My latest project is a clear polyester resin cuff. From what I’ve seen on the internet, there are available molds for resin bangles. These two molds on etsy.com are only 3/4 and 5/8 inch deep. My cuff requires at least two inches of space in order to better display a piece of lacework or crochet. The bangle mold would be too klunky at that depth.
Since there are no commercial molds available for the shape I want to make, I had to make my own mold. The mold builder I used was Castin’ Craft Liquid Latex Rubber for resin or plaster casting.
Before you can build your mold, you have to have a three dimensional model of the item you want to create. For this portion, I used Creative Paperclay. I liked that this clay was inexpensive ($4.99 for 8 oz), dries hard, and can be sanded or whittled when dry. The worst part of this clay is that as it shrinks, it dries. This can be fixed by either making your object bigger than you need, and then whittling it down, OR by my favorite property of this clay. The property is that when it gets a little wet or moist, it gets slightly pliable.
For this cuff, I needed an opening of exactly 1 3/8 inches. When the cuff dried, the opening was down to 1 inch! Luckily, I made the cuff pretty thick, so I whittled out the middle with a boxcutter. The opening was also enlarged.
After that, the sanding, and more sanding, and more sanding. Encountered another roadblock when I sanded too hard and one side broke off. It all glued back together well, built it up with a little Modgepodge, and after drying, sanded down well also.
The mold builder requires porous surfaces to be sealed before application. In some cases Modgepodge is considered a sealant, but the mold builder required an acrylic sealant.
Ok, let’s look back here and count how many nights of dry time we are up to: one for the mold, 1/2 day for glue, 1/2 day for Modgepodge, one day for the acrylic sealant.
We’re finally to the mold building portion! I used a disposable brush that comes with resin mixing cups. The brush ends up very clumpy like the old brush inside of a rubber cement tin. The mold must be built up in very thin layers.
Every layer then must be cured with dry heat, as well as left to dry for 15 minutes. Bubbles can also form, and blow up when exposed to the dry heat. I popped one of these as I began the process, and I think the hole has been covered up enough.
I started painting on the layers yesterday morning before the football game, more after the game, and a few more layers this morning. I’m glad I started taking pictures yesterday, but I wish I would have taken more earlier on. This is after about four layers:
This is after about ten layers:
Today, after the last layer cures, I’m going to remove the clay cuff and toss the mold with a little talc. Soon, I’ll have some mold release spray for the inside, and I’ll attempt to actually pour a cuff.
Aside: Most crafty folk have some sort of OCD built into them. I first realized mine peeling glue off of my fingers in 2nd grade. What is great about mold building is that the latex dries on your fingers and then peels off in gigantic chunks. I’m sure it sounds really gross to most people, but I was fascinated by it.