Having mentioned the idea of doing this as a joke some time ago, imagine my delight when I saw it in the wild: trompe l'oeil lugwork! Standing in the parlor of local pickelleur (randonneuring Dill Pickle bag maker) Emily O'Brien, when I first saw the bike across the room the illusion looked quite real. I figured it was an old beater frame, with the lugs spray painted to contrast the tubes. Then I got closer and realised the lugs looked unusually flat, and finally it hit me: They'd been cut out of tape and wrapped around the welded frame joints.
And lest you think this project is only about the fabulous looks, it does have practical merit: The tape is reflective. Just imagine the beautiful lugs glowing in the dark... A fun DIY idea to spruce up a boring frame in any event.
Apparently I am not the only one to have been fooled from a distance, as cyclists stop Emily all the time to ask about the interesting bike, usually assuming it is something vintage and Italian. Any guess as to what this bike is? Hint 1: It's a ubiquitous modern steel bike. Hint 2: The fork crown is lugged for real.