We recently produced these bespoke signs for a group of holiday cottages set within an Orchard. Each cottage is named after a variety of apple they produce. The customer asked for a bespoke design based on an Apple tree, but did not really have a clear idea in mind as to how she would like it to look. The challenge I faced at the design stage is that I usually like to draw things quite realistically, but in this case that would have resulted in the silhouette of a tree, with no apples being really visible, therefore not clearly an Apple tree. Being a little wary of the design looking too cartoony, as I think it can look quite childish and didn’t feel that would suit the classic black iron work, I decided to go for a sort of styalised effect that shows off the shape of the Apples. So I drew the basic shape of an Apple tree, and placed several apples of varying sizes within that outline. I then joined them all together using the leaves and swirls typical of Black Fox designs. The customer was thrilled with the result, so we went ahead with the set of signs and also a weathervane with the same design.
As with all of our house signs, these are laser cut from steel, TIG welded, electroplated to prevent rust, and finished in a durable but tradtitional looking black powder coat. The text is painted by hand using cream outdoor paint.
A bespoke sign we produced recently for a thatched cottage in Hampshire. The design is based on the cottage itself, and is mounted to a wall at the entrance to a long driveway. It’s a beautiful property so enjoyed the challenge of doing the design work. What I’ve learnt about drawing thatched roofs is that even if in a photo the roof line looks straight, it’s nowhere near as straight as the line a computer will produce, so I always make sure anything with thatch is drawn by hand or it really loses it’s character. The bespoke laser cut design also features a well, which sits in the garden of the cottage; lovely that the sign is so unique and personalised to our customer’s specification. They also chose the font I’ve used; as standard we hand paint text in ‘times new roman’, but always happy to do something different when it’s asked of us.
An interesting project we’ve been working on recently is this sign for a cottage in Cornwall. It is written into the deeds of the house that this sign must remain on the front of the property above the door, and given that it has been up for many years in a coastal location, many parts of the house sign had given in to rust, and the multiple layers of paint had taken away the sharpness of the design. The image below shows a close up of the old sign.Initially the customer had asked us to restore it, but given the fragility of the sign we felt we would be unable to do it justice, so decided it would be best all round to make an exact replica. So the first job was to photograph the sign, upload it onto the computer and trace the design. This was a lot more complex than it sounds, firstly because of the level of detail in the design, and secondly because of how the layers of paint had built up over the decades, some of this detail had been lost and as a result there was a little bit of guesswork involved. But after some minor alterations pointed out by the customer, we were ready to laser cut the house sign design. We’ve used 3mm steel, which is thicker than what was used originally so this should give it a longer lifespan.
The next stage was to fabricate the wavy scrolled border. We’ve used 13x3mm flat bar, which as far as I can tell is what was used initially. Though there was nothing difficult about the shapes we needed to forge, it took a lot of trial and error getting the full length of each piece to be the exact right size to all meet in the corners. I really enjoyed this process as it involved using the oxy propane torch which we don’t often have a reason to play with! We have then drilled holes in the troughs for the rivets to fit through, plus corresponding holes in the hidden square bar frame, before welding all the pieces together and fixing the rivets in place.
Though parts of this job were fiddly and time consuming, we feel we’ve been sucessful in producing a replica that’s as close to the original as is possible. Here is the house sign all welded up and ready to be electroplated and powder coated.And the finished piece, ready for collection!
We love this bespoke laser cut sign we produced recently! The customer contacted us with a clear idea in mind as to what they wanted their house sign to look like, and so with such a definite brief, the bespoke design was fairly straighforward.The markings on the Giraffe were a little complex to work out, as I’ve actually simplified it quite a bit so the laser cut design wouldn’t be too delicate, but we still wanted it to look realistic and not cartoony. The name Kisima means ‘watering hole’ in Swahili, and though I’m not sure of the significance of this for the customer, I love the design as it’s quite a contemporary style but with a traditional look to it.
