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Twi'lek Pam

Budget Silicone Molds and Castings

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Twi'lek Pam    3

.

 

When I was in college, with a typical college student's budget, I learned that household silicone caulk can be quite useful. I have used it a number of times to make molds, as well as casting flexible pieces with it. The stuff is VERY cheap (usually just a few dollars per tube), so it's great for when you're working on a budget. It is not as easy to use as a professional grade of art silicone.... but sometimes a bit of extra effort is worth the savings! It can be found at any hardware store, or at places that sell household repair supplies.

 

If anyone has more information or advice, please feel free to share!

 

 

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- Get the type of caulk that comes in long tubes with a pointed plastic tip. You will also need a caulk gun, which isn't expensive. It's just a holder for the tube, and a squeeze trigger that pushes the caulk through the tube. All you need to do is place the tube in the gun, cut the tip off the applicator, and you're ready to go.

 

- Experiment with a few different types of caulk to see what kind works best for you. I like the clear kind, so I can see my model through it and better judge the thickness of the silicone.

 

- Silicone doesn't stick to most things very well, but you should still always use a mold release. It's also wise to spray your model with Krylon Clear to seal up any pores it may have. You might want to do a patch test as well, just to make sure that the silicone won't lock onto your material, and to make sure that there's nothing in your model or mold that might inhibit the curing of the silicone. Better safe than sorry!

 

- There are two ways to apply the caulk. The simplest way is to just apply the caulk straight from the tube and directly onto your model or into your mold. If you dampen your fingers with soapy water, you can hand-shape the silicone as you work and it won't stick to your hands.

 

- If you wish to use a larger amount of silicone at one time and not deal with the tube as you're working, then get a gallon bucket and add some soapy water. Squeeze the caulk into the water until you've got enough. The soapy water will keep it from curing too fast, and will keep it from sticking to the bottom of the bucket or your hands. Pick up the silicone with your hands, and pat it into place on your model or into your mold.

 

- If you only use part of a tube, it can be sealed so that the rest can be saved for later. Duct tape over the end of the applicator works well, as does shoving a large nail into the hole that you cut at the tip.

 

- After the silicone cures, it can be cut open with a utility knife if necessary.

 

- Keep in mind that silicone is flexible and very smooth, and most things won't stick to it... so it is very difficult to paint. They do sell caulk that is designed to accept paint, though. (Usually so you can use it to seal around doors and windows and then paint it to match your house trim.) If you plan to paint something cast in silicone caulk, make sure you get a brand that says it can be painted!

 

 

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To prove that silicone caulk can work very well for mold making, here's a bronze casting that was made using a household caulk mold. I started with the two models, critter and wood, which I coated with a heavy layer of silicone caulk. The caulk was backed with a plaster two-part support mold. Once the plaster was hard, I took it off and then cut open the silicone mold with a utility knife. Because silicone is so flexible, I only had to cut a line down one side. It opened and peeled back like a 'jacket', and the models came right out. I then reassembled the molds, and strapped them tightly closed. Melted wax was poured inside, and the molds were rotated as wax cooled and hardened so that the casting would be hollow. The molds were opened again, and the wax copies were removed. The pieces were then cast in bronze and bolted together. (The different colors were created by treating the metal with different chemicals after casting.) As you can see, the silicone picked up and replicated every detail, even the "hair" that was created by running a toothbrush over the clay.

 

Silicone caulk might be cheap, but it can give you some great results!

 

 

Ferret.jpg

 

WoodCloseup.jpg

 

 

Pam :-)

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Guest Anonymous   
Guest Anonymous

That's very good to know, as RTV Silicone from Tap Plastics is freaking expensive. Now, it's nice in that you can add stuff to it to prolong or speed up the cure, etc. and I understand it's a bit more durable (?) than caulk...but definitely it costs a bit.

 

I may experiment with this, Pam. Thanks for the tutorial.

 

- Carolyn :)

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Guest Cleverlilminx   
Guest Cleverlilminx

I am also planning to experiment with this before I make the investment in the higher end stuff.

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Guest Cleverlilminx   
Guest Cleverlilminx

Ok I have a question, what release agent would be best to use Pam?

 

By all means name a brand since I know nothing of this yet. :D

 

And about how many tubes of caulk would I need to make a mold of a simple face mask?

