Monday, November 17, 2014

Air Dry Clay Mask & Silicone Molds

DIY: Clay Phantom of the Opera masks 
November 17, 2014

I made the silicone molds a couple of years ago with polymer clay, but this time I wanted something lighter for the mini plaques I made for this year's Phantom of the Opera themed dinner.
Partially completed DIY air dry clay Phantom of the Opera Mask
Partially complete mask
Silicone molds (basic tutorial will follow the mask tutorial)
Crayola Air Dry Clay in White
400 or higher sand paper
Modge Podge or other clay sealant

Step 1:

The great thing about the air dry clay is that it blends together wonderfully in case you don't get enough to fill the mold on the first try.  The bad thing is that although the molds are very flexible, the air dry clay is extremely soft which makes them challenging to remove from the molds without distorting the shape.  I pulled a small amount of clay from the package and rolled into a ball using the palms of my hands.  I added or removed clay from the ball as I felt I needed.  

Step 2:
Once the ball of clay is the size you need, press it into the mold making sure to get the clay into any crevices. I let the clay set for about 5 - 10 minutes to make removal from the mold a bit easier.

Step 3:
The mold created thick masks, just over 1/4" thick in spots, and took 3 full days to dry. 
After 1 day of drying - before trimming.
 Step 4: 
I trimmed the excess clay around the mask after 1 day of drying.  I wasn't sure how easy the clay would be to cut once it was completely dry, so I did it while it was still quite soft.  I just trimmed around the mask with basic scissors.
After trimming with scissors
Step 4:
I gently sanded the masks with 400 grit sandpaper to remove the rest of the excess.  Even fully cured, the clay is fairly soft, so sand with a very gentle hand.
beginning the sanding process
Step 5:
Apply sealant or Modge Podge.  I only used 1 coat of matte Modge Podge since these were going onto a plaque where they will not be handled much. If you are going for a high polish shine, definitely use more than one coat and sand between coats.

DIY: Silicone Molds

The brand silicone I used is Easy Mold Silicone Putty by Castin' Craft. This is a food safe silicone so you can use your molds for cookies or candy.
Easy Mold brand of Silicone Putty used to make the molds
Easy Mold
Step 1:
The package contains two components in which one is white and one is purple.  

The instructions in the package are very simple, but I'll make it really easy.  Take equal parts of each color and mix together until the color is uniform, without swirls. You have about 3 minutes to create the mold so have whatever you're going to use immediately available.
Middle of mixing components together.
I was using these, very expensive, plastic Phantom mask buttons I had purchased (if the buttons were inexpensive, I would have just bought a bunch of them).  The first project I was using the masks for I needed a quantity of 40.  I formed the silicone into a ball shape, then pressed one of the buttons into the silicone and waited for it to set as per the manufacturer's instructions (about 25 minutes). The instructions recommend leaving whatever your using to create the shape of the mold in the mold during storage.  I hadn't done that, and they worked just fine 2 years later.

Plastic button in Easy Mold brand silicone mold
Button in the silicone during the curing process.
I haven't used the silicone putty to make molds for edible items, and the manufacturer advises against using the mold for food items after using other materials in it.


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