A stunning laser cut Apple Tree sign we designed and produced recently. The customer specified that she’d like quite a detailed, ornate design, but as the sign would be mounted to a fence, it also needed to be strong enough to withstand accidental damage. The sign is cut in 3 mm steel, and during the design process I took care to make sure that any delicate parts such as unsupported leaves are joined to branches or apples for extra strength, but without affecting the look of the design. Due to the complexity of the design, this took much longer to cut than most of our designs and therefore cost more than the standard signs shown on our website. We love how the house sign has turned out, I think the art nouveau inspired design is truly unique and stands out as a piece of art as well as a functioning house name plate.
We designed and produced this beautiful bespoke house sign at the end of last year. The design features our customer’s rust coloured Border Collie lying in side profile, and the top of the oval sign is framed with an ornate Rose and Ivy design. Initially we discussed with the customer having her house name around the top of the sign and the number at the bottom, but with it being quite a long name the letters ended up tiny in order to fit, so we decided against it. The ornate Rose design came about because the dog’s name is Rosie. We think this makes the sign such a unique and personalised piece rather than just having the name, and a piece of wall art in it’s own right as well as being a functional house number sign.
The house sign is cut using a nitrogen shrouded laser in 3 mm steel, and the finish is a layer of zinc electroplate followed by a traditional looking but very hard wearing black powder coat. The customer specified an RAL code to paint Rosie the Collie which closely matches the colour of her coat, this was mixed and painted by hand in outdoor paint.
This photo shows a bespoke sign we’ve produced recently. The customer had been inspired by our popular Climbing Roses sign ( below), and wanted something similar based around Ivy and Dragonflies. These signs are cut in 3 mm steel, and consist of a backplate powdercoated black, and an ornate, laser cut front plate. This is also powder coated black, but the detail is painted by hand in cream so it stands out beautifully against the background. Producing bespoke designs in this style is quite challenging, as there is such a defined space that everything must fit into, and as a result re designs do take a while. But we’ve produced a fair few different versions of this now, and I think they’re popular because they are such a unique product – both functional and a piece of art in it’s own right. The customer who commissioned this bespoke sign also purchased a pair of brackets to compliment it (pictured above). This style of sign would make a wonderful house warming gift for anyone who loves quirky and unique design, as they can be re designed and personalised to suit the recipient’s taste and interests.
Just got this great photo emailed through showing a swinging sign we recently produced for a Cattery. The intricate design, cut in chunky 5mm steel, features two cats stood in a patch of ferns. Beneath the bracket, following the curve of the oval, there’s also a laser cut design inspired by British wildflowers. With the curved plate, it’s a little more tricky to get it hanging straight when we weld the links on, but worth the extra bit of effort to produce something so unique. The customer was delighted, and has sent us this photo of the sign taking pride of place outside their cattery.
This bespoke swinging sign shows a beautiful Kingfisher sat on a branch at the waters’ edge, hoping for something to eat. When the customer contacted us asking for a bespoke swinging sign for her property, ‘Kingfisher Cottage’, I was reminded straight away of a holiday cottage we stayed in a few years ago on the bank of the river Esk, where we watched four Kingfishers following a group of Otters up and down the river, obviously after some left overs. Our customer did not have a clear idea in mind as to how she wanted the swinging sign to look, so I just drew a Kingfisher in a scene as I remembered it from our holiday in the north east, with Reeds growing by the waters’ edge and branches overhanging. A really enjoyable one to do and we are delighted with the finished sign.
All of our swinging signs come with a bracket to mount to a wall, post or other suitable vertical surface. The sign is connected to its bracket using bolts fastened with nylock nuts, so it is very difficult to remove once in place.
Our laser cut Ducks house sign insitu. The customer asked for a family of Mallards as the design for a hand painted house name sign, and I added a small patch of reeds and bits of grass to complete the scene. When I sent the initial design over, the only change they asked for was to add the distinctive curled tail feathers to the male, which was no problem. It looks great, thanks for sending this in!