I've wanted to try this DIY for a while now, and I am PUMPED for you guys to see the results. If you've ever been intimidated by mold-making, then trust me, watch this:
OR, for you non-video-watching peeps who don't have 20 minutes and just want the basics, lemme sum up:
YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 tube of 100% silicone caulking (Walmart carries it, or any hardware store)
- dish soap, any brand
- a large bucket or bowl you never use for food prep
- something to mold (should be non-porous & something you can press in)
Please note this technique is NOT my own creation: all credit goes to Audrey Obscura over on Instructables. Since her final product is made of clear resin, though, I couldn't tell how much detail her mold actually captured. John and I decided to find out, so we tested several different items - and then painted & aged the results - to get the most detailed comparisons possible for you guys. I think you'll be impressed; I was honestly quite shocked how well this works.
Right, here we go. Prepare to be amazed by how simple this is:
Step 1: Fill a bucket about halfway with water
Step 2: Add "lots" of dish soap - a tablespoon or more. This doesn't have to be exact, you just want the water super soapy.
Step 3: Squeeze some silicone directly into the water. Add just enough to make your mold - you don't need to squeeze the whole tube in at once.
Step 4: Knead the caulking with your bare hands, keeping it under the water as much as possible. This feels VERY FUNKY and is VERY FUN.
(The dish soap forms a barrier on your skin, so the silicone won't stick.)
Step 5: Once the caulking is firm enough, smooth out a small ball of it onto a non-stick surface (I used a clear transparency sheet) and press in the item you want to mold:
Step 6: Wait about 20 minutes, or until the silicone feels like hard rubber.
IMPORTANT SMELLINESS WARNING: You'll notice a vinegar smell while you're working with the silicone, which get exponentially stronger as it cures. Set the mold(s) outside for a few hours to air out, or at least work by an open window & later store them in an airtight ziploc.
Step 7: Peel out your item, and boom. YOU HAVE A MOLD.
Told you it was easy! Now you're ready to pour some resin and test out your new mold. Or use it for clay! Just no food items, please; this is NOT food safe.
I molded several objects with increasingly subtle, hard-to-capture designs, and there IS a limit to what will work - but I think you'll be surprised where it is. I recommend watching the last 5 minutes of the video up there to see all our results in action, but I'll also walk you through them here: