Build it. Send it! Part 5

Make a Rooftop Sign : I have been following the diorama build between Doug Foscale and Jason Jensen. When Part 5 came out I was amazed since I had already purchased the letters for just such a rooftop sign. This was exactly what I wanted to do and darn it .. for once I did not have to start from scratch but instead could follow along with Doug.


Doug used his ‘Magic’ laser cutter to cut letters that fit where he needed them to. Me .. lacking the magical laser cutter had to pick up lettering at Hobby Lobby. I found these cut from Chipboard which I rather thought were perfect .. height, thickness and material. Sometimes ..luck is as good as having magic.


Doug’s drawing for his sign covered a stepped roof – his drawing reflects this so half the supports are longer. The stripwood he used for the heavier verticals and lighter horizontals were ‘about’ 4″ to 6″ for the supports and 3″ for the horizontals. Looks like anything that came to hand about that size.What really caught my attention was him overlaying the drawing with wax paper and building directly on that. I tend to overthink things .. this brought me back to reality.

I used Doug’s drawing as a guide finding stripwood that was within the same general guides .. 4-6″ for the verticals and half that for the horizontals.

I have to say that I simply really enjoyed using his method of wax paper over my drawing and assembling directly on the wax paper. You have to clean the little bit of glue where the frame is assembled over wax paper but that is easily done even with just a thumbail.

The stripwood I pulled from my storage box ended up .080″ x .125″ (4″ x 6″) for the uprights and .060″ x .125″ (3″ x 6″)for the horizontals. I made the uprights a big long .. the cross-hatched bit in the diagram at the bottom can be either inserted into the roof or cut off flush. Since my roof is so irregular I will worry about bracing later.

Color and Rust

  • Doug painted his letters gray to look like metal. He then used a sponge to sponge on paint. This gives a look of flaking paint and finally a mix of browns – burnt umber and raw sienna.
  • I decided to go a different route at the point which I will detail following.

Make the letters tin

The ChipDecor letters were stuck to double-sided tape so I could work on them easier. I first painted them with a gray acrylic followed by brushing with DecoArt  Tin. I like this Metallic Paint as it is a craft acrylic that flows on very nicely and yes .. looks like .. well .. tin .. or at least what I presume tin looks like.

A closer look. I think the slight texture you see is from the chipboard the letters are cut from. For me it ‘works’.

Dark Rust

My first step is to rust the letters before adding any color. This is opposite to how Doug did his note. I used craft store acrylic burnt umber to add a darker rust to the letters, paying attention to when water would have remained longer .. and made rust longer.

Light Rust

I then followed up with craft store acrylic raw sienna to look like a newer and lighter rust.

Faded red

Sponged on a faded red color using Apple Barrel Flag Red and FolkArt Bright Pink.

I used Doug’s method of flicking a brush with Burnt Umber against a toothpick to add spotting to the letters. I used thinned acrylic because that is what I had on hand.

Like Doug I prefer Aleen’s Tacky Glue for attaching the letters. I did use an additional toothpick to remove excess glue as I worked on each letter. Doug’s laser cut letters had a fret that connected them and helped locate them .. which for my lettering was something that would have helped .. I had to just eyeball the letters for placing.

I need to mount the sign to the structure .. that .. is another story.

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