I printed 6″ letters on paper using Publisher and WordArt. We cut up the plastic bags, taped the letters underneath them and traced the outlines with Sharpies. (hint: I printed 2 1/2 letters on every second sheet so we could use the overlap to align and space the letters correctly.)
Meanwhile, Dave cut up a box and taped the seams to make the projector.
He cut a much smaller opening at the opposite end. He and Lexi devised a phone mount using a hair tie and bobby pins. He then switched on the flashlight app and tested it by projecting the first two letters on the living room wall. It worked!
We determined that while we could direct it at the billboard, that method would require waiting until dark for the image to be visible enough to trace. We didn’t want to wait that long to start the actual painting, so back inside we went.
Dave cut a 12′ long strip from a large cardboard box. We snapped parallel chalk lines 24 inches apart, then straddled a ladder over it. Dave laid the projector over the ladder hinges, which provided the perfect distance for magnifying the letters to size.
This part didn’t take long, but cutting out the letters took a little doing. Dave’s razor knife helped, but an X-acto knife or rotary cutter would have been handy here. Serrated kitchen knives worked OK, too.
We try to do at least one thing to move the project forward every day, and for the most part, it’s working. The property really appears to be shaping up, and we’ve been getting great responses from our guests and our neighbors. When it feels particularly slow going or I start to worry about money, I remind myself how far we’ve come on so little, and in such a short time. Before & After pics help.
Did you know that Eva Mann made the original “MOTEL” and “Office” signs out of styrofoam she chiseled herself? 35 years later, those signs are still hanging. All we need to do is replace one “f” and apply fresh paint and they’ll be good as new.
Perhaps someday we’ll be able to afford vinyl letters and other luxuries. Until then, here’s to Making Do like it’s 1979.