community art project stencils

Community art project stencils

Posted Posted in Artists, Artwork, Mylar, Signage

Pat Bray, a local artist, won a commission for an art project for Letham Glen, a lovely park in Leven, Fife.

Pat designed 37 stencils with interesting facts about the park’s history. She included stories of local witches and ghosts, performing bears, and the local miners who built the swimming pool.

The stencils were to be used with chalk spray to create signs on the ground at points of interest around the park.

Choosing materials

First, we selected a material for the stencils. It was important that the stencils were easy to carry around the park for spraying. They also had to be waterproof so they could be used outdoors, placed on the ground for spraying and washed off without damaging them.

Pat chose mylar. It’s a light, flexible, waterproof plastic, and perfect for laser cutting. It’s very robust too, so the small pieces between letters are strong enough to withstand regular usage.

Choosing a font

Next, we had to choose a font for the text. Pat wanted the insides of letters like p to remain as part of the stencil, so we picked a stencil font. There are lots to choose from, so we selected a clear one that was easy to read. The stencils had to be legible when placed on the floor.

Finally, Pat decided to have two stencil sizes. Six of the stencils had more text than the others, so we created large and small stencils to make sure all the text was legible and the text on all the stencils was the same size.

Pat was delighted with the stencils. They have withstood the rigours of park life well! They’re robust enough to use again and again to entertain and inform visitors to the park.

Reclaimed wood laser engraved sign for Old School Fabrications

Can we work with recycled wood?

Posted Posted in Exhibitions, Recycled wood, Signage

I’m often asked if we can engrave recycled wood. Here’s an example of a project where we did just that.

We  laser engraved two of these signs made from reclaimed pine for Old School Fabrications (OSF). They were for an exhibition for the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

When the wood arrived for engraving, it was covered with nasty old green paint and looked awful! OSF had cut the boards to size as they were too thick for us. We just had to engrave them.

Engraving through to the good wood

We made a good, deep engrave to give a significant 3D element to the signs. This was particularly important as OSF wanted to sand the signs after engraving to get back to the good wood under the layers of paint. A pine is a softwood, this was easier to achieve than if oak had been used. Engraving using the same power and speed settings on the laser machine will always deliver a deeper engraving if a less dense wood like pine or larch is used rather than on a more dense wood like oak.

Old School Fabrications then took the engraved wood for finishing and treatment for outdoor use. As you can see, the transformation was incredible, and all the knots and imperfections in the wood added to the beauty of the signs. This picture shows one of them mounted in Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square by the pond, where OSF put a model crocodile to complete the African vibe!

We were lucky enough to get our hands on one of the signs the exhibition was finished. They were no longer required, so ours is in pride of place on the workshop wall.  It’s a great example to show customers when they visit of how they can expect engraved wood to look. And it also shows just how well reclaimed wood can scrub up.