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View Full Version : Making molds from polymer clay or existing figures.



Xelizarios-Prime
02-20-2011, 12:29 PM
Hello,

I am not sure what this falls under. And feel free to direct me to the right place.

Can anyone tell me what you use or what you can get at an art supply store to make molds from existing PVC or resin figures and if you make polymer clay figures how to make molds from that also? What kind of compounds or materials would you use to make a lasting mold without damaging the figure?

Thanks and God bless! :-)

devone23
02-21-2011, 11:33 AM
I assume you need to make molds from existing figures to do modifications, and not to sell recasts? If so, Smooth-On (www.smooth-on.com) is where I go for molding compound (silicone rubber). They make a product called Oomoo that is decent for molding and doesn't require degassing or an accurate gram scale, which is good if you don't have that equipment. If you do have a vacuum chamber/degasser and a gram scale, Smooth-On's Mold Max products are the way to go, from what I hear. Smooth-On says Oomoo doesn't last as long as Mold Max, but I find it to be quite durable for hobby purposes.

As for the stuff you find in art supply stores, I've seen some at Hobby Lobby but I stay away from those because they are more expensive for a small amount of molding compound. If you want to mold a 1/8 scale figure you need at least one or two quarts.

Xelizarios-Prime
02-21-2011, 05:24 PM
I assume you need to make molds from existing figures to do modifications, and not to sell recasts? If so, Smooth-On (www.smooth-on.com) is where I go for molding compound (silicone rubber). They make a product called Oomoo that is decent for molding and doesn't require degassing or an accurate gram scale, which is good if you don't have that equipment. If you do have a vacuum chamber/degasser and a gram scale, Smooth-On's Mold Max products are the way to go, from what I hear. Smooth-On says Oomoo doesn't last as long as Mold Max, but I find it to be quite durable for hobby purposes.

As for the stuff you find in art supply stores, I've seen some at Hobby Lobby but I stay away from those because they are more expensive for a small amount of molding compound. If you want to mold a 1/8 scale figure you need at least one or two quarts.


Thank you for the info. I will check out that page. Yeah, I only want to use it for my own purposes. I don't want to pirate other people's work. I did think about casting molds of my own characters when I get around to making them but I'm still needing to learn sculpting. That is what got me interested in this site because I saw some people who posted stuff about sculpting their own figures. Which, again I need to learn about that too. Never been to Hobby Lobby but I do go to Michael's. I bought some polymer clays from there- Sculpey. And they already come in various colors so painting is not much of an issue there unless I recast them. But then I don't know if you can recast polymer clay figures or not?

I will definitely check out that site though.

do you sculpting or anything? I always want to learn that and also how to modify existing plastic and resin figures. Garage kits from Japan just get way too expensive as cool as they are. I just don't have $300-500 to spend on a single model like that. so I decided to go this route. I decided to spend $100 to get started on a much less expensive alternative. :-)

Thanks again for that link. :-)

devone23
02-23-2011, 12:07 AM
Haha that's pretty much why I started sculpting. Then I found out that the materials and costs involved in making a professional-looking sculpture is way above $300-$500, even if you have the prerequisite skill.

Xelizarios-Prime
02-23-2011, 01:21 AM
Haha that's pretty much why I started sculpting. Then I found out that the materials and costs involved in making a professional-looking sculpture is way above $300-$500, even if you have the prerequisite skill.

So, do you use polymer clay? Or what do you work with? What have you found to be best. So far I bought some Sculpey polymer clay that says it bakes hard in the oven. But I'm waiting another month to get started -- we we start seeing 60 degree weather again so I can open my windows. I'm sure that will be quite pungent! lol!

How well has it been working for you so far?

vilmaxiii
02-23-2011, 10:35 AM
sculpy is great for beinging but you want super sculpy!! its a skin color and more firm <speaking of firm there is a gray type of sculpy calld firm> if you were to take super sculpy and mix it with firm sculpy youll have a really great <clay> to work with, it wont melt or slump over like origanal sculpy do's.
fimo is an onther good clay but i perfer sculpy.

sculpys cool cause yo can take your time wich is great when just starting out. its best to make your figure in parts like start with a base<torso> then put it int he freezer to tempawary harden it then build onto it with your next part<a leg/arm head ect> and keep that gion till your fig is ready fo oven time!!

also its realy good to have a wire armiture to build your clay on..

but back to the question on mold makeing!!
first is the figure you want to mold in pieces and is it painted? if its painted your guna want to remove tha paint and woring with pieces is great.
now to explain this could take a while i will if you like there is also a nice vid on youtube it's in japanses but im sure from watching youll get the jist of it hear is the link..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Y2135g3OU&feature=BF&list=PLCD87637F06409F5E&index=7

good luck let me know if you need me to explain things in the vids..

