"Let's talk about Molds"
Molds can be a very important tool for a clayer. It helps you achieve uniformity and even helps you sculpt something complex in an instant. You can buy molds but you can also make your own molds just as easily. For a miniaturist like me, it is a very handy tool since there aren't that many products for the miniature market so I have to make my own miniature molds.
If you are not sure when to use molds, think about the miniature you are sculpting - does it come from a mold in real life? I made these pastel chocolate bunnies for Easter and used a mold to achieve the illusion that they were manufactured. Most novelty chocolates are made from molds so it was obvious I had to make one of my own.
Creating Molds for Miniature Clay Projects
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There are many different types of mold makers in the market but I use only 2 types - a reusable mold putty from Japan called Oyumaru and a 2-part blue silicone mold maker which is a generic product that is available in most craft stores.[/caption]
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Oyumaru is a stiffer mold compared to the 2-part blue silicone mix. Since there are a lot of fine details in miniature I love using this one a lot. There is also the fact that you can re-use this mold over and over again just by softening it up in hot water. The only drawback is that it cannot go into the oven with polymer clay. The other great thing about it is that you can also use it with resin or even UV resin since it is transparent.[/caption]
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Examples of Oyumaru molds.[/caption]
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The more common 2-part blue silicone mold is also used a lot in making miniature food especially for smaller items since it is more flexible and that makes it easier to pop out from the mold compared to a stiffer mold like Oyumaru. Both molds do need to be greased with a special mold oil or baby powder so the clay does not stick to it. Another reason for me to use this type of mold is when I need to use it with liquid polymer clay because it can go into the oven. This mold isn't as versatile since you can't reuse it. As soon as it is mixed and hardens you cannot change it.[/caption]
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The good news about both of these molds is that you can use scrap clay for the cast.[/caption]
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However many clayers know that baked clay (especially smaller pieces) can be fragile and crumble when it is being cast into mold material. This is why I use something called Epoxy Putty which can be found in any modelling shop as a cast. It is pliable like clay but hardens rock hard like resin. A cured piece can be sanded and sculpted so you can even add more fine details into it using sharp tools or sandpaper. I sculpted this chocolate bunny cast using the Epoxy Putty.[/caption]
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After I am happy with the cast, I soften my Oyumaru mold in hot water and imprint the cast into it.[/caption]