Molding Update

Using Smooth-On’s skin-safe mold-making materials, we managed to pull a silicone cast of a baku head that I made out of Sculpey.

Using good ‘ol plaster of paris, we managed to make a plaster baku head.

Conclusion the First: Not terribly easy, not terribly hard. We’ve pulled two plaster heads, one marginally more successful than the other, and they came out…okay. Despite our best efforts, we’ve got air bubbles in the mold that leave blobs of plaster that have to be sanded off, and there were big overruns in the back, so each plaster piece requires extensive retouching with the Dremel and some touch-ups with Apoxie.

Conclusion the Second: This was a stupidly ambitious design. Kevin wants to retry it as a two part mold. I’m going to try another version that involves really cheap silicone caulk, as recommended by my stepfather, and see if I can’t get a more perfect mold.

Conclusion the Third: Barring radical success of those projects, and owing to sheer difficulty of casting this particular design—tapir snouts, who knew?—and all the post-processing required, the Baku at least may be an art-show only kinda thing, where I do maybe three, four, five, with different paint jobs. Since my ultimate goal is to mass-produce a couple of designs sufficiently to offer at the table or on-line…well, still working. I’m gonna have to try something much less insane, like a happy platypus. (Mmm…platypus…)

Conclusion the Fourth: Not entirely sure about plaster. It’s easy to work with, and the end results have a lot of heft, but they’re still kinda fragile objects.  On the other hand, the commercially available resins and whatnot are REALLY expensive. May have to try Hydrocal, which is used to make lawn ornaments, and supposed to be a little tougher.

I can see the plaster working okay for a thing hung on the wall, but not for something that sits on your desk. We’ll see how the painted versions come out…

35 thoughts on “Molding Update

  1. Korbl says:

    I hate that I can think of this to suggest it, but… it might be worth it to send an email to and see if they have any tips. Radically different product, but they do mass produce, essentially, um.. silicone novelties of unusual shape.

  2. Wookieegunner says:

    Do you remember the actual name of the Smooth-On you used. Based on the color, it looks like a Platinum Silicone. Did you use a brush on? I’m not sure where you would split a two part mold, it really looks to me like something that needs a good sock mold.

    Also, on hydrocal, it is harder and heavier. Woodland Scenics sells a Lightweight Hydrocal that is half the weight, don’t know what it does to the strength. Hirst Arts lists some additional suggestions in their casting tutorial:

    Also, if you haven’t done it yet, you might try emailing Smoot-On and ask if they have any suggestions on how to minimize the aird bubbles.

    And if you try brush on, remember to tint every even layer with acrylic paint in the part A.

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