Monday, August 20

How To: Silicone Mold

Silicone molds are extremely useful, especially if you want to mass produce something, or be lazy. I use it to create wax positivies, which are then made into glass, but I've seen other people use it for resin, soap and sugar decals for cakes. On my blog Glassables there is a silicone demo post that has more photos and is run a little smoother since I wasn't participating, but I wanted to make one based off my own trial and error adventures with my friends. After all, I think there's a skill in being able to work messily and quickly, while taking photos at the same time.

Materials Needed:

-dish/hand soap
-silicone type 1 (stinky gross stuff!)
-a bucket of water
-a permanent marker
-a plastic surface to work on
-a bit of clay or wax
-ventilation (the overwhelming vinegar odour is not appealing)
-the object you'd like a master mold of*
*Brass will be ruined

I wanted to make a mold of an ostrich egg, so I could use it as a blank for making large dragon eggs. My friend Tabbie pumped the silicone for us, while our other friend Mandi kneaded the silicone together and then passed it off to me so I could wrestle with it on my egg. It took two tubes of silicone to cover this beast.

Step 1: Use the wax/clay to attach your object to your plastic.
Step 2: 1" away from your piece, draw a line with a permanent marker.

Step 3: Soap up your object, your water, your hands and ALL up your arms (or the silicone will stick to you!).

Step 4: Grab your Type 1 Silicone, and poke a hole through the seal inside (we forgot and it broke out the back).

Step 5: Squirt silicone into water - make sure the silicone hits the water BEFORE it hits your hands.

Step 6: Knead it together into a ball, then quickly pass it on/apply it to the object.

Step 7: Apply to object.
It will try to slip down the object, so keep pushing it upwards and fighting with it!
Try to make it 1" thick all around, if it's too thick it will be less flexible and harder to work with ):
 At this point I couldn't keep picking up the camera, sorry!

Step 8: When you give up wrestling, press a sheet of glass onto the top of the mold
to make a flat spot that it can sit on. Let your silicone set!

Step 9: Take out/Cut your object free within 24 hours. Cut zig-zag lines, not straight ones.
Use T Pins to keep the cuts together when you're casting into it.
Notice the lack of natural opening on that mold? I didn't use enough wax (never be afraid to have too big of a hole), so either my rough handling or the weight of the silicone caused the egg to tip off center. That or the wax just didn't stick to my plastic well. I think having the mold come loose has affected the way the mold will look, but we won't know until I get some T Pins so I can use it.

You can see the tiny tangerine mold above, and I think it's worth mentioning! You see, we accidentally opened a third tube of silicone so we HAD to do something with it.

So I went, "Quick! Someone check to see if there's a tangerine upstairs!"

Then I had Mandi fly solo on soaping/attaching/molding the tangerine. Her wax, of course, also came undone, so she was flying blind with and everything was going wrong that could. And you know what? That made the experience much more worth it. There's nothing better than having no idea what you're doing (especially when the outcome doesn't matter).

Miss Mandi told me earlier in the day that she was curious about resin and polymer clay because she had a) started making jewelery and b) wanted to get more into art. Assuming that one day she'll have a reason to make a mold, I think having this terrifying experience under her belt will come in handy.

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