Monday, June 24, 2019

How to Make Museum-Style Signs for Your Collection

Ron writes:

 If you're like me, you view collecting as being all about contextualization. You, as a collector, are trying to assemble a group of objects that tells a story. That's ultimately what motivates you -- the story.

Sure, the chicks are also great. But let's be honest: After you've been collecting Star Wars toys for a while, the spectacle of women throwing themselves at your feet and begging for your attention becomes a little old.

Which is why you should consider dressing up your collection with signs.

Signs are a great way of adding context to all that stuff you've acquired. They're also a great way of ensuring that long-haired freaky people remain 100% aware that they need not apply.

In this post I will cover signs of two types. I've found each type to be helpful in contextualizing my collection.

Shelf Tents

A shelf tent is a small sign resembling a place card that can live unobtrusively on a shelf beside whatever it is that you're displaying. I say it resembles a place card because it literally is a place card.

Avery makes a decent printable place card. I've found that 2" x 3.5" is a good size for a shelf tent.

I can hear you saying, "That's it!? Your idea of a hot collecting tip is a printable Avery card that I can buy on Amazon?"

Well, I didn't say I was imparting arcane knowledge or stealing the Declaration of Independence with Nicolas Cage. It's just a simple idea for a sign. Feel free to come up with a more complicated one, if you're into that kind of thing.

Here's an example of a shelf tent I made for one of my items. You can format the text in any way you like.

Wall Placards

One drawback of the shelf tent is that it doesn't allow for a lot of text. It imparts its knowledge in a few lines, and that's that. Fortunately, the wall placards I've designed are more spacious.

Here is what you will need to make them:
Once you have your materials in hand, you can start to assemble your signs.

First, take off your clothes and put on the speedo.

Next, simply type the text you want on the sign into the Word template provided by the label company (you may need to adjust the template a bit). When you're done with that, print the labels, and then stick them onto the chipboard squares.

Yes, you can also print the text on regular paper, cut the paper, and glue it to the squares, but I discovered that doing that leads to problems concerning the squareness of the signs. No matter how carefully I cut, they always looked a bit off.

When you stick the label to the square, you may find that an edge or two of the label slightly overlaps the cardboard. Don't worry about that. No one will notice once it's on the wall. If you trim it off, it's liable to look janky. The key is to make sure that none of the brown cardboard is showing when viewed from the front. Apply the labels carefully!

To get it on the wall, use the Command strips. Simply stick two on the reverse of the square, as shown in the below photo, then pop two additional Command strips onto the ones you've stuck to the square. Then remove the adhesive backing from the latter two strips, and carefully affix the whole assembly to the wall (use a level if you want to feel like a real man).

The Command strips give the squares a bit of clearance from the wall, which makes the signs look pretty swank and museum-like. If you need to remove the strips, you should be able to do so without damaging the wall by following the instructions provided by 3M. I tested it, and it worked for me.

At this point you can remove the speedo. But make sure you store it someplace safe. You'll need it should you decide to make additional signs.

And there you go. Signs!

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