Monday, March 24, 2014

TUTORIAL - using epoxy & crystal clay in a silicone mold

I haven't posted anything in a while! (but I finished the first draft of my novel!!!)

But here's another tutorial to make up for it. :)

How to use Epoxy/Crystal Clay in a Silicone Mold

Materials Needed:

- rubber gloves
- epoxy clay (for this tutorial I used Apoxie-Sculpt)
- silicone mold (I got this one off Amazon. The brand is Martha Stewart)

NOTE: once you use a silicone mold with epoxy clay (any brand), you CANNOT re-use this mold for food. No one likes clay residue in their chocolate. ;)

Step ONE: mix your epoxy clay

Mix part A (colour) with part B (hardener) and when the clay is one uniform colour, it's ready to use.

Step TWO: push your clay into the mold

I like using Apoxie Sculpt the best for silicone molds... it's a lot softer than other brands. Keep on pushing and add more clay until the clay is completely flat across the surface of the mold. Otherwise you'll find there are air bubbles or spots where the clay didn't push in all the way - if this is the case, once the clay dries, there will be missing parts.

 It's best to start with a little bit of clay and make sure you completely completely cover the bottom before adding more on top. 

Tip#1: Sometimes it helps to pre-shape the clay into whatever shape the mold is.

Tip#2: If you have too much, just pinch the excess away and then push the remaining clay down again.

Step THREE: curing

Now's the hard part - waiting 12 - 24 hours for the epoxy clay to cure. 

Notes: you can pop it out after an hour or two, but the clay letter will still be kind of soft and flexible. This might be what you want, if you want to add pigments or modify the shape before it cures. But if not, just leave it alone! It's hard to wait, though! :)

tick, tock...
Step FOUR: popping the cured piece out of the mold

Why silicone? Because stuff doesn't stick to it. I can't speak for any other materials (resin, chocolate, etc), but with Apoxie-Sculpt, it cures all in one piece and pops out in a few seconds. This Martha Stewart mold is good quality, so I was able to wiggle the silicone around to pop the letters out. Some cheaper molds might rip if you treat them too roughly, so I find it's best to go with a brand you trust, or make your own molds (more on that later!)

As you can see, I did miss tiny little dots where I could have pushed the clay down further.
HOWEVER, I wanted my letters to look kind of worn and old.
If you want them to look perfect, you CAN patch them up later with little bit of clay, or, just make another copy and press the clay down harder next time. 
Just wiggle the silicone mold around to pop the letter out. If it's a good quality mold, you can be a little rough/firm and the mold won't rip.
 So here's what the letters looked like once I popped them out! I included a picture of them painted (with acrylic) and rubbed with Gilder's Paste. See how the little flaws stand out now? Sometimes flaws are good  for creating texture.

I hope this tutorial was helpful.

Stay tuned for a comparison between how DeCore, Apoxie-Sculpt, ETI Jewelry Clay, and Crystal Clay work in silicone mold. :)

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