It's a simple matter of buying some very inexpensive supplies, printing the template (provided here), and doing the painting.
Read on for more detailed instructions:
Supplies: You will need to purchase a bottle of white or yellow tempera paint (around $2) and some small brushes (around $2-4, depending on what you get).
- Make sure you buy tempera paint (not latex or acrylic). Even when dry, tempera dissolves in water and is easy to remove.
- Get smaller brushes than you think you'll need--the bristles will spread as you apply the paint. We used a 1/8" and a 1/4" brush.
Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts
1410 East Plaza Blvd
National City CA 91950
Michaels Arts & Crafts
Chula Vista CA 91911
and Walmart. (Note: Target does not carry tempera)
We splurged and bought a four-pack of brushes for $3.99 (at right). Keep in mind that one bottle of paint can do a lot of windows: share with your friends! For around $6 (paint and brushes), you can easily paint ten cars--a cost of 60 cents per car.
Templates: Because tempera dissolves in water (and also provides a tempting surface for initial-carving), you want to paint your sign on the inside of your back window. As a result, you'll be writing your message backwards from the inside so that it appears correctly from the outside. Using a template makes this task much easier.
Your end result will look like this (but window-sized):
When you print out the templates, they'll look weird! Text will be backward and cut off at strange places. That's okay! Once you cut out the lines of text and tape them together, you'll end up with something like this (but window-sized):
There are four different templates (ignore the "parent directory" link but click the others):
Each template consists of four different files: one for the top line (broken into two-three pieces for that file); two for the candidates' names (split down the middle); and one for the closing line (split into three pieces).
With files 1 and 4, cut out each piece. (Leave the lines in files 2 and 3 intact.) To match up lines, refer to the image above, and cut white space as needed. As you tape the parts together, you'll end up with three different chunks (lead line, candidates' names, and closing line).
Application of template: First, clean the back window inside and out! Some window cleaner, or even just plain water, will do the job fine.
To use the template, you will tape each "chunk" face down on the rear window from the outside. (As you do this, the strategy will make more sense: through the paper, you'll see how the print will appear for viewers.) Since there are three different "chunks," you can adjust spacing as needed. (The original template is based on an average rear window size of about 40" X 20".)
Painting: Now all you have to do is follow the template. Climb into the back of the car, and using a small brush with paint (you can work from the container or a small cup), trace the letters. Don't worry about getting everything perfect! Remember, drivers will be seeing your sign on the run; they won't be scrutinizing details. The message is the important part!
- Trace the letters from top to bottom. If you are right-handed, work from left to right to avoid smudging paint. If you are left-handed, work from right to left.
- Don't worry about little mistakes. Big ones can easily be cleaned up with a moistened paper towel.
- As you move down the window, painting may become more difficult. Again, remember it's the message that's important; don't sweat the small stuff.
- Depending on the quality of your paint, you may want to do a second coat. The image at the beginning of this post shows a one-coat job with cheap paint. Still, the message would be readily visible to other drivers. We'll do a touch-up tomorrow and post new pics. Note: let the first coat dry (might take an hour) before attempting a second.
- Remember to wash your brushes with some warm water and a little dish soap afterward. In the meantime, you can let them soak in a cup of water.
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