Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Making A Perfect Arrow

When I make something, precision is always my goal. I'm a perfectionist and I can't help it.

And when something I make is going to be in public, it's even more important to me to "get it right".

Last weekend, we had the annual 5K that I have chaired for 12 years.  There are several corners where the runners and walkers have to turn, and this year,  I was a little short on volunteers.  I decided to make wooden arrows to put along the route so if I didn't get anyone to stand on those corners, at least the arrows would be there.

Until about 5 minutes ago, I didn't realize how much I like arrows.  Not shooting arrows, but arrows that point out things.  But, one of the hardest things about making an arrow is getting it even.  I like the point to be the same on both sides.

So, I make a template by folding a paper in half and drawing half of an arrow to get the shape I want.

For this project, I used an old posterboard so it would have some heft and be long enough.  And because I like to recycle.

I traced it onto some old plywood because there was no sense spending money on something that would be painted and then kept inside for all of eternity except for 4 hours once a year when they guide the runners.

 K-ster cut them all out with a combination of his skill saw and jigsaw.

And then I had to decide what to do to paint them.  I knew I would be making vinyl decals on the Cricut, but I was worried that they might not stick to some paints.

I decided to use spray paint, which I usually hate using.  I loved the richness of the blue, which is the Cultural Center's color, so I bought 2 cans and got to work.

Some people love to spray paint and do it all the time.  I hate it and do it as little as possible.  I don't like the way I do it, no matter how even I try to get it and I hate that it manages to get everywhere even when I try really hard to be far away from it and not in the wind.

I did 3 coats and brought them in for the night.

The next  night, I made my vinyl decals and was pretty excited to try them out.

And they promptly fell right off.  Not a letter would stick.  I was irate because a) I had made all of the decals already, b) I wasn't exactly sure what was making them not stick and c) I was panicking because I didn't have volunteers to stand at those corners so I needed these arrows to work.

I supposed I could have used the pretty blue arrows without words, but the words would make it so clear.  And look so much better!

I thought maybe it was the texture because though I had sanded the plywood before spraying, they had become really rough during the 3 sprayings.

I took one out and tried to sand it.  Then I had to repaint because they were scuffed.  I was afraid I'd be right back in the same place the next day, because I thought the gloss of the paint was what caused the non-sticking.

Surprisingly, the decals stuck right to the sanded and repainted arrows.  I guess it was the rough surface that was causing the trouble.

I wanted to also put the logo of the Cultural Center, but we were getting closer and closer to the end of the week and I haven't yet figured out how to get the Cricut to do custom images yet, so I left them as they are.

K-ster bolted them to some metal pipes and I put them in cones on the ground to help them stand up.  They worked really well.

I ended up having 2 volunteers stand at the two most crucial turns but I think I could do without and everyone would go the right way in the future!

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