typography inspired table design


So with the Westfalia inspired rear overhead locker sorted, it was time to crack on with my idea for a table for the interior. Getting a table sorted for the bus will really help make it feel like a proper camper! 🙂

going for a 50’s American diner style table shape

going for a 50’s American diner style table shape

I had already created the basic shape for the table top from 18mm plywood. I now wanted to go for a contemporary take on a 1950’s American diner style for the surface finish. The typography inspired look of the overhead locker will be the basis for the overall interior theme. So again, time to get a little funky and destructive with some original letterpress posters by graphic artist, printmaker and designer Anthony Burrill – sometimes you have to break things to make new things!

playing around with layout compositions of various Anthony Burrill’s letterpress posters…

playing around with layout compositions of various Anthony Burrill’s letterpress posters…

Normally for graphic design work, I use the Adobe software InDesign for my layout work. However, sometimes it feels good to break free of the digital chains of a computer and do things in a more physical and old skool fashion 🙂 Getting different original Letterpress posters out and playing around with their composition on the plywood base for the table was fun. I decided to use Anthony’s famous ‘Work hard & be nice to people’ for the main feature poster. Once the composition was sorted (takes a graphic designer a bit longer than you might think!), it was time to break out the straight edge, scalpel, and start cutting! Once things were cut up, I needed to make up some more of my alternative homemade Mod podge PVA mix to get busy with the decoupage process once again.

final selection of Anthony Burrill’s letterpress posters ready for table transformation…

final selection of Anthony Burrill’s letterpress posters ready for table transformation…

The whole decoupage process is a case of short, rapid intense work when glueing everything in place followed by long periods of waiting for everything to dry before you begin the process again! In this ‘downtime’ of literally waiting for things to dry, I thought I would try a bit of multitasking as there were other aspects of the project I could crack on with… like this 1970’s brown coloured fold down table leg!

I loved the simplicity of the design, plus it is so easy to lock in place and fold flat when not in use. I’m just not keen on the ‘retro’ 1970’s brown coloured leg. Spending time at Resto Classics, one of the many things I learnt to appreciate, is that having the right tool for the job is often essential! It motivated me to get myself a Sealey 6 piece parallel pin punch set just so it was easier to change the cab door handles. Now I get to reap the benefits, as the parallel pin punch was exactly what was needed to disassemble the table leg mechanism…

table table leg in classic 1970’s brown, it might be retro, but it’s not right for this project

table leg in classic 1970’s brown, it might be retro, but it’s not right for this project

Once the mechanism was disassembled, I could then rub down the surface of the tubular metal leg frame to prep it for painting. This will be a backyard paint job, where improvised use of a washing line will help suspend the frame whilst I rattle can spray it platinum metallic silver. At least the weather was on my side, so good conditions to get the transformation done…

the 1970’s brown brown is keyed and sprayed platinum metallic silver

the 1970’s brown brown is keyed and sprayed platinum metallic silver

Not a pro job obviously, but nonetheless, pleased with the way its come out 🙂 It looks way better in silver and should nicely complement the silver aluminium edge trimming from Camper Interiors when the table is completed and the leg is fitted as part of the final finishing touches.

table leg reassembled and looking more the finished article

table leg reassembled and looking more the finished article

With the painting finished, it was time to check the typographic decoupage on the table. All had dried nicely. I now had enough time to trim the overhanging paper to the finished size of the table before applying a second top coat of my PVA mix which I could then leave overnight to dry. With the main graphics sorted and in place, next it will be a case of multiple coats of Ronseal Diamond Hard Interior quick drying Matt Varnish with a light sanding of the surface between coats to help produce a smoother final finish. Time consuming process, but hopefully worth it in the end.

nice to relax with a tea by the sea in the camper…

nice to relax with a tea by the sea in the camper…

With longer hours of daylight and warmer early summer evenings, it was nice to go for a golden hour drive to the sea to relax at the end of the day. Nothing quite like a tea by the sea at the end of the day, although can’t wait to have the table finished as part of a revamped interior for the bus, getting there slowly… 🙂

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