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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Painting The Fence at Carnegie Mellon University

One of the most intriguing and fascinating traditions at Carnegie Mellon University is painting The Fence. The Fence is located in the middle of the cut (basically the center of the main campus) and is a highly visible landmark on campus. Student groups are allowed to paint the Fence only during the time between midnight and sunrise and only using regular paint and regular brushes (if you use spray paint, you'll get cited for vandalism!). As long as two people are stationed at the Fence, no one is allowed to change it's message and thus one regularly sees tents around the Fence while school is on. Fortunately, in summer everything is a bit quieter and we did not have to fight for it and could pick a day with perfect weather.

We decided to dedicate the Fence to the practicum of our MSIT ebiz Program and could persuade our client to sponsor the paint and brushes.

From Painting The Fence

And so we met yesterday at midnight to start this project. Painting the groundwork was very fast, with five people and five big brushes we finished in under an hour. But once the color started to dry we spotted many places where we needed to add a second layer. Once everything looked good and the paint was sufficiently dry we started applying our message. This was more difficult than expected. For once we only had one small and one medium brush available, so only two people could write at a time. Another issue was that with the ongoing night, we did a couple of spelling mistakes, which threw us back a bit, since we had to recolor the section and wait till it dried again. We completed the final touches at 4.45am, much later than we expected. But we were incredibly happy with the outcome. The orange ground color looked fantastic against the green grass background.

From Painting The Fence

More pictures in my picasa library.

PS: Since we did not find any information about supplies needed to paint the fence, I wanted to share this with you. We used:
  • 2 gallons of ground color
  • ~1/4 gallon of writing color
  • 5 big brushes (4 inch) for the background color.
  • 1 medium brush (2 inch) for the letters on the pillar. [this was not enough. Would suggest 2 to 3 of those]
  • 1 small brush (1 inch) for letters on rest of the fence. [this was not enough. Would suggest 4 to 5 of those]
  • 1 roll of masking tape for straight letters on the pillar
These numbers heavily depend on the number of helpers you can organize. But we could have saved a lot of time if we had more small brushes for writing.

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