Saturday, June 16, 2012

Latitude & Longitude Signs ~ Tutorial



I'm a fan of personalized artwork, but more than that, I'm a fan of CHEAP personalized artwork.  So, when I saw L.L. Bean's Latitude/Longitude Sign's on Mandi Tremayne's blog, I was pretty smitten with them. 
L.L. Bean

Oh the fun I could have customizing them to any city or town I want, I mean come on, who wouldn't love them?  I'll take FIVE!  Then I saw the price, $34.95 per sign.  They're just pine boards, right? 
Deal Breaker!!!
Except,I say to myself,... I'm a handy girl!  I can do these on my own.  L.L. Bean can keep their signs.

Fast forward about three months and two sets of signs later, and I think I've got this sign thing down! 

~Quick pause for fun info!~  I submitted the pic below to the Silhouette Blog several months ago as they are always looking for projects done with the Silhouette to show off.  Well guess what... they featured my signs last Friday!!!! Thanks so much Silhouette America, I'm tickled you like them!!



This first set of signs above, was what I'll call a "pre-blog" project. Meaning I took a few pics for my Mom and sister to see, but really didn't document the process.  The second set is the one I'll show you from start to finish.

Tutorial Time!!

I started with a trip to Lowe's to get a 1"x8"x8' pine board and had them cut it down to 20" lengths. (Oops, I forgot, that's what i did with the first set.  Mr Concrete had a board in the garage this time just waiting for me :)  We chopped that bad boy up with a chop saw, sanded off the splinters and broke out the black paint.

Boards are painted in Valspar Dark Kettle Black
With my first set of signs, I let the black base coat dry for just a few hours and, being the impatient person that I am, couldn't wait another minute.  I went on to the next step and yep, you guessed it... in the final steps, parts of it peeled off to bare wood.  This time, I let it dry over night and no peelage (umm yes, that's a word).  I like them fine with peelage or without, but figured I'd pass on the tidbit.

While they were drying, I pulled out my Silhouette Cameo software and went to work.  This is the part where you can really have fun and make these a part of your family history.

Our signs are for the places we've lived or vacationed.  It was so much fun deciding which exact Lat & Long to use from our trips.  The sign below pinpoints the spot where we all played on the beach last month in Hawaii, and the Las Vegas sign is for the Bellagio Hotel where Mr Concrete and I saw Cirque Du Soleil's "O" (it was better than amazing!).  Type "find latitude and longitude" in your browser and you'll have an endless number of sights that'll help you find any Lat & Long you want. 


Actually, let me clarify, you can find almost any sight.  I was unsuccessful in finding a Lat & Long for Log Base Seitz, Iraq in my original set.  (and to answer a popular question: No, we did not vacation in Iraq.  Mr Concrete was stationed there for a year with his unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Does anyone vacation in Iraq right now?)  Anyway, much to my pleasure, I found that you can NOT locate the Lat & Long for a U.S. Military base in a war zone.  I'm gonna assume the reason for that is self-evident.  The coordinates I used for that sign were for a major land mark that Mr Concrete tells me he frequented.

After my images were complete, I used the Cameo to cut them out of basic white Contact paper. Contact paper can be a little frustrating to use, but it's so much cheaper than buying the good quality vinyl when you're just going to throw it away at the end of the project.  I weeded my vinyl and used transfer paper to adhere it to the now dry black boards.


They actually look pretty good at this point and could easily be used as a finished product.  I'm an over achiever though, so we're just getting started.  Oh, incase anyone was wondering, the font is Apple LiSung.

In order to avoid that pesky mess where your paint leaks under your vinyl and ruins your perfect, crisp line, I painted over the boards again in one quick coat of black. This seals the edges of the vinyl and any paint that does leak under is the same color as the base. (did that make sense?) Anyway, you get nice edges...


~Important note~  Don't start painting over the vinyl at 10:00 p.m. unless you plan on staying up a while, cuz once you start, you can't stop.  A good rule of thumb for when to apply that next coat of paint is "dry to the touch".  This rule works for between coats as well as when to peel off the vinyl.  If the paint is left to cure at all before the vinyl is removed, the vinyl will rip off the paint in all the wrong directions!  Learn from my mistakes, start early and fire up the hair dryer!!

3 coats of Valspar's HoneyMilk for the topcoat

Time to peel the vinyl!


