20-02-15

Making a silicone block mold

After having made several silicone relief molds for my Green Men it was now time to make a first block mold for my three dimensional Foppe figurine.
Before I went to work I studied lots of Youtube tutorials, it all looked quite straight forward, so on I went.
I took all the necessary steps, measuring the amount of silicone needed using dry rice, preparing the figurine. mixing the two silicone components together, pouring the mixture and waiting 8 hours to one day for it to set.
Shortly after pouring the mold started to leak, the silicone had found a tiny hole and started seeping out. I tried to stop the leaking but it continued to seep out little by little.
The day after pouring the silicone still hadn't set and the mold was still leaking, it remained liquid. I was surprised as I was sure I took all the righ steps. Dissilusioned I poured the silicone out and called my sculptor friend Corine for advice.
Corine thought that perhaps I had used not enough hardener so I tried again adding some more hardener hoping it would set the second time.
I repeated all the steps to prepare the mold, added more hardener and poured again. This time the mold didn't leak but again the silicone hadn't set the next day.
Then it dawned on me (like Corine mentioned) that by calculating the amount of hardener I used volume instead of weight. So the third time I weighed both ingredients, mixed them properly and poured again. Lo and behold after two hours the silicone started to set!
I waited 8 hours and with holding my breath I opened the plastic cylinder to find a perfect mold!Phew!
I couldn't wait to cast the first copy, mixed the resin, poured it into the mold and waited a few hours. Out came a perfect and exact copy of Foppe's figurine, tack sharp and no air bubbles!
It was an exercise of trail and error but I succeeded in the end and will never forget to use weight instead of volume when mixing the silicone!


Foppe's figurine waiting patiently inside a plastic cylinder for what comes next.





Pouring dry rice on top of Foppe's figurine inside the cylinder to calculate the amount of needed silicone.
Spraying mold release on the figurine to prevent the silicone from sticking to the piece.
Putting the plastic cylinder back around Foppe's figurine, ready to receive the silicone.
Mixing the two components (silicone and hardener) together and pouring it into the cylinder.
Shortly after pouring the silicone had found a tiny hole and started seeping out. Two heavy books were used to keep the cylinder pushed into the plastiline and paper towels soaking up the spilled silicone (to no avail).
After the first failed attempt I poured the still liquid silicone out of the cylinder, cleaned up Foppe's figurine and tried again using more hardener this time.
Second try. Pouring the new mixture into the cylinder and wait. No leaks this tme!
After waiting another day the silicone still hadn't set, so more cleaning up and trying to mix the silicone and hardener by weight this time (not by volume).
Third time lucky! At last the silicone had set and after 8 hours of waiting I released Foppe's figurine from his silicone prison.
Putting the silicone mold back inside the plastic cylinder to cast the first copy using Duracast (a ground marble/resin).
After pouring the Duracast inside the mold waiting for the resin to set (four hours).
Success! Taking the Durast copy out of the mold (right) to find an exact and tack sharp copy of the original Foppe figurine.
After three days of painstaking work the original of Foppe's figurine can be finished . First layer of acryllic paint transforming the bare sculpture into Foppe at last. (finished piece will be shown in a separate post) .

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