The Little Green Dragon: The outcome of a lengthy 3D 2-piece mould making process

Now, finally the time has come for the last part of the mini-series about how to duplicate small forms and figurines. My smallest soapstone dragon was a good prototype for trying out the process of making a full 3D mould, which took place in several steps.

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The prototype was “halfend” by a wall of plasticine, following the contours of the half-way line as straight as possible. A wall of cardboard was then built as a pouring area and the prototype was brushed with Vaseline to let the Silicone part from it when added. Small holes were pressed into the Plasticine wall as clearly as possible, they helped to “lock” the two mould halves together.

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The Silicone was prepared with an additive to give it a gelly consistence so it could be brushed onto the prototype thoroughly. When this was done, the Silicone needed to cure. On top of this, a plaster jacket was applied. Messy? Oh yes 😉

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When this had set, all of the Plasticine was removed thoroughly.

The whole process was repeated for the second half of the form. After the second plaster jacket had set, the mould could be taken apart, the prototype was removed and the mould was ready for casting.

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My casting test was a hollow cast done with resin. The liquid material was spread and brushed very carefully into the put-together mould, held by the plaster jackets.

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For the “serious” cast, I added some green pigments to the polyurethane resin. Here is the outcome – a nice little green dragon, light as a feather.

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pic by Th. Schramm

 

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I found it very interesting how many different ways there are to mould and cast, and the astounding and often suprising effects one can apply to the casts using a variety of materials. The possibilities of deception seem endless 😉

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Caught green-handed or: how to make a monster hand using the “template” method

One interesting method we learned in the mouldmaking and casting course involved sculping a small version of our hand to mould and cast it. I drew the outline of my hand on a piece of paper which was scaled down 1/3 (the sketch, not my hand ;-O ) so it measured about 8 x 8 cm. For the sculpting, we used sculpey to make a detailed “copy” first of our palm and second of the top of our hand.

Hmm, I thought, my hand looks interesting, but I find a MONSTER HAND with claws much cooler 😉 So my two little flat sculpts got a bit chunky with some nice long nails, and it sure was tricky without really being able to put them together to check if they fit (because then the sculpey halves would have muddled together).

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Strange? Yes! But hang on, the conclusion is on its way!

So the first hand-half was put on a board, a “wall” was built around it (YAY, a perfect occasion to play with Lego 😉 ) . The wall was brushed with vaseline and plaster was poured on top of the sculpey hand-half. The plaster had been prepared beforehand (NEVER pour water into plaster, ALWAYS shake the plaster caaarefully and sloooowly into the water). When it had set, the first part of the 2-piece-mould was finished and the sculpey hand-half was taken out.

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The same procedure with the second hand-half: put on a board, built a wall, vaselined, poured plaster, waited, took out the hand-half when the plaster had set and the second part was finished.

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What happened then?

Alginate was prepared with a lovely lively monstrous green colour pigment. This liquid was poured and brushed thoroughly and VERY quickly (the liquid started to cure within minutes) in both separate halves of the plaster moulds – and with a bit of courage put together and fixed with a strong rubber band. After a short while, there it was, the moment to see if the two halves really had “met” and turned into a smooth, whole and complete hand.

Yes! They did! It had worked fine! Now I have a really cool little green soft flexible rubbery jelleyish monster hand with perfect fortune-telling lines in its palm 😉

 

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(pic by Th. Schramm)

….and is there anymore?

Yes!

The next and final post of this mini-series will tell you how a full 3 D mould for a little soap stone dragon was made – involving silicone rubber, plaster jackets and casting tricks.

Until then – be well, dear readers.

 

How to duplicate small figurines and sculptures…

Some time ago, I attended a very interesting course in mouldmaking and casting which took place in London. There is a surprising variety of how one can „duplicate“ (small art-)objects. This is the first post of a mini-series documenting some of my „output“.

Today´s post is about making 1-piece-moulds in silicone. Prototypes: a chameleon and an eagle´s head.

My little chameleon from airdrying modelling clay was taped on a piece of wood, surrounded by a mould wall of cardboard which was glued to the bottom. A bit of vaseline was brushed around the chameleon´s bottom line where it was uneven – and silicone was carefully poured onto it. The silicone had been prepared before by adding a catalyst to silicone rubber and very thorougly and slowly stirring it to mix the components smoothly.

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Within a day, the silicone had cured and the original piece could be removed. Tadaahh- the mould was ready to use. For my „new“ chameleon I used a polyurethane resin – which as well is a material mixed  of different components that would first be liquid and then turn solid – to which I added green pigments. This mixture was poured into the mould. After a few hours, the material had hardened and could be removed from the mould – out came a cute new and very green chameleon, solid and smooth. The mould still is perfectly well in shape and I reused it twice…and then decided that for now I do have enough chameleons in my life ;-).

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The second prototype, my soapstone eagle´s head, was taped to a flat surface just like the first piece. A cardboardring was placed around it and glued to the bottom, the prepared silicone was poured very slowly and carefully over the eagle´s head. The beak would be a tricky part, one can never be sure where unwanted air bubbles gather that can ruin your mould. So – with a bit of luck, after the silicone had cured, the eagle´s head could be carefully sliced out of the mould – phew, no bubble-trouble! Again, the resin was mixed and poured into the mould.

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I made two casts which both turned out well. One cast with tea-crumbs as a „colour“-addition giving the head a cool granite-stone-look (even though the material is very light) And the other cast with a bit of brownish colour almost implying chocolate ;-).

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I sanded both a bit – and especially the „tea-head“ I find quite nice with the grainy structure. The mould can be used again as the silicone smoothly bobbs back to its form even though it has been cut to remove the prototype.

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The next post in this mini-series will be real cool: how to make a green monster hand! So stay tuned…