This process can be tedious, but it's so worth it in the end!


And here they are. A finished product! Unless you're me...




Now it's time to give 'em some character!  That's right, beatings, sandings and random painting here we come!!!


There's no science here.  I beat 'em up with a board then sanded randomly through to the black and ended with some Americana Asphaltum latex paint mixed with water and brushed on till I liked it. 

~NOW they're finished!~


I'm pretty in love with the aged details.


Though not everyone is so sure about them.  My 9 year old told me, in somewhat of a panic, to "stop sanding Mommy, you're taking the paint off!"  He didn't quite understand when I told him that was the point.




Some of my kids are just worried that there won't be any more vacations if the wall gets completely full. :)


Have any of you ever tried getting a decent photo of a wall this high with a point-and-shoot camera? What was I thinking???



So thrilled this little section of our great room is finally coming together.  And, my kids can quit asking me when I'm gonna add Hawaii!!



If you've stuck with me this long without your eyes glazing over, then THANKS!!  Oh, and since this all started 'cuz I didn't wanna spend L.L. Bean prices, I should let you know what I did spend.  Sorry, I don't have the exact break down, but with all the supplies; pine board, paint, contact paper, and Command Adhesives to hang them (which was the most expensive part of this project, by the way) I spent less than the $34.95 they wanted for one sign, but I got eight!!!

Well I'm hearing Harry Potter music drifting from the other room, so that's my cue to finish this and go watch some TV.  Hope you have a magical weekend!!!

~Jeannine

Im Linking up to:

74 comments:

  1. Yay I love them & 2 cities I've lived in are on the wall woohoo lol.

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    1. So glad you like them, and of course I have to ask, which ones??

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  2. They look great! I live in the 'burbs of Chicago so I like the first one best. :)

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  3. These are amazing!! I'm so impressed! You did an amazing job and now I'm feeling inspired to do something like this! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. SUPER CUTE! Crossing my fingers you share this at my party!!! Saturdays at Seven!

    XO, Aimee

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  5. Are you kidding?! Those are AMAZING! What a great tutorial! I am going to have to pick my special places and give that a try! I am your newest follower!

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  6. Your project turned out wonderfully, Jeannine! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I don't have a Silhouette, but have been working on some canvas signs using vinyl stickers...I really appreciate the hint about the first coat over the letters being the same as the base coat! Thanks so much for stopping by and following...I am a new follower, too!

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  7. Being a military brat AND wife, I LOVE this idea!! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  8. Fabulous idea, project, and tutorial, Jeanine! You did an amazing job! Looks like something right out of LL Bean, girl! :)

    xoxo laurie

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  9. Your signs turned out beautifully! I really need a Silhouette in the worst way!

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    1. I was so lucky my husband bought me one for Christmas last year! It's been fantastic!!Thanks for visiting... again :)

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  10. Congrats on the feature!! These look so great!!

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  11. This is just amazing!I like this kind of artwork!Thank you for sharing it with us! :)

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  12. These turned out beautiful! It's amazing that you made eight for the price of one :) I'd love for you to share them at Mix it up Monday:

    http://www.flourmewithlove.com/2012/06/mix-it-up-monday_17.html

    I hope to see you soon!

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  13. I love your signs, Jeannine! They turned out fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Hugs,
    Julia

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  14. You did a great job! I honestly kinda like your signs better than the expensive ones. Good work!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  15. Love these! And you did such a good job on them. Found you on French Country Cottage- I will be following you!

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  16. I love these! You did an amazing job. I like them better than the originals!

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  17. These turned out awesome! I love your can do attitude!! I am your newest follower!

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  18. Very nice signs, I love the look! Thanks for sharing with the newbie party.

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  19. Love these homemade signs - they turned out GREAT!!!
    Thanks for linking up this week!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

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  20. Hey...I got a brief mention on your blog!!! How special is that. Just waiting on my silhouette (hint, hint, hint) this Christmas/Birthday!!!

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  21. I actually like yours better!!! Awesome job. Thanks for stopping lake cottage dreams. Love your blog!

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  22. I think you just made me decide...THIS is what my office needs! Love them!

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  23. Came over from DIY to see your signs. Wouldn't these be great wedding gifts for a couple who travels? Love them!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

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  24. another Military Wife here, love this idea for not only the places we vacation but the places we have lived, special places and places my hubby has been stationed (I have a very large empty wall!). Love them! thank you for copying L.L. Bean and sharing with us on how to make our own!

