Mars Hill Church contacted us late last year with this project which involved building new neon “Jesus Saves” crosses that would have an authentic aged look to them in order to convey an old, reliable message. We decided to use new modern materials such as aluminum and stainless steel which offers a reduced weight and longer life span, although these materials did create a challenge for us in the aging process.
Additional challenges were that many of the signs would possibly serve roles in various ways in the future, meaning we needed to design a fabrication method that would allow them to be wall mounted, flag mounted, or mounted on a stand with little alteration. This was solved by designing a framework which has internal mounting attachments for any of the possible methods used.
In order to make these look authentically old we used old school techniques for painting using One Shot paints and hand painted the lettering. This gave the signs needed visible brush strokes that would become highlighted when signs were carefully sanded down to show wear. This paired with some appropriately placed dents and dings from various hammers and implements of destruction are now ready for the rusting process; which was done with a special iron paint immediately sprayed with our secret sauce for instant and continual rust.
Finally, lighting was added to some of the signs using good old neon. We chose a warm white color which is more authentic than the overpowering cold white used in signage today.
The final product which was mounted in various ways or delivered on mobile stands looked exactly like they were intended to: like they were pulled right off an old building and re-purposed.