Xelizarios-Prime
02-23-2011, 11:34 PM
sculpy is great for beinging but you want super sculpy!! its a skin color and more firm <speaking of firm there is a gray type of sculpy calld firm> if you were to take super sculpy and mix it with firm sculpy youll have a really great <clay> to work with, it wont melt or slump over like origanal sculpy do's.
fimo is an onther good clay but i perfer sculpy.

sculpys cool cause yo can take your time wich is great when just starting out. its best to make your figure in parts like start with a base<torso> then put it int he freezer to tempawary harden it then build onto it with your next part<a leg/arm head ect> and keep that gion till your fig is ready fo oven time!!

also its realy good to have a wire armiture to build your clay on..

but back to the question on mold makeing!!
first is the figure you want to mold in pieces and is it painted? if its painted your guna want to remove tha paint and woring with pieces is great.
now to explain this could take a while i will if you like there is also a nice vid on youtube it's in japanses but im sure from watching youll get the jist of it hear is the link..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Y2135g3OU&feature=BF&list=PLCD87637F06409F5E&index=7

good luck let me know if you need me to explain things in the vids..


Thanks. :-)

Well I have two kinds of Sculpey- I have Sculpey III and I have some of the "Premo" Sculpey. But I think you have to buy Super Sculpey online.

One concern I do have is how well the clays hold up. Like does this Scupley III fall apart after awhile?

I did think ahead though. I got aluminum foil, toothpicks - both flat and round, wire paper clips, wire cutters, a bunch of tools, etc. and I even bought a rolling machine to press the clay, etc Still need to buy xacto knives and some other stuff. I figured I wanted to be ahead of the game. But I will have to look up those clays you mentioned.

The thing I like abut sculpey is that it's already in various colors so I figure I won't have to paint much. I figure you have to make the characters piecemeal then assemble them. In fact I found this forum because I was looking up clay figure sculpting and saw one person who made a cool chibi character. I draw my own characters and so I'd love to sculpt figures of them. :-)

But yeah, I want to learn about making molds and about resin too. I don't want to be limited to one medium. At the same time I won't futz too much with resin until I get some clay sculpting learned and get a feel for it, and learn how to modify existing figures first.

Most of my favorite figures are all either Gashapon or Trading Figures - usually between 3" to 5" tall. Though I do have a few 7" Bome figures. I hope to put up a gallery of them one of these days - of what I have in my collection.

But hey! If you want to see a cool photomanip in the meantime check out my blog - I did a shot of a model of the Enterprise from Star Trek and used Photoshop to "put it in space". lol! :-)

Thanks for the info definitely.

vilmaxiii
02-24-2011, 10:27 AM
no problem.. and micheals usly carries super sculpy and sculpy firm... but yes sculpy 3 is the kind that will over time become brittle and fall apart. so its good to make things in sculpy then cast them with resin when you can or store it in a dust and humid free spot..
good luck!

Xelizarios-Prime
02-25-2011, 01:12 AM
Really? (about the Sculpey III) - I would think there has to be something to seal it. The thing I like is that it's already multicolored, no painting required (necessarily - except maybe eyes or finer details). Is there a way to seal figures made from Sculpey III? Also I got some Premo Sculpey too. Which... I take it is stronger/better stuff. The drawback of Super Sculpey is it only comes in one color. Anyways, I will have to do my homework on that.

Who sells the best GK resin?

Humid free? ha! I don't have air conditioning where I live. That's why I'm moving apartments this summer! lol! But I imagine humidity would interfere with sculpting or molding from resin.

devone23
02-25-2011, 12:41 PM
You can seal Sculpey III with a glaze after you bake it, just like most other clays. They sell that stuff right in the clay department I believe. If you use clay that you will paint, seal with Primer. Before making a mold, seal with another sealant to fill pores. For resin I use Smooth-On's Smooth Cast 300 or 310.

Xelizarios-Prime
02-25-2011, 05:50 PM
You can seal Sculpey III with a glaze after you bake it, just like most other clays. They sell that stuff right in the clay department I believe. If you use clay that you will paint, seal with Primer. Before making a mold, seal with another sealant to fill pores. For resin I use Smooth-On's Smooth Cast 300 or 310.


Thanks for the info. I just figure after you go to the trouble of making a Sculpey figure there has to be a way to seal it to protect it. I did buy some sealants by Sculpey when I bought the clays. But it will be another few weeks - when there is 60 degree weather and I can open my windows! lol!

I'll check out that other stuff too. Thanks for the info. I swear I am a total noob at all of this. lol! :-)

Cold_OneK
03-22-2011, 02:13 AM
I'm making sculptures utilizing sculpey as well, so I'd like to share a few bits of what I've learned from my exp. with it.(still a newb though lol)

1. An armature is a must. It strengthens your sculpt, decreases your mat cost, and helps you avoid the 1inch limitation for baking.(it says you should keep what you bake less then 1inch thick..not sure why.) I've fired sculpts, ignoring that limitation, and nothing happened, but i guess it's a precaution.
2. When you bake sculpey(super sculpey at least), it actually turns white and becomes as hard as stone.<--if you follow correct baking procedures.
3. Painting: With painting, it'll take a while, before you can achieve the high quality the pro's get, but keep at it. Big thing I've found with sculpey, is that you have to use primer.(basic, but I didn't know my first time)
Pro's also use airbrushes, witch lets them get very nice shades and blending.
You don't need an airbrush to get the nice effects, but it makes it quicker.

