SIGN MAGIC BLOG

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Gem & Bead Mall on 4th

Gem & Bead Mall's 40+ foot tall sign.

Gem & Bead Mall’s giant sign. Keep in mind, the smaller sign to the left is probably around 10 feet in height!

Native Tucsonans know all about the Gem Show; Its our annual two weeks of craziness when the vendors and buyers of gem and minerals come from all over the world to our little town. A National company called Gem & Bead Mall has decided to call Tucson one of their permanent homes and has opened a HUGE warehouse on South 4th Avenue. This company also has stores in San Diego and Las Vegas. Located at 2901 S. 4th Ave (4th and 39th), this 26,000 square foot facility holds over 5,200 items from all over the world.

Sign Magic did the sign for GBM, which, as you can see if the photo above, was no easy task considering the height! The existing pole sign reaches to heights over 45 feet and our crews needed our bucket truck plus a rented crane to complete the install! We cut new acrylic faces for the sign and applied vinyl to the faces once they were already installed in the sign. This job is a great example of Sign Magic’s dedication to providing Tucson businesses with their signage needs!

Heritage Award!

The Tucson - Pima County Historical Commission has awarded Sign Magic with this certificate.

The Tucson – Pima County Historical Commission has awarded Sparkle Cleaners with this certificate.

Sparkle Cleaners was recently honored with the Heritage Award for their part in restoring one of Tucson’s historic signs. Sign Magic partnered with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and Sparkle Cleaners to help bring some of Tucson’s past back to life. Drachman became a hot spot for restored historic signs back in March of 2012 when Pima Community College and the Historic Preservation Foundation joined forces to restore and reinstall a few of Tucson’s coolest old signs at Pima’s downtown campus. Being that Sparkle Cleaners has been here in Tucson for decades and is located on the Northwest corner of Drachman and Stone, right across the street from Pima’s downtown campus, it was only natural that their historic sign be included in this restoration project! The sign was originally erected back in 1955 when the Well and Wash first opened. This became a Sparkle Cleaners in 1961 and since then, Sparkle Cleaners have opened many other Tucson locations.

Why restore these old signs? Well, signs aren’t made how they used to be! In the old days, many of these signs were hand painted and they all used really cool neon lighting. Neon has to be hand blown and shaped to form certain letters or other formations, and this is no easy task. The difficulty in making and repairing these lights has made many people turn to more cost-effective solutions such as LED lighting. If you drive up Drachman and look at these signs you will see how compared to a lot of the signage used today, they are works of art.

The sign definitely needed a little TLC when it was first brought into our shop to begin restoration. There were places on the metal cabinet frame of the sign that were rusting and falling apart so this was the first problem to take care of. It received multiple layers of fresh paint, all new neon lighting, and new bulbs on the other lit parts of the sign because most of the lighting had long been out of use. Channel 4 News featured the sign and its story on the evening’s news, and The Arizona Daily Star had a photo and story written in the paper shortly after the sign went back up! Heath Bolin, president of Sparkle Cleaners, was awarded with this certificate and we here at Sign Magic are very proud to be a part of restoring Tucson’s past.

The sign when it was originally erected back in 1955

 1955, when the sign was originally erected.

The sign in more recent years, before restoration.

The sign in more recent years, before restoration.

This is the sign after the restoration process had been completed and it was reinstalled.

After restoration and re-installation.

A glimpse of how the sign looks at night, after restoration.

A glimpse of how the sign looks at night, after restoration.

 

U of A Bruegger’s Bagels

Campbell and Speedway location

Campbell and Speedway location

The Bruegger’s Bagels at Campbell and Speedway, by the U of A, just had a new sign go up! Bruegger’s Bagels is one of America’s favorite places to get freshly baked breakfast treats, and its no different for Tucson residents! The U of A location decided it was time for a face-lift and had Sign Magic make them a brand new sign! This sign is pan channel lettering mounted onto a raceway. The white faces of the letters are laser routed on our routing table from sheets of white acrylic. The pans and raceway are made from aluminum which is routed and bent into the shape of the letters. Each of these letter pans are lined with LED’s which allow the sign to light up each evening. The sign is on a timer which is set to turn on and off automatically. The letters are fixed to the raceway and then our install crew mounted the raceway to the building. Next time you are craving a delicious bagel, or are driving by the U of A, make sure to check out this new sign!

