Talk about getting a song stuck in your head. But that’s ok - I’m a fan-girl.
I’ll tell you exactly how I did it, but in case you don’t have time to read it now, pin it for later.
You can watch the video and see for yourself the easy parts of this project - and learn the level of patience you’ll need to cast all the words.
Let me break it all down for you, step-by-step, once I share with you everything I used in this very fun project.
Everything You’ll Need For the IOD Mould Project
- Large piece of plywood (I used birch plywood and NOT the thinnest cut)
- Wide painters tape
- Titebond Glue
- Paper plate (for glue)
- Lint-free soft, dry cloth
- Paint Brush (for painting, adding waxes, and dusting with cornstarch)
- Palette Knife
- Plastic Putty Knife
- IOD Harper Mould
- IOD Birdsong Mould
- IOD Air-Dry Clay
- IOD Ink in White
- IOD Inkpad
- DIY Paint in White Swan
- DIY Paint Black Wax
- DIY Paint Clear Wax
BEFORE YOU START CASTING YOUR LYRICS
Now prepare yourself to start casting the words and give yourself a couple of hours. It took me about an hour and a half to do just the first two lines in the lyric. The letter castings are small and fragile so channel your inner patience goddess.
STEP 1: WRITE THE SONG
Before you start, take your wide painter’s tape and tape off a “frame” around the perimeter of the plywood. You can layout the words and birds within the framed area.
Start by writing out the lyrics on a piece of paper as your guide. Trust me, even if the song is written on your heart - take this step to double-check your work. Next step, and one you’ll repeat regularly, is to dust the mould with cornstarch - just brush right into the mould.
Then begin pressing the IOD Air-Dry clay into the letters as you work on one word at a time. Once the clay is in the mould, it’s time to gently extract them.
HINT: Some of the words will need double letters (L’s are in high demand) so you’ll go back and create the second letter. Sometimes you can add it to the next batch of letters.
Remember I mentioned these letters are small and fragile? Don’t worry, they come out of the mould perfectly using this best practice: turn the mould upside down on the board surface and gently roll it back to expose the casting. Just use your fingertips to gently release the delicate casting. (Minute 2:05)
A great trick for easier release is to rotate and flip the mould so you can work and roll from the side the letter castings are on. (3:13) Then re-dust with more cornstarch before going on to the next word.
I created two to three words at a time, then grabbed the Titebond glue, poured it into a paper plate, and, using my finger, rubbed it onto the back of individual letters. Place each letter on the board surface lined up where you want it to go - but don’t press down yet!
After gluing down 2-3 words, go back and straighten your letters and line the words up. If you need much movement, grab the palette knife to help gently lift and relocate the delicate castings. (5:19)
STEP 2: A FLOCK OF BLACKBIRDS
Using the Birdsong mould, I cast birds inflight. I started by brushing the mould with cornstarch. Then I pushed the air-dry clay into the mould.
TIP: With a larger mould, it’s good to give the casting a nice flat back. To do that more easily, I used a broad plastic putty knife to scrape off the excess clay.
Then it was time to roll back the mould and release the casting. (6:56) Best advice I can give you is to take your time and roll back the mould very slowly. There are thin, delicate ends on the bird’s wings that can easily break. (absolutely the voice of experience speaking here!)
STEP 3: PAINTING AND WAXING
With a soft dry brush to go over the dry clay, begin painting the entire surface of the project with DIY Paint in White Swan. Cover the board surface, letters, and bird castings completely. (7:33)
Across the board surface, around the birds and the letters, I apply the DIY Paint thickly. I used a small artist brush to create texture and movement with globs of paint! (“Globs” is a technical term. 🤣)
Next, grab the DIY Paint Black wax and brush it directly onto the bird castings. (8:00) Then switch to DIY Paint Clear Wax and apply it to the rest of the project surface with a wide brush. Adding the clear wax before adding black wax will keep it from being too dark.
Take a clean, lint-free dry cloth and wipe back the black wax from the birds, leaving it in the crannies and details.
Finally, go back over the letter castings, and all around them, with the black wax. (8:56) Apply it in sections and then grab another clean, dry, lint-free cloth and wipe back the black wax from the letters and the board surface. (9:10)
Continue to repeat this process as you add the black wax over the rest of the project, section by section. Stop and wipe back the wax after each section receives the black wax.
STEP 4: WE’RE GOING TO POUNCE
Once all the wax was wiped and buffed the way I wanted - I added IOD Decor Ink in White to an IOD Inkpad. Then I “pounced” the surface of all the letters and the birds. The final outcome is black wax in the crevices and white ink on the high points, giving more contrast and emphasis to the castings.
That is all there is to it. All I have left to do is hang my wood sign and watch everyone get the lyrics to the song stuck in their heads!
I can’t wait to see what you create. Are you a Beatles fan? Or maybe we'll see Van Morrison lyrics popping up on signs everywhere? YAY!!