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Topic: DIY Banner Info needed
Message: Posted by: Crossroads Mystic (Jul 8, 2005 05:27PM)

Iím sure one of you learned gentlemen (or ladies) can answer this.

I looked to make my own banner, I have a friend who is a good artist
and heís will to help he. What I need to know is:
What is the best material to paint on?
Does it need to be primered in anyway?
What is the best type of paint to use?
Does the banner need a sealer on it?

The banner would spend sometime outdoors.

Gavin D.
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Jul 10, 2005 08:16PM)
I do know that heavy canvas works best and as far as I know they are sealed with regular paint sealer...acrilic is best...as far as primer, I don't know...PM Tod Robbins or Doug Higly, they should know.
best of luck~
Message: Posted by: wolfsong (Jul 10, 2005 11:42PM)
This is something I have been trying to figure out myself. I think Dr. Wilson has made some of these, maybe he will give us the benefit of his experience.
Message: Posted by: Cadabra (Jul 11, 2005 12:27AM)
If you want to make a trip to NYC, you could take the banner painting workshop at Coney Island Sideshow School with professor Marie Roberts.

Message: Posted by: Crossroads Mystic (Jul 13, 2005 02:17PM)
Thanks for the information.

Gavin D.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 13, 2005 02:48PM)
There are some traditional techniques, and if you are a fanatic about authenticity, you can use those techniques.

The banner book from the Carl Hammer Gallery describes how canvas was stretched by hanging it or nailing it to a flat surface, then primed with white lead house paint. The banner was then painted in oils.

I am not a fanatic about authenticity, and I use modern materials. I did not learn this from a banner painter, so I'm sure that if I'm way off someone will make another suggestion. Everything I know about it I learned from Dick Blick (an art supply house with a great online store) and talking to artists.

When I do one, the cloth is sewn before anything else. I have used muslin for banners up to 3' x 5'; beyond that, you almost have to use canvas (cotton duck) because of the strength. After that, because I'm working with acrylics, I use acrylic gesso. After a coat or two of gesso (directions are on the container), I start with the acrylics. I use high viscosity Liquitex acrylics that have a consistency like toothpaste, although you can thin them with water to create washes and color blends. They dry pretty fast, but you can also work them wet to create cool effects. When they are dry, you can put semi-transparent colored washes over them. When you are done, you can put a clear glossy or matt acrylic varnish over them to protect the paint. While this isn't entirely necessary, it seems to brighten the colors a bit, or you can mix in a little bit of yellowish pigment to give the banners an antique look if you want. The nice thing about all of this is that everything, from gesso to varnish, cleans up with water if it hasn't dried.

There is still another approach, which I haven't used, but I have seen banners done this way and they looked OK. You can have a digital print place print your color image on vinyl. For something the size of a sideshow banner this will cost a lot of money. You paint your banner with the right aspect ratio, either with actual paint or digitally, and they print it out real large.

Don't discount the possibility of paying someone to paint you a banner. There are many good artists that love to do this. Doug Higley has recently recommended having an artist make you a small one with the right aspect ratio, then taking it to a sign painter from your local yellow pages to have it reproduced exactly at full size.

I did my own because I knew what I wanted them to look like, and I don't have to pay myself for my time. You can't afford the greats in the sideshow banner business, but paying a wannabe to paint you a banner is still going to look better than having a digital print place do one for you. I don't know what a sign painter would charge, but they will tell you.

I am hesitant to name names for fear of omitting someone, but if you google "sideshow banners," you will find some good people.

Let us know how it goes!


Message: Posted by: Crossroads Mystic (Jul 13, 2005 04:19PM)
Hey Paul,


Authenticity is great, until you get to that ďprimed with white lead house paintĒ part. I donít have the money for a sign printer or professional banner painter, but the Dick Blick method you talked about sound great. If I do this it should be done by Halloween, Iíll send you a picture.

Thanks again,
Gavin D.
Message: Posted by: Addy (Jul 14, 2005 01:34PM)
My wife paints all of my banners. She uses house paint. At home depot they have oops paint. Colors that didn't mix well. Odd colors. Sometines really cool colors. Anyway, she gessos the canvas and just uses the house paint. Just be sure it's not humid outside. The paint will never dry properly and the banners will remain sticky. House paint is a heck of a lot cheaper than acrylic. I don't believe she seals them.