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Q. WHAT MATERIALS ARE SUITABLE FOR CASTING ?
A. You can go with many different materials but the two main products our customers use are polymer clay and resins.
Any premium name brand polymer clay works well and is available in a large assortment of colors from hobby and art stores. The resins I would recommend for beginners are epoxy resins such as Ice Resin or Easy Cast Resin .
Easy Cast offers many different color pigments in both opaque and translucent. You can also color epoxy resin with almost anything like paint, ink etc. Just make sure you use very little depending on the quantity you are mixing. Use the tip of a toothpick to start. Colorants go a very long way and if you use too much it can inhibit your cure.
All of these materials are available for purchase at most craft stores and online.
For advanced users - fast setting Urethane resins that cure (get hard) in 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: Fast setting Polyurethane's are notorious for bubble issues and requires experience to use.
We suggest researching this type of resin before using. There are numerous tutorials online for using "Urethane Resins"
Q. CAN I BAKE MY POLYMER CLAY IN THE MOLD?
A. Some of our molds are quite intricate but it may not be necessary. If you prefer you can bake your clay right in the mold without concerns of clay distortions from de-molding. Our molds are suitable up to 395 degrees F. Before baking your material in the oven place the filled mold on a cookie sheet and follow your clay instructions for temperature and time.
Use caution before handling since the silicone mold will be hot. Please allow it to cool before de molding.
Q. WHAT OTHER MATERIALS CAN I USE?
A. Wax, Gypsum's (various types of plasters), soap, PMC (precious metal clay) paper clay,air dry clays and other types of materials that require temperatures below 395 Degrees F.
Q. ARE YOUR MOLDS FOOD SAFE?
A. If you plan on using our molds for edibles such as fondant, chocolate, butter Etc. then choose our "FOOD SAFE " option when purchasing a mold.
NOTE: If using fragile substances such as fondant or chocolate in our more intricate molds we recommend putting your filled mold in the freezer for a couple of minutes before de-molding. This will harden the product to prevent distortion.
Q. HOW DO I AVOID AIR BUBBLES IN MY RESIN CASTINGS ?
A. Depends on the type of resin you are casting in the mold. When using Urethanes And Epoxy Resins: You can try one or all of the following methods depending on the mold:
Fill the cavity about 1\3 to 1\2 full and then roll the resin around into all the voids. This coats the silicone with resin and eliminates resistance.
Fill the cavity just above the deep voids and take a toothpick and run it around on the inside of the mold. You will actually see the air come to the top.
Stretch and flex the filled mold, again trying to displace the air.
Tap the filled mold on a flat surface trying to bring the air to the top.
Everyone finds their own tricks but these are ones that have worked for us.
On some of the intricate ones I do ALL of the above.
IF YOU ARE STILL HAVING BUBBLE ISSUES
Try casting into a warm mold coated with baby powder. This helps the material flow better. Put the silicone rubber mold in an oven set at "Warm" for about 15 to 30 minutes. Once the mold is warm to the touch, use a soft brush to dab in baby or talcum powder in the mold. Make sure all interior areas are covered. Now turn the mold up-side down and knock out all of the excess powder. This will leave a light coat of powder on the inside of the mold. This technique reduces the chance of trapping air by reducing surface tension. It allows the material to flow much better. For complex molds you may need to pour a small amount of the casting medium into the mold and then slowly rotate the mold to coat the inner mold surface.
Q. HOW DO I CLEAN MY MOLDS ?
A. We recommend cleaning your molds after 3 to 4 casts. Use hot soapy water and a VERY SOFT toothbrush or preferably a make-up brush to gently scrub the interior of the mold. All food grade molds should be washed before and after each use.
.....................................................Here are some tutorials done by my lovely customers.
And here are some on resin:
Two color cameos
If you are having sticky results when de molding using resin it could be the Dye or Colorant you are using. Most all Epoxy resins will take just about any type of colorant but to much of the colorant added to the resin will affect the cure. Make sure you are mixing the Two components of the resin properly as an unbalanced mix of the two sides will cause curing problems. For best results avoid water based colorants.
Techniques: After combining both resin parts ( A and B ) Try using Two or more colors together but don't totally mix them. Add a small amount of each color in separate areas of the mixed resin and then mix with a tooth pick to get a swirl effect. Cast the partially mixed color blend into the mold.
...................Add Glitter: You can get glitter flakes in different sizes from art supply stores in various colors.
...................Add metallic powder: Also available in small quantities from art supply stores or via the internet.
...................Add finely crushed stone. Epoxy resins will cure with a multitude of materials.
Use your imagination and experiment.