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Free Sculpting Tutorials

Making a Mold – Step One

Posted by goregt On December - 16 - 2008

Mold making is one of those tricky little things that can be very simple or complex depending on what it being molded. Over the next few tutorials I’ll show you how to create both a simple and a complex mold all from the same sculpture.

The sculpture that I will be using for the tutorial is complex in design with tons of detail work and will serve as a great example that no subject matter is too detailed to be molded.


Step One – Breaking (cutting) the sculpture into individual parts:

Moulding individual parts

Usually step one takes place during the design phase of sculpting. The goal is to break or “cut up” the sculpture into individual parts for ease of molding. Once molded, the individual parts will fit together like a puzzle or an even better example a model (like model cars and airplanes).

Now the process on how to cut up the sculpture into the individual parts is an entirely different tutorial that I will have to cover at another time. However, if you are squeamish about cutting up your hard work, I highly recommend learning how to make a mold on a simple design first and then once your comfort level has increased move onto a more complex design. This is exactly what I did when I learned how to create a mold; I started with a very basic sculpture and became familiar with mold making process. After I gained some experience I quickly was able start molding more complex pieces. These days I have no issues cutting my sculptures into pieces but back in the day that was never an option for me.

Step Two – Materials needed:

  • Silicone – rubber used to make the mold
  • Foam board
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors or a box cutter (or knife)
  • Klean Klay

Silicone – The silicone that I personally use for molding is called Mold Max 20 and can be purchased from Smooth On (http://www.smooth-on.com/). I have been using Smooth On’s products for a few years now and I am very happy with their quality. There are a ton of other different brands of silicone out there but for my tutorials I will be exclusively using Mold Max 20.

Silicone is not cheap, no matter whom you buy it from, and a gallon of Mold Max 20 at the time of this writing cost a little over $90 USD plus additional cost for shipping and handling. Just to give you an idea on cost, the silicone used for the sculpture in this example cost me a little over $300 USD and that was only the cost for the rubber. I still have additional cost for the other materials that make up the mold. However, the cost does not stop there, there is also cost for the material to cast the sculpture, resin, and it can be quite pricey as well.

Foam board and packing tape is very inexpensive and can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart or craft store. The foam board (also called X-acto board) and packing tape are used to make a box for your mold (I will cover this in detail in the next lesson).

Klean Klay is only used with two part molds and I will cover in more detail in the future lessons.

Mold making is a very expensive adventure but if you want to create replicas of your original work then making a mold is a necessity whether you do it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. My best recommendation for making a mold is to start small and work your way up to more complex projects. As I stated earlier, some of my first molds were of very basic sculptures and as my confidence grew so did the complexity of the sculptures that I molded. Molding is expensive, messy, time consuming and in my honest opinion not a whole lot of fun but the reward of being able to cast your original works is well worth all the effort.

Next Lesson – Mold Making Step 2

2 Responses to “Making a Mold – Step One”

  1. Judy says:

    Oh I can’t wait, Love your latest sculpt by the way

  2. pefullilove says:

    Glad you’re back. I’m a novice, self-taught sculptor and I was able to successfully sculpt a piece after reviewing your tutorial of the bust of the African woman. I am African American myself and I really appreciate any work which renders a flattering perspective in consideration of my ethnicity. Your piece was so true-to-life. It was truly an inspiration for me and I found your presentation and teaching method easy to follow. Your latest piece shows just how gifted you are as a sculptor. I can’t wait for more. Till then…

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Nothing special, just a self-taught sculptor having fun with my art and showing all of you the tips and tricks I use to create my own artwork



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