Do you ever get a design in mind that is just too complex to do by hand? Or maybe you'd like to create multiple identical pieces? Sculpey® can help! Silicone molds with polymer clay and Liquid Sculpey offer an easy way to create detailed designs that come out just as sturdy as your non-molded pieces.
Molds are easy to use, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be as complicated or as simple as you need them to be. Most of them are flexible, and they often feature patterns or simple shapes. However you plan to use them, we can show you just how to use a mold with polymer clay and Liquid Sculpey, and why Sculpey® Bakeable Molds are a great addition to your polymer clay toolbox.
What Are Silicone Molds?
Silicone is the material of choice for most polymer clay molds. It is usually flexible and non-stick, making it easy to release your clay. Silicone molds have a variety of applications but are popular in baking, jewelry-making and even creating beauty products like bath bombs and soaps.
Typically, these molds don't require a mold release agent, so you can rest easy knowing your creation won't stick to the material. Some molds, like our Sculpey® Silicone Bakeable Molds, are, as the name suggests, bakeable in your home oven up to 450°F.
A rigid plastic mold might be more challenging to use since it is inflexible and can damage your design when you try to take out the clay. Rigid molds may include undercuts or protrusions that would break off when removing the model — the clay won't pop out of the mold nearly as easily.
Benefits of Using Molds With Polymer Clay
Okay, so we know that silicone molds are a useful crafting tool, but why should you use them with polymer clay and Liquid Sculpey? Both polymer clay and Liquid Sculpey are incredibly versatile. Their flexibility makes the clay a fantastic surface for adding in details. Then, you can finish your piece with a variety of paints or powders. You can even add these before it is baked by brushing the mold with your medium of choice.
One of the unique aspects of polymer clay which has no doubt contributed to its popularity is its texture. The soft, squishy material fits snugly into a mold and forms around intricate details without much work on your part. Then, of course, there is the hardness with which it bakes. Polymer clay's composition results in a sturdy product and makes it just plain satisfying to work with.
You can use molds to make individual pieces or parts of a more complicated project. In combination with other effects and designs, a mold can help you make an exciting and unique piece. You can change your clay's color by marbling it or applying canes, or adding surface effects such as covering it in mica powder. You can even paint your molded pieces using acrylic paint for extra detail. There is really no limit to how creative you can get with your polymer clay creations.
Without a mold, you may have difficulty achieving the look you want, whether that is a simple, symmetrical shape or a complicated lace pattern. Let's not forget that molds can give you a design that would take painstaking hours of work and skill to achieve on your own.
A mold takes some uncertainty out of your creation. Knowing you won't need to worry about what shape you'll get leaves you more time to focus on other aspects of your project. It is also helpful if you're making multiple small pieces as part of a large project or identical miniatures.
How to Use a Mold With Polymer Clay
You can use multiple types of clay with our molds, including Sculpey® III and premo! Sculpey®, but Liquid Sculpey® (LS) works best. Though it is a simple process, there are a few steps you will want to follow when using molds with polymer clay.
1. Prepare Your Clay
Warm your clay by rolling it around in your hands a little bit. You'll want it to be soft, so it can easily take on the details of your mold. Conditioning your clay is essential to every project — we even offer a clay conditioning machine if you want to make the process faster. LS, however, doesn't need conditioning.
2. Place Your Clay
While you might expect just to press a whole lump of clay into the mold, doing this can make it harder to get the fine details. Instead, break off little pieces of clay and push them down into sections of your mold. Use a rolling motion with your finger to get the clay to stay in the mold. Fill up the entire cavity with clay and push down on it. You want to remove any seams from where your clay pieces adhere to each other.
If you're using LS, this step is a little different. Simply fill your mold with the liquid, making sure to direct the nozzle into any tight spots. Use the twist cap to create a wider opening that will fill the cavity faster. Once it is filled, tap your mold against your surface a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles. You can also use a needle tool to remove any lingering surface bubbles.
3. Remove Excess
For polymer clay, you can use your fingers to roll in clay from the edges and gather it in the middle. Then, take a blade to slice off this excess from the top. For more detailed areas, gently bending your blade might help you reach smaller sections to flatten them out. A detail tool or needle might help here as well. Even if you don't want a flat edge to your piece, this is where you want to make sure the edges are clean. Again, be sure to keep the back clean and don't be afraid to use your blade to keep it flat or another tool to round it out.
Many of our molds, especially the Lace, Mandala and Geo Butterfly molds, are thinner and more refined. These work best with LS and come with a squeegee. Fill the mold with LS and use the squeegee to remove the excess. You may find it easier to use your fingers to push the Liquid Sculpey® into some of the cavities.
If using Sculpey® Silicone Bakeable Molds, simply place your mold in the oven and bake according to the type of clay you're using. These molds can be used up to 450°F, and each clay type has different requirements:
- -Liquid Sculpey®: 275 to 300°F for 15 to 30 minutes.
- -Sculpey® III: 275°F for 15 minutes for every 1/4-inch thickness.
- -Premo Sculpey®: 275°F for 30 minutes for every 1/4-inch thickness.
