Monday, August 20, 2012

Save The Date Sign

Embarking on my engagement photos, I decided I wanted to make one of those adorable signs I've seen in so many save the date samples to use in a few of my pictures. While working on my budget, I thought it would be a good idea to limit the amount I spend on this project, since having the pictures done professionally isn't cheap in the first place (not to mention buying new clothes, getting my hair done, etc.). So as far as the amount I wanted to spend on the sign, the conclusion was: as little as humanly possible.

Scouring the internet for tutorials, I decided I would buy a piece of scrap wood, paint it, then weather it.

Well, that didn't quite work out as I had planned.
I'm pretty intimidated by the hardware store, so I really don't like going there by myself, especially when I don't really know what I need to get. So I asked Fiance for a few days before the photos if he would come with me, which of course, he always said he would. Come the night before our session is scheduled, we still don't have the wood, and Fiance decides he's going to wash both of our cars so they'll be clean for the pictures (we were planning on having them as part of the setting). He also had been at work all day and had a haircut appointment at 7:00.

So there I was stranded at my mother's house (Fiance had also been fixing my car that day) sign-less. She offered to help me, just like every other time in my life when I waited until the last minute to do something (4th grade science project done in one night, anyone? I'm sure someone in this world besides me had to have tortured their mother this way). So really, all credit goes to her. We found an old shelf in her garage that she had been saving to use for "something" (a.k.a. nothing :P) that she was willing to give up for me.

Original Shelf

It was old, dirty, and heavy. But it would have to work. I cleaned it off, sanded it a bit, and got to painting. I didn't have the foresight to take pictures while painting (I was in a bit of a panic), but all I did was mix some white acrylic paint with an equal amount of water and paint the front of the board. I used four or five coats. Really, the last two were just me dumping blobs of paint somewhere in the middle and pushing them around with a paint brush. I do not recommend this, it gets messy quite easily. Like, ruin-my-mother's-new-jeans-because-I-got-paint-on-the-floor kind of messy. Whoops. Sorry, Mom!

Here is the board after the final coat of paint:

Much better, right? Notice the protective tablecloth/barrier layer between it and the floor - - hey, watered down paint is messy!

Anyway, from here we began printing the lettering for the sign (you can see some of the testers up at the top of the last picture...), which was a major fail, at least the first few times around. Case in point:

Yeah. A bit too small, there. And you can see the hairdryer used for when blobs of paint don't dry fast enough :D. The word "the" was the only part that turned out well in the first round of printing. Even aside from the sizing of the letters, though, my mom's black ink cartridge was apparently low, so everything looked like dark green instead of nice, crisp, black. So from here on out (until midnight) most of our time was spent  coloring in the letters with Sharpies. Then, since I was worried about being able to see the paper in the pictures, I insisted we cut out the letters as closely to the ink as possible before gluing them to the board. If I get early onset arthritis, I'm blaming this project.

Finally, somehow, we finished the sign. It's nothing elaborate, and even though the letters are just printed on paper and glued to the board, I think it turned out pretty well.

Muuuuch better! Nice, big letters, and I don't think the edges of the paper are visible unless you look really, really close (please don't). The photographer also reassured me that they wouldn't be visible at all. I originally wanted a weathered look to the sign, but I had to face it: I'm a procrastinator, and those like me don't always get everything they want. At least I have a great mother who will sacrifice sleep and The Hunger Games just to help me! :)

Once the pictures are done being processed (or whatever) I'll post a few of us with the sign. I really hope the pictures turn out well! Until then...

Does anyone have a funny procrastination story? Anyone make a "Save the Date" sign?

-Christi Lee

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