I had been working at Books Inc. in Burlingame up until this past November. Since then I've been at the Mountain View store. On my first day in Mountain View my coworker Doug gifted me with this big blue S that came from the sign of a store called Seascapes that had closed and was being remodeled into a Rocket Fizz. Progress!
He told me that he had first thought to grab it because his last name begins with S but then it occurred to him it would make a nice welcoming gift. With that in mind I had wanted to transform it some way and give it back to him. Somehow the right idea just never came. Then this past summer he was transferring to the new store in Santa Clara. Now it was a going away gift. Also I had a deadline! Perfect, nothing like a deadline to crystallize thinking.
The S is made of a white plastic base with blue painted in the middle. Around the edge of the blue area is a raised metal ribbon held in place with bolts and nuts. My original idea was to cover the blue area in some sort of faux wooden tiles fashioned out of craft foam. I took four pieces of foam and wood grained one side with some homemade tools I actually made a couple of them. The tiles idea really didn't work very well.
This is when I decided that this project justified buying myself some actual woodgraining tools off of Ebay. What a difference it made! So pretty! The right tools make all the difference.
I settled on making the S more of a solid wood pattern. Because of the size of foam I had available I couldn't help but have a seam in the middle. I liked the tile idea and didn't want to abandon it completely.
I had been wanting to incorporate some 'Dougisms' that I had collected from my coworkers into the piece but hadn't settled on how. Then the idea of little framed tiles with the quotes in them struck me. So I made these little frames out of the foam I had left over from the failed tiles idea. Then wrote the quotes in with a sharpy.
I spray painted the S a dark green so it wouldn't have that bright white border. Also I thought the green gave it a more woodsy feel somehow. The spray paint caused the plastic of the S to warp very badly. I thought I had just ruined to whole thing. Fortunately painting the other side and strategically placing some weights on it and the warping mostly corrected itself.
To finish it off I hit the frames and the metal border with some Rub n' Buff and bolted it all back together. And there it was. A big blue and white S transformed into a big green, brass and wood grain S as a going away gift for man who gave it to me.