    Misty in WV

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    1. You're welcome!! I think these would be absolutely perfect for military families! A great way to remember all the different posts and deployments that make up a military life. I'd love to see them if you start filling that large wall!!

      Jeannine

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  25. I love your signs. I'm so inspired to try to make some myself, but it will have to be without the cameo. I #1 you on google. TFS Peggy~PJH Designs

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  26. Love 'em!! Not sure how you get the letters on there just so after you have everything cut out. I guess the Silouette works differently than the Cricut. I have neither :o( I might just have to figure something else out though cause these are cute, cute, cute!

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    1. Thanks so much!! I've never used a Cricut, but with the Silhouette I design everything on their software and it cuts it out exactly like I have it laid out on the computer. After that, it's just a matter of using transfer paper (you can see this in my post just prior to this one) and laying it on the boards. I'm sure you could use a stencil or letter/number stickers to get the same kind of look.
      So happy you stopped by!!!

      Jeannine

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  27. amazingly well done. yours came out great. thank you for linking it up at our party at http://www.finecraftguild.com

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  28. Way to go, Sis, for being featured...you are hard to keep up with, but hey, who's trying (ROFL!!!)

    Seriously, proud of you!!!

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  29. These look amazing, love this idea and one I shall be borrowing!

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  30. Those look so good, I love the idea of putting the latitude and longitude on there.

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  31. Great tutorial. I really like your signs. So much so that I hope you don't mind me pinning them w/ your credit. Congratulations on your Newbie Spotlight.

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  32. Love your signs! Very cool...pinned it. I may need to check out the Silhouette, I've hand painted a few signs but it's nearly impossible for me to get it nice and perfect. ;)

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  33. Hi...came over from Fox Hollow - congrats on the spotlight!
    I love your signs and was thinking I need some, too. My husband was also in the military and I have several places I could make lat/longs for! :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  34. These are amazing!! I wish I had the patience to finish this kind of project! Major kudos!

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  35. Just to let you know - your wonderful project was featured on homework today. Come on over and a grab a button. As always, thank you so much for linking up your project. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  36. Congratulations on your feature! You deserve it-you are so clever!

    I'm going to Google+ this wonderful post right now.

    Thanks for linking up to Say G'day Saturday. This week's post is now live so I hope that you can join in again this weekend!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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  37. Love these signs! You did an amazing job -it looks so stylish on your wall! Love how you distressed them too - much better than if you had left them undistressed (um not sure that is a word!)...anyway so glad I found your blog - I am your newest follower! I am a military wife too.... Army, Infantry wife...Hooah! Please stop by my blog sometime and say hello - I love to make new bloggy friends :) Heather

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  38. Hi Jannine! I am a nurse also. Hey, I love these signs...they are just wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us how you made them. I am following you now. I saw your post over at "Masterpiece Monday".

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  39. I SOOOO love this Jeannine!!!! They are soooo beautiful!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! I can't wait to see what you'll be linking up this evening!

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  40. Congrats on being featured at From Dream To Reality!
    I hope you come and grab your Featured Button.. you deserve it :)
    http://thediydreamer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/from-dream-to-reality-linky-party-22.html

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  41. So darn cute and your blog is wonderful. I'm follower #37 and I think you are a rising star! Good luck

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  42. I adore these! Thank you for sharing your wonderful tutorial! I am your newest follower :)

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  43. I'm just getting around to my features now, thanks for linking up to Make the Scene Monday...you are being featured later this evening!

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    1. Oh thank you!!! Can't wait to see it and proudly display your button!

      ~ Jeannine

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  44. Those are stunning! I love how they turned out! Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing at the Pomp Party! Pinning to our Pomp Party board!

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  45. It's easy to get the lat/lon for any place you can identify by sight on a map. Go to Google maps, find the spot, and then right-click. On the resulting pop-up menu, choose "What's Here?". And presto, in the Maps address bar, it shows the lat/lon of the location under your mouse cursor.

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  46. These are fantastic! You really do have a lot of patience to go through so many steps. I actually loved the black background with the white letters, etc. :) Great job and something I would LOVE.