Now at your comment about wanting to learn sculpting.
stuff I've found very usefull
the gnomon workshop: sculpture with John Brown, I highly recommend vol6 the femme fatale, it's an awesome video for learning female body sculpting. And the piece he makes is just about as thin as the anime figures lol
it's the closest vid tutorial I've seen to one about anime fig's

I found a nice lil' image for dimensions on a typical anime body,
http://www.gkjapan.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1876
it's 1/6th scale...come to think about it, I've been auto adjusting all the dimensions I've used from that diagram to be cm instead of mm....:surprised:
if you want to change the size to adjust to a dif scale, just scale up from 1/6 to 1/1, then down to whatever size you prefer.

and I'm finished...hope it helps
sorry if it was a bit boring :dizzy:

Xelizarios-Prime
03-23-2011, 12:35 AM
I'm making sculptures utilizing sculpey as well, so I'd like to share a few bits of what I've learned from my exp. with it.(still a newb though lol)

1. An armature is a must. It strengthens your sculpt, decreases your mat cost, and helps you avoid the 1inch limitation for baking.(it says you should keep what you bake less then 1inch thick..not sure why.) I've fired sculpts, ignoring that limitation, and nothing happened, but i guess it's a precaution.
2. When you bake sculpey(super sculpey at least), it actually turns white and becomes as hard as stone.<--if you follow correct baking procedures.
3. Painting: With painting, it'll take a while, before you can achieve the high quality the pro's get, but keep at it. Big thing I've found with sculpey, is that you have to use primer.(basic, but I didn't know my first time)
Pro's also use airbrushes, witch lets them get very nice shades and blending.
You don't need an airbrush to get the nice effects, but it makes it quicker.

Now at your comment about wanting to learn sculpting.
stuff I've found very usefull
the gnomon workshop: sculpture with John Brown, I highly recommend vol6 the femme fatale, it's an awesome video for learning female body sculpting. And the piece he makes is just about as thin as the anime figures lol
it's the closest vid tutorial I've seen to one about anime fig's

I found a nice lil' image for dimensions on a typical anime body,
http://www.gkjapan.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1876
it's 1/6th scale...come to think about it, I've been auto adjusting all the dimensions I've used from that diagram to be cm instead of mm....:surprised:
if you want to change the size to adjust to a dif scale, just scale up from 1/6 to 1/1, then down to whatever size you prefer.

and I'm finished...hope it helps
sorry if it was a bit boring :dizzy:


Hey Cold_OneK,

Not boring at all- very helpful actually.

Actually it's funny you mentioned armature wire- I ordered some off Amazon the other day. Only got thr 1/16 wire for starters. But I want to get the 1/8 and 3/16 wire too. Right now I want to start small. I also got popsicle sticks, toothpicks, paper clips, and even sewing pins. I used sewing pins to help anchor the feet on my latest attempts. $1.98 at any grocery store for a small box of 500 1" pins? Good investment?

I mentioned some of my current dilemma on m latest post on the "And so it begins..." thread I started. But also I realize too another problem I have with painting- painting on clay and on figures. I need to be able to paint detail on eyes and lips on the smallest anime figure faces. Can't seem to find real tiny brushes- and then ones that apply paint like a pen more than a brush. Not sure where to look for such a thing if there is one. Wonder if I want to look at a model store rather than an art store for brushes? Like a place that sells models as opposed to art supplies? Like a brush that is small but doesn't require much paint to apply very small details - eyes, iris, pupil, eyebrows, etc. Things like that.

I don't know if I'd ever get as good as the pros- but good enough I hope. :-)

Like I say- trying to make my scultures look like my drawings...
:puzzled::dunno::crys:

Drawing samples:

1885
1886



"Best" sculptures so far! :notagain::exhaust:

1887
1891
1889

Like I said on my other post though- I barely just started this. I'm not sure if I should try different clay or tools? Who knows! lol! :-)

Can't wait to see what I can do once I get that wire though.

I am focusing on my own original characters right now. Was never big on doing fan art but there are some anime characters I want to do down the road- Mink from "Dragon Half" for example... just to name one. I got a few "fan art" figures I'd love to eventually do.


1892
Hey! At least I did Gumby! ;-)

Thanks for the info also- that video, is that on YouTube or a video you buy?

Cheers! :-)

Cold_OneK
03-23-2011, 03:05 AM
it's one you need to purchase, but if that's an issue, you can find a lot of videos on youtube to give yourself a jolt in the right direction

using the lil pins I think your referring to(small used for poster and calendars ect right? you said 1" so =p)

and some corks, I have actually been following the advice Masa gave you for a lil while now
I add the pin, then build up with some aluminum foil, stick it into the cork, sculpt my lil head, and hold the cork, when making the intricate stuff

my heads(non anime :crys:) have really improved, but I won't be able to make decent eyes(non anime), until I get a spoon tool =/

vilmaxiii
03-25-2011, 10:34 AM
lol love the gummbi figure he's so cute.. damn i remember that show old school