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I just completed my first structure on my 1830's layout, a Livery Stable from an American Model Builders wood kit. Results are satisfactory so far, but will need additional detailing, especially a sign. I've never made one before so I wanted to ask here how best to approach an old wooden sign board to place above the door just below the pitched roof:

IMG_3377 copy.JPG


Ideally I'd like the Livery name be printed on an actual sign board as opposed to directly on the building itself, similar to the below image:

Livery copy.jpg


What would be the best way to approach? Stencil? Would anyone be able to recommend a source for fonts? I'm completely new to decals.
 

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The sign in your picture is very professional, but I suspect many signs during that era were simply homemade. The end result was often a sign that didn't get the spelling right.

If you want a wood sign use the craft sticks available at fabric stores (tongue depressor or popsickle width). Print your sign on paper and play with the scaling to get it the size you want. Paste it onto the wooden backing.

Lettering was never my thing, although I've known some that could do great jobs from scratch. The problem as I see it is they were doing 1:1 lettering or larger. You need small lettering to fit your HO scale building. Plenty of fonts available on your computer!

Don't forget the proprietor's name! That was an important part of signs from that period.
 

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I've seen some utube videos of techniques for transferring a laser print onto an object. You reverse the print, print, and there was a way to transfer the printing while basically dissolving away the paper. Sorry as I don't recall anything more. This morning I remembered where I put my keys and that by itself was amazing.
 

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I would say that a tongue depressor or popsicle stick is probably too thick.. Buy a sheet of thin basswood and use that for your backing.

For fonts, Microsoft Word has dozens, and more are available to download.
 

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So far these are all very helpful suggestions, as to the actual lettering it seems to me from my research that aside from scratch painting, the only two methods for applying lettering is either stencils or decals. Is this accurate?

I'm a bit confused as to the procedures for each method, especially when I want to use old fashioned fonts in a very small size.
 

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They sell what is called a dry transfer decal.
All you do is rub it off the decal sheet with something like the end of a pencil or I like a q tip.

They make many dry transfer decals google them.

Woodland Scenics make them.
https://www.oakridgehobbies.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=letter+dry+transfer

They make all kinds of picture dry transfer decals too if you want a little advertising on the shed.
Here is one there are many more, I just picked this site for the ease of posting. There may be others with different ones or better pricing. Google dry transfer train or old advertising if that interests you.
Easy to apply , just rub them off the sheet.

785-DT570.jpg
 

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So far these are all very helpful suggestions, as to the actual lettering it seems to me from my research that aside from scratch painting, the only two methods for applying lettering is either stencils or decals. Is this accurate?

I'm a bit confused as to the procedures for each method, especially when I want to use old fashioned fonts in a very small size.
A stencil probably won't work -- getting clean lines on the letters in the size you're looking for would be too hard.

Water slide or dry transfer decals would work. You can print your own on a laser jet or inkjet printer, or you can commission custom decals from any of several suppliers. For what you want to do, though, this would probably be prohibitively expensive.

You can also print the sign on ordinary paper and simply glue it to a thin wood backing. If you want a thinner paper sign, you can print it on heavy bond paper, spray it with a fixative, and let it dry a few days. Then you can use a finger or pencil eraser to gently remove most of the paper from the reverse side, leaving a very thin piece with the printing on it.
 
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