Iron Butterfly Bedford. We love this boat but have absolutely no connection to the town of Bedford. Apologies to Dave and Pam (the previous owners). It was an obvious idea to change it to our home town, York – but how?
First, I traced off the relevant letters from the existing “IRON BUTTERFLY “. We had a Y, an O, and an R, I had to make up a K from the R and top arm of the Y. So far so good.
The finished look had to be as if it had always been there. So, a panel to cover up the removed BEDFORD was needed. What shape? When you look at the original lettering you start to notice nothing lines up. It’s very clever as one side of the box is curved and the scrolls aren’t quite centred, plus the bottom dots don’t help. I did lots of drawing with extended scrolls and unusual cartouche shapes but decided simple was best. Half circle curves.
I have found no matter how well you remove something it always leaves an imprint on the eventual coverup. I sanded the word BEDFORD away and even after this process the background still had a 2 tone effect where the sun had baked the letters into the surface. A dark green panel would definitely reduce this.
I learned a long while ago that insulation tape was great for masking curves as it bends beautifully. I drew, with pencil the chosen shape (covering all the sanded removal). Press down the edge and then added some wide masking tape outside of this to give a bit more protection. Cleaned the surface and then degrease. Apply the paint with an additive to help the paint flow. Before it dries remove all the masking and let dry.
Next, how to transfer the new letters? A dark surface would need a light carbon paper. A quick search on-line and Frisk do a white transfer down paper and it’s sold at Hobbycraft.
Position the original traced letters on the green panel and visually adjust until it looks right. Tape it down along the top and add the trace down paper taped underneath. Then simply trace over and you have the outlines to follow.
To work on the side of a boat or anything outdoors and vertical has its challenges. I knew that most sign writers used a steady stick which is a broom handle with a soft ball on the end to allow you to elevate your hands away from the surface. This gives you a steadying point for your brush hand.
Cream on green needed 3 coats to get a solid colour and as a result the lettering was done 3 times. Thank god we didn’t come from Aberystwyth!
I’m very pleased with the outcome which has truely personalised our lovely boat.