MDesigns was started in 2016. Mary, the person behind MDesigns, started making signs by helping out another artist. A distressed background was needed for a project and I was given the task. There we trial and errors in styling and design but the more that was done, the better I became at distressing and aging wood and occasionally metal. I began making signs just for the fun of it which led to making them for friends and family. Realizing how much better these looked than what was already on the market, I starting selling locally. I then decided it was time to start selling online to gain more exposure.
How the signs are made
All cutting, sanding, painting and distressing is done by hand. No sign is ever printed, however, you will find an occasional sign with an applied element and that will be clearly stated. Since everything is done by hand, you will find inconsistencies in size and shape. Not all signs will have perfect edges or square corners. I feel the inconsistencies add to the realistic aged appearance of the signs. All signs also have a satin clear coat to preserve the sign and ease of cleaning. A damp cloth is recommended to clean all signs. The clear coat makes the signs water resistant but not water proof. Unless specified, all signs should not be exposed to harsh weather.
The Painting Process
Most signs are started by painting the background with no particular design in mind. The colors chosen are whatever I’m in the mood for that day. Once the background is done, which can take anywhere from 2 hours to a full day, including dry time, I start the lettering and design. I use real antique signs as inspiration or at times I will copy the design onto the wood or metal. Water-based paints are used for all signs. If a sign is to be displayed outside, I will use a waterproofing sealer on the bare wood first and use outdoor paint as much as possible for the distressing and design. The top coat will also have a waterproof sealer. Making signs for outdoor display does take longer due to many more coats of sealer and paint being used and to allow enough time for all layers to cure.
My favorite part of each sign is the distressed background. If a piece of wood is too “clean”, I will distress it with various tools such as screwdrivers, chain, wood planes, etc… When possible, I will leave the nail heads in the wood and enhance the rust effect even more. That is one of my favorite techniques. It adds a level of depth and dimension to the sign that you won’t find on most signs.
I do accept orders for custom signs, any size, design or quantity. I can also make smaller signs if you have an event such as a wedding, baby or bridal shower, birthday, etc… If you have an idea but not an image, let me know and I can design it for you. Custom sign prices will vary depending on the size and complexity of the image. I can also make non distressed signs or signs with a light distressing. Larger signs will have a much higher shipping cost but if you live in the Philadelphia area, we can arrange for a pickup. This also applies to signs currently for sale.
Please contact Mary at MDesigns if you have additional questions.