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Twi'lek Pam    3
Ok I have a question, what release agent would be best to use Pam?

 

By all means name a brand since I know nothing of this yet. :D

 

And about how many tubes of caulk would I need to make a mold of a simple face mask?

 

If I remember correctly, Vaseline works well in a very thin layer, but I would do a test run before I trusted it.... better to make sure it works okey before you risk having uncurable silicone spread all over your model!

 

If you want to get better stuff, I use Mann's Ease Release 800. IT can be found on Smooth-On's website. (And once you're there... go ahead and buy a package of the "high end" stuff to experiment with. I recommend Dragon Skin. You'll fall in love with it, guaranteed!)

 

For a face mask... it would probably take about 2 or 3 tubes to get a good sturdy thickness.

 

Pam :-)

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Guest Anonymous   
Guest Anonymous

I know Pam is used for Latex masks, can't remember on Silicone (though the back of my mind is that it will work). I do remember that if you use it clean all surfaces REALLY good as it is want to mildew.

 

Also, Smooth-On has beginner kits that include RTV silicone and Resin.

 

Another trick is keep your worn out molds. You can cut them up into little pieces and use them to bulk your mold (great for when your mold box is a lot bigger than your pice).

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Guest Anonymous   
Guest Anonymous

I read somewhere that adding plaster of paris to silicone will speed up the cure and allow you to make molds as thick as you want. 1 part plaster to 10 parts silicone was the recomended amount.

 

A couple of months ago I made a small mold using a 100% clear tube of silicone, soapy water and plaster which I kneeded together and applied to the vaseline covered model. After an hour it was almost cured. I didn't check it again until the next day, but it was fully cured then. It was about half an inch thick at the thickest parts. It had some textured areas which I assume was from too much water on the model. It was raining on me as I was doing this and I assumed the more water the merrier since silicone cures from moisture but I think I had too much. I could have mixed the silicone better as well, but the 50/50 bondo and fiberglass resin cast came out good and I didn't need any reinforcement on the silicone mold.

 

Looking at it recently I noticed that it deformed slightly, I think I should have stored it with the model in it and made it thicker. I've only worked with silicone this once so I don't know much about it.

 

P.S. The soapy water suggestion works great at keeping it from sticking to your hands.

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Guest Anonymous   
Guest Anonymous

Pam, thanks for the tips on working with silicone!!! :twisted::twisted::twisted: Smooth On products are indeed wonderful, if a bit pricey!!! :wink::twisted:

 

To color silicone what ever color you need/want, use oil paint!

Yep, just standard artists oil paint. Use the least amount possible to achieve the color you desire. :wink:

It's what I used to make Traya's cut off hand....

 

halspic6.jpg

 

It's also what this awesome Goblin head "mask" is made from....

 

walkerspace3.jpg

(Ben Armstrong, owner of Netherworld Haunted House)

 

Jayn & I have been making bodysuits with silicone since 2000. We've made a skinned man suit & a Zombie suit & lots of Zombie hands/gloves...

 

sept2008001.jpg

 

nwwolf220038.jpg

Those are Zombie hand gloves hangin' out of the waistband of the boxers.

 

You can machine wash them in cold water & hang to dry, too! :wink:

 

To stick silicone appliances to your skin, you've gotta' use a product, (I believe by Smooth On) called "Skin Tight". It's a 2 part mix that glues the silicone to skin! (Latex, spirit gum & medical adhesive will NOT work! :evil: ) It also requires a special remover, but maaaaaaaan is it worth it!!!!!!!!!!! :wink::twisted::twisted::twisted:8)

 

I'm just itchin' to try usin' silicone in a mold (not as a mold), to make a few things!!! :wink::twisted:

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Guest CAndyman   
Guest CAndyman
Pam, thanks for the tips on working with silicone!!! :twisted::twisted::twisted: Smooth On products are indeed wonderful, if a bit pricey!!! :wink::twisted:

 

To color silicone what ever color you need/want, use oil paint!

Yep, just standard artists oil paint. Use the least amount possible to achieve the color you desire. :wink:

....

 

You Rock Demon! Just the info I was looking for. 8)

Is it possible to do this and keep the molded object at least mostly translucent if you use clear silicone?

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