cotton buds (swabs) to press it in to the wall details.


                    Click image for larger version

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                    No weathering has been done to this sign this is how it printed, if the printer is running out of ink great results of faded signs but... you have no control over them.

                    Hope this helps. Tom.

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                    • #11
                      What's PVA glue?

                      Unfamiliar with the term.
                      Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

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                      • #12
                        Dave, PVA is polyvinyl acetate and PVA glues include Elmer's, Titebond, Weldbond, the original Aleene's Tacky Glue, "school glue" and "craft glue" among many others.

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                        • #13
                          Hi ya Dave, Happy Thanksgiving. Here is a pic of a sign printed directly on tracing paper, with regular paper underneath the tracing paper. You can do it either way, as mentioned above. The tracing paper signs make great ghost signs. It's pretty easy to do... which you will see once you try it. If I recall correctly, I learned how to do it from either a model train magazine or on one of the forums.... it's been a few years... so memory is a little cloudy... Give it a try.. let us know how you make out... As you can see. when applied to brick, the tracing paper does not hide them.... A very realistic effect'...

                          Click image for larger version  Name:	308EE.jpg Views:	0 Size:	108.3 KB ID:	973626

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                          Last edited by quartergauger48; 11-27-2021, 03:43 PM.


                          Ted

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                          • #14
                            Tom and Ted,

                            Nice examples! They look great!

                            Scott

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Philip View Post
                              My mom was old school and called it onion skin paper. She used it for quilting patterns. In fact it is not made of onions.

                              I just wonder if Kleennex will actually print?
                              I think if you tape it to regular typing paper where it feeds you may be alright..(Fold it under at the edge so it doesn't hang)

                              I just use regular paper and sand thinned as mentioned earlier.

                              Philip
                              Philip you talked about Kleenex tissue, And Mark (bandofan1) talked about his method of printing signs. Well, here is a Flag making how-to that I did years back using Kleenex tissue, and using the method Mark talked about for printing; https://railroad-line.com/node/12010 Check it out!


                              Louis
                              Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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