Sycamore Elementary School – VAIL

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The Vail school district had Sign Magic put this sign up at each of their schools, in honor of them each receiving the A+ School of Excellence award.

Sign Magic just put up another sign for the Vail School District. This time, the honor went to Sycamore Elementary School, on S. Houghton Rd. Vail is known for having excellent schools and have been recognized by the Arizona Educational Foundation. The A+ School of Excellence program is a comprehensive school assessment that celebrates and honors success in Arizona schools. This award is retained for 3 years before the school needs to reapply. Every one of Vail’s schools, (elementary, middle & high schools) have all received this award in recent years, some more than once! Sign Magic is proud to be a part of Vail’s success in educating Arizona’s youth.

3 New Signs Up!

Yikes Toys

Yikes Toys

    Sign Magic has just fabricated and installed three new signs in a shopping center off Broadway! The first is for Little Bird children’s clothing. This was cut from white acrylic and the pans were mounted onto a raceway which was then mounted to the wall. This sign is lit with LED illumination. The next sign is for Picante. This is also cut acrylic but red instead of white. This sign is also a pan channel sign mounted onto a raceway and lit using LEDs. The third sign we did is for Yikes Toys. It was made in the same way as the other two, but yellow vinyl was applied to the white acrylic before being installed.

Picante

Picante

Little Bird

Little Bird

 

 

HMS Bikes!

Sign after installation

Sign after installation

A close up look at their cool logo!

A close up look at their cool logo!

We’ve just finished a really cool sign in Marana! HMS Bikes is located at 8225 N. Courtney Page Way. These pan channel letters were mounted on a raceway, which in turn was mounted on the front of the building. Each letter, and the face of the logo, was cut from sheets of acrylic using our laser routing table. The logo itself was printed out onto vinyl using our large format digital printer, then placed over the acrylic piece. The logo and each of the letters are lined with LEDs. These hook up to a timer, which will illuminate the sign each evening and then turn it back off come daytime. 

New, Oro Valley Mattress Firm

Mattress Firms are popping up all over the place! We just installed another, this time in Oro Valley, on the Northwest corner of Magee and Oracle. This sign, like the other Mattress Firm signs that Sign Magic has installed, is made of pan channel letters and lit using LED illumination.

Mattress Firm, Oracle and Magee

Supertcuts Oro Valley

supercuts OVThe Supercuts in Oro Valley, located at the corner of Magee and Oracle, will be reopening sometime during the beginning of next month. Sign Magic fabricated and just installed the sign for this location! Laser routed, red acrylic faces were fitted on the pan channel, and are lit using LED illumination. Another Supercuts will be going up in Marana soon so watch for our photos of that job once we have completed it!

Green Valley Mattress Firm

Pan channel letters, LED illumination.

Pan channel letters, LED illumination.

Green Valley just got a Mattress Firm and Sign Magic installed their signs! This sign’s faces were cut from sheets of white acrylic. The pan each face is fitted to contains LED lighting to illuminate the sign at night. Sign Magic has installed all of the new Mattress Firm locations in Tucson and the surrounding areas. The newest one is located at 18720 S. Nogales Highway in Green Valley, at I-19 and Nogales Highway.

Ramona Morales Apartments

  Another really cool, custom sign was just fabricated and installed, this time in Benson, AZ. The Ramona Morales Apartment complex, located at 550 W. Union St, Benson, AZ is the latest Sign Magic client to get their sign installed.  A lot of work went into this sign, and seeing it finished and installed proves that our staff really does know how to pull it off! This sign has a tiled face,which our guys put together themselves here in the shop. Then a rubber-like vinyl was placed on top of the tile so only the areas of the sign being treated by the sand-blaster were showing (the wording and logos on the sign). After we got the sign back from the sand-blasters, a few layers of black and teal paint were applied and then the protective rubber was peeled off. A frame was built around the sign, and painted teal to match the lettering on the face. The tile made this double-sided sign extremely heavy so in order to install it, we had to use a large crane. The custom signs, like this one, are always the most fun to work on, and always end up really standing out once they are finished. 

The finished, installed sign.

The finished, installed sign.

This rubber vinyl-like material protects the parts of the sign that won't be sand-blasted.

This rubber vinyl-like material protects the parts of the sign that won’t be sand-blasted.

The simple tile front to the face, before sand-blasting, paint or the frame was done.

The simple tile front to the face, before sand-blasting, paint or the frame was done.