    Pat

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  47. Fantastic job! Love them...and now going to find out more about Silhouette Cameo! I've been wanting to find out how to make my own stencils, and this looks like it might do the trick!
    Debbie :)

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  48. Jeannine, please a question on your wonderful signs. How do you get the curve on the city using the Silhoutte? I am a new owner and these signs are my first project. Thanks so much! Peggy

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    1. Hi Peggy,
      Congrats on getting the Cameo!! You can use the "text to path" feature on the Silhouette, if you're unfamiliar with that, here's a link to a quick YouTube video showing what I'm talking about

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em3K5QyleNM

      I tried using that, but I didn't like that my letters no longer stood straight up and down when doing this. I ended up drawing an oval that had the amount of curve that I liked, writing out my City letters, ungrouping them and then just dragging each individual letter to the top of the oval so they followed the curve.

      That's makes sense to me since of course I know exactly what I'm talking about, LOL. However, if that didn't make sense to you, or you have more questions, please feel free to email me at TheConcreteCottage@gmail.com (you can also just click on "Contact Me" at the top, right of my blog) and ask any additional questions you have.

      Hope this helped, and I'd love to see them when you're finished!!

      Jeannine

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  49. Thank you! I did find some info on the i-net about rounding the letters with the oval, the 'ungroup' is better than the 'don't cut' It's going to be my first project and I want to give them to my kids for Christmas (this year). Thanks for the support! Peggy

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  50. This is amazingly awesome! Thanks for sharing your tutorial. I have a scrap of wood that I have been saving for a sign - this gave me a dose of inspiration! :)

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  51. I love this tutorial!!! Thank you for sharing it. I just came back from buying the wood to make these and I can't wait to get started! I have a question about the Command adhesives...which ones did you use? I haven't tried them before so I want to make sure that I pick up the right ones. My husband is very excited at the thought of not putting a bunch of holes in the wall! Thank you for your help.

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  52. When I peel my letters off, the paint comes with it and ruins the project. I tried taking the letters off before it completely dries but that didn't work either. Any suggestions? I am using valspar interior paint. I bought the pre mixed samples.

    Thanks. Lori

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    1. Hi Lori,
      You're a "noreply-comment" blogger so I couldn't send you an email reply. I hope you see this!
      My husband tried doing a project like this an had similar results. The one thing that seemed to make the big difference in his case was the thickness of the paint layers. He was putting them on quite thick and having that same problem. I had him put on about 3 thin layers of paint with a sponge roller and that did the trick.
      Even when the paint's gone on perfectly, there seems to always be some issues around some of the smaller letters. I tend to peel the vinyl very slowly and use a pin/needle/exacto knife (whatever you find works best for you) when I need to, and score the edges. Hopefully some of this helps and you have better results! If you need to, you can email me directly at TheConcreteCottage@gmail.com and we can trouble shoot together!!

      ~ Jeannine

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    2. THANK YOU. I will definitely try this. I was testing out the process on small boards that I was hoping to use as Christmas ornaments, but my REAL project was going to be a name sign for my dad's new house that has his last name and the date he and his wife got married on it... MUCH BIGGER scale. I will try this tonight. Thanks for your help.

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  53. Also I used contact paper instead of vinyl... Didn't think that should make a difference though. Lori

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    1. I used contact paper as well, so I agree, that shouldn't make a difference.

      ~ Jeannine

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  54. These are amazing! I love the distressed look you created too. This is such a creative idea, and your finished product is stunning.

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  55. Would you share the font you used. My husband just retired from 25 years in the Army. I'd love to do this with our duty stations and his deployments.

    Thanks.

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    1. Sure, the font is Apple LiSung. Have fun!!

      ~ Jeannine

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  56. Great signs!! Do use spray paint or paint with a brush?

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    1. Thanks so much! For these signs, I used a foam roller. It puts down a lot of paint, which covers the black better. For several of my others, I've used a brush. Just depends on the kind of finish you want. Smooth, or with brush strokes.

      ~ Jeannine

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  57. I'm new to Silhouette Cameo and therefore am just finding you. I must say I am in love with your project and your writing pretty amazing as well! I will put this at the tip top of my to-do list!!! Thanks so much for sharing and caring.

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  59. AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the tut! I totally ganked your idea and made some of my own! Yay!

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Thanks so much for your comments. I read, and very much appreciate, every one of them!