Trash to Treasure: DIY Repairs with IOD Moulds & Air-Dry Clay

Trash to Treasure: DIY Repairs with IOD Moulds & Air-Dry Clay

Chipped lamp repaired with IOD molds and air-dry clay

When you find a great treasure during a Thrift Store adventure, it's just pure DIY excitement. But how downhearted do you feel when you find a chip? A dent? And a whole lot of scratches right on the front of it? There's nothing you can possibly do with it in that condition. Or is there? It was soooo close to being a fantastic bargain, but it's not a treasure when it's all beat up.

No time to read now? PIn this project for later.

Yes! The answer is yes - all it takes is Iron Orchid Designs Air-Dry Clay and Decor Moulds. To prove it - and show you all the tips and tricks you need to know to repair your own Thrift Store treasure wanna-be - I've edited a video tutorial from a "Coffee & Create" Facebook live. It's down to the basic steps to use regardless of what you need to fix. I've got all the steps broken down for you if you prefer to read the instructions. Just scroll past this video.



I worked on an old lamp that I'd recently dropped, giving it some big chips in a few places. With the lines of the lamp, I chose the IOD Trimmings l and Trimmings ll Moulds to transform the whole piece. Sure, you can patch a spot with a small casting from a mold, but if there are multiple dents - you need more. Not to mention, what I like to do is to use the mold castings to transform the entire piece versus patching a blemish. 

With the lamp's lines and the boo-boos' position, I wanted to create castings that ran along each natural rib on the lamp. But I've used these techniques to repair several nearly-destroyed pieces before, including a small statue with a gaping hole in the backside. I used the IOD Heirloom Roses, Roses, and He Loves Me Moulds for that piece. So, look at the piece you'd like to repair and take a look at all the wonderful IOD Moulds before you decide what you'll use.

Now grab a new package of IOD Air-Dry Clay. I love working with this clay - it's such a different experience than working with Resin. One top tip you'll hear often is to brush the mold with cornstarch (using a small paintbrush) before adding the clay. I think it depends on the climate conditions you're working in, and mine was humid enough that I didn't need to use the cornstarch. If you find, after one attempt, that it's difficult to remove the casting from the mould, try brushing the cornstarch in before you add the clay.

But the clay will dry out quickly, so Pro Tip - take out a sizeable chunk and then reseal the package. I roll my package closed and then put it into a ziplock baggie to ensure it doesn't dry out. When you're doing a project with many different castings, though, you'll need to be mindful of the time it's taking and continue to take out chunks of the clay periodically. If you're fast - you can absolutely take the chance of leaving the clay unwrapped while you get all of your castings done.


Now that the molds and the Air-Dry clay are ready, it's time to create the castings. I'm going to be adding a long casting from the IOD Trimmings l mould along all the edges of the lamp. You can see in this picture where there's significant damage at the base of one of the edges and how they span the entire lamp.

chips in lamp base along one edge

So I will use one of the impressions in the Trimmings l mold and make a casting for each edge. I like to pull a chunk of the clay off and work it just a bit to get it lengthened into the approximate dimension of the mold impression. Take care not to overwork the clay, or it will begin to dry out. Use your thumbs to push the clay into the mold and fill the entire mold with clay. 

Now use your fingers, again, or a flat tool like an old credit card or putty scraper to go across the clay and smooth it down, scraping back the excess clay. I add what I scrape off back to the clay in the package or to the clay I've pulled off the block. Each IOD Moulds has a micro rim around each impression to make this very easy. You want the back of your castings as smooth and flat as possible so the casting can be glued and lay flat onto the surface of your project (no matter what you're working on.)

Once you're satisfied that you have the clay in and the back scraped flat, it's time to release the casting from the mould. With the Trimmings moulds, bending and flexing the mold away from the casting a few times helps to loosen for easier release.

bend back the edges of the mold to loosen the clay casting

The trick here is to get the first edge of the clay casting out of the mold and gently using the tip of your fingers works well. Now flip the mould upside down on your work surface and, starting at one end, slowly roll the mold back to release the casting. Once it's released on one end, it will pop out smoothly. If you do have any stickiness, that's your clue to grab some cornstarch and start over by painting the mould before you add in the clay.


There are two options for how you glue on the castings: glue each one on after their complete, or make two to three castings at a time and then stop to glue them on. I have found Alines Tacky Glue works very well with castings made from the IOD Air-Dry Clay. I tend to make one then stop to glue it onto the project surface. The trick is to add one long and thin line of glue down the back of the entire casting. Then take a small paintbrush you've left in water, and remove all the moisture. Then use the paintbrush to smooth the glue line out to all the surface edges of the casting. It's essential to cover all the edges, so the casting doesn't come up from the surface as it dries.

Also, be careful with the quantity of glue used. Guard against having so much glue that it beads up from the edges of the casting when it's on the project surface. Once that happens and the glue dries, you'll have a textural issue to contend with before applying the paint. So, while making sure you have the glue spread out to every edge, remove any excess glue before placing it on the lamp.


Once all the castings are glued to the edges of the lamp, all the way around, I'm ready to paint them with a layer of Rethunk Junk Paint in Snowy Day. I want to get a layer of paint on the castings before they dry thoroughly. This helps slow the clay drying process and will prevent some cracking. Another tip to avoid some cracking is to take care not to stretch the casting out before or while, gluing it down. However, if you want a vintage and antique look to the finished project - these are two excellent techniques to use in reverse. Do stretch the casting out a bit and let it dry once it's glued down - before you paint it.

painting the clay castings after gluing them on the lamp.

This is where I used a small 6" round tip paintbrush that is perfect for painting all along the edges of the castings. This is another way to prevent the casting from pulling up and away from the lamp surface. Since the clay casting is not dry, I gently go over the top of the castings while still getting paint in the nooks and crannies. 


After painting all the castings glued to the central part of the lamp body, I created more miniature versions of them to glue to the lamp's base. In the image above, you can see that the same edges continue down to the bottom of the lamp. One tip: as I glue down one of the castings on this portion of the lamp, I let it extend beyond the bottom and use a razor blade to trim it perfectly to the bottom edge.

Once I've completed adding shorter pieces of the Trimmings l and ll moulds, and paint them all after gluing, I'm ready to paint my lamp to fit my home decor. You can do whatever matches the decor in the room you intend to use the lamp. So I won't show you my final product in case I influence your color choice!

Let me know if you have any questions - and have fun working with IOD Moulds and Air-Dry Clay. You're about to be the craftiest fixer around!

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