Be careful at this point — outside of Sculpey®, some molds aren't bakeable. You'll have to check with the manufacturer. If it is not bakeable, you will need to release the model before baking it, which could distort your design.
Now comes the fun part! But it takes a little patience — wait for your clay to cool completely before you try to release it. Then, gently flex the bottom of your mold, and the piece should pop out easily.
The above applies to baked clay, and this easy removal is one of the benefits of a bakeable mold. If you're trying to release a piece that's still soft, you may have to draw it out more. Don't bend the mold and clay too much, or you could stretch out your design, especially for a mold with many fragile lines or protrusions.
Tips for Releasing Clay From Molds
Releasing clay from a mold without distorting it can sometimes seem like its own art form, but there are several tricks to make this process easier. Knowing how to release polymer clay from molds can be a big help. Again, it should be fairly easy to remove baked clay, but you can also ensure that you won't fight with it. Non-baked pieces might require more help.
- -Use soft clay: If your clay is too dry or crumbly, it won't grab onto the details of your mold and can give you some trouble when trying to release the clay. You should be able to squish the clay easily. You can usually soften up a firm block of clay by rolling it in your hands. Use some elbow grease, and it should become more pliable. If it is still too stiff or is old, you might need to add some clay softener or conditioner, available in liquid or solid.
- -Use a release agent: Doing this is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth release from your mold. You can use water or cornstarch, sprayed or dusted with a brush, to keep your clay from sticking to the silicone.
- -Let your clay cool: Just as you want soft clay when you start molding, firm clay will be easier to release from the mold. Make sure that it has completely cooled after it comes out of the oven. You may also find it helpful to put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
- -Press a slick substance to the back: Place a mirror or piece of glass against the back of your mold, and push on it, so it suctions to the clay. Then, tip the mold upside-down, tap it a few times and let gravity do the rest of the work.
Crafting Ideas for Claying With Molds
Molds can widen your artistic horizons, and their uses with polymer clay are vast. With molds, you can make anything from napkin rings to feather earrings to a Pegasus figurine.
1. Home Goods
You can make innumerable items for your home with polymer clay. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Magnets: Stick a magnet on the back of almost any model and you can bring things like faraway sea creatures into your kitchen.
- -Chalk Vase: With some chalk paint and a floral mold, you can give an old glass vase a chic upgrade.
- -Boho Picture Frame: Add some flair to your photos with the Boho Chic mold and a plain wooden frame.
- -Mini Potted Plants: Use the Flowers mold to make petals for a flower or succulent and put it all together. Brush on some paint or mica powder for some shading. Finally, place your finished greenery in a small pot or make your own.
- -Wine Charms: Make it easier to tell your drinks apart at your next dinner party with these shimmery sea life charms.
- -Lace Napkin Rings: Stack a second layer onto your Lace mold to make a creative backing for these elegant napkin rings.
- -Jewelry Dish: Make a simple dish shape with your clay and embed a pattern like our Geo Butterflies or Lace. You can even embellish it with figures from other molds if you want some extra 3D elements. Bake and use as a ring dish or a catchall.
Show off your creativity with molded jewelry. Try these jewelry ideas:
- -Pendants: Make simple glamorous pendants with a jewelry mold.
- -Feather Earrings: Go boho-chic with these simple but stylish feather earrings.
- -Pins: Turn any mold you like into an eye-catching statement by gluing a butterfly clutch to the back of it.
- -Mandala Earrings: Use transparent LS in a unique way with these beaded mandala earrings.
The items you can make claying with molds are nearly endless. Here are two more ideas to spur some creativity:
- -Keychains: If you can poke a hole in it, you can turn it into a keychain, like this shimmery mermaid tail.
- -Pegasus: If you're up for a little more sculpting, you can bring some whimsical animal life to your desk with a cute Pegasus figurine.
Try Sculpey® Bakeable Molds Today
Whether you're looking to create elegant jewelry, cute creatures, unique home decor or something entirely different, Sculpey® can help you get there. With convenient molds that bake with your project and a variety of shapes and sizes, your clay pieces are sure to dazzle.
We offer several different types of clay, but the best one for molds is Liquid Sculpey®. It fills up your mold to reach every detail and can be tinted to a variety of colors with paints, pigments, mica powders and alcohol-based inks. Liquid Sculpey® is also the best way to get fine, fragile details since you can remove the excess with a squeegee and avoid overfilling. With traditional clay on particularly delicate molds, you risk cutting into the mold itself when you get rid of the excess. Doing this can make a mess of both your workspace and your design.
All of our molds will work with both liquid and solid polymer clay. They are all bakeable and flexible, allowing you the versatility to remove your pieces before or after baking. The flexible design also makes it easy to release your model.
If you're just getting started with polymer clay, molds are a great way to use more advanced designs in your work. And if you're an experienced clayer, they can add unique embellishments or help create repeated pieces. Molds are also great if you have one craft in mind, but don't want to get a bunch of different tools — although we're pretty sure you'll be hooked on polymer clay by the time you're done anyway!
Take a look at our bakeable mold projects and get crafting today!