Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making a multi mold for samples

Our samples are a couple of years old so we decided to make a new gang mold of samples. I thought you might enjoy seeing the steps involved in making a mold that is basically an ice cube tray with small sculptures at the bottom. 


Collection of baked, molded parts.
Right triangle.
Thin strips of clay for separators.

 A sheet of clay 5 by 10.25 inches is rolled onto an appropriate board. The board was first covered with white glue and allowed to dry so that the clay would 'grab' the surface. 

Horizontal lines are scribed in the sheet 1.25 inches apart. 

Vertical lines are next scribed that are 1.189 inches apart. 

The board will produce 32 equally sized sample molds. 

 Each molded part is sanded to smooth the back of each molded part. 

Shown is sanding screen. It lets the dust from the sanding drop away from the item sanded.  

A bit of liquid clay is brushed onto the back of each sanded piece and pressed into place. 

The two parts shown have the liquid clay brushed onto the backs. These two tiny parts will both go in the same square. 

Three squares are completed. Only 29 more to go!

One complete vertical strip is complete. 

The horizontal short strips will now be added. 

There will be two lengths of strips. 

One length for the shorter strip. 

One length for the longer strip.

This handy tool is for cutting miniature lumber, making picture frames, door frames etc for doll houses. 

It came in great for cutting the strips. The bright red lines mark the two different lengths.

The first strip to go into the grid will be the shorter of the two. 

A grove is cut between the two parts the same thickness as the strip. 

The strip is slipped into the grove up to the horizontal line.

The first row now has all three of the separators inserted. The outside of the sheet of clay will be surrounded by a box so no strips are added to the outside. 
 The vertical strips, the longer of the strips are inserted next.  

This makes tiny boxes around the four finished boxes. When they are all in, the next row of molded parts are added and a cross strip under each.

The cross strip gets a drop of super glue on it to secure the vertical strips and strengthen the grid work.


Shown left is the tool used to create the grove. Where another cross strip will go.

From now on, a molded part will be secured to the clay base. Then the cross strip beneath it. 

When all three strips are in the four vertical strips will be inserted. 

Then it starts all over again until 32 small molded items are ready to be molded. 

Shown, another molded part is added. 

This will continue until the entire sheet is completed. Shown to the right are some of the existing sample molds. The turtle is a favorite so it was repeated as will the dragonfly.

 Above: Packaged samples for Polymer Clay and Metal Clay retreat goody bags (shown front and back).  If you are a retreat director and would like our samples please contact us from our website Best Flexible Molds.

Thank you for visiting my blog!
Penni Jo Couch

Designer, sculptor, creator of Best Flexible Molds

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jewel Tone Egyptian Key Chain Fob Instructions

 This is a fun project to create and the key ring is easy to find in my purse.These instructions are for polymer clay but this mold would make fabulous silver or other metal charms as this mold works well with metal clay.

Materials for this project:
Flexible Art Mold PJ044 Egyptian Symbols I - Scarabs.
• Polymer clay: Premo Sculpey Accents Blue Glitter, Ivory and small pieces of Brown and Black. Be sure to use strong clay for this project.
• Water mister for polymer clay release.
• One Large key holder split ring. One small split ring.
• Beads: two 8 mm blue and one 6mm, textured metallic glass beads; two 4mm 24K gold plated metal beads; one 7mm drum bead. One crimp bead, one crimp cover and one 10/0 gold glass seed bead.
• Stringing wire: about 16 to 18 inches of Bead-a-Lon 7 strand beading wire .012 or heavier.
• Tools: jewelry tools like crimper tool, and small pliers.
• Mica Powder: PearlEx Aztec Gold, Spring Green. Optional: Metallic paint: Gold and Green or your choice of colors.
• Dust mask for use with mica powders.
• Brushes for varnish, mica powders and if needed, for paint.
• Straight, thin wire like 18 or 20 gauge wire or bead pin/wire for use in step9.
• Small oven safe bowl, corn starch OR baking powder.
• Varnish recommended by the manufacturer of the clay.
• Optional: Pasta machine for conditioning clay. Egyptian rubber stamps.

 Start by mixing a small amount of black into the glittery blue clay to darken it. 

 Mold the Cat, the small scarab in flight and the smallest scarab as shown. 

 You can also use scrap clay that has been mixed to a solid color gray. 

Use the green mica powder for the eyes of the cat and the small scarab. 

Mica powder will seal the clay so I put the green on first so it would stick. If the gold goes on first it may seal the eyes and the green would not stick.
 Liberally dust the cat with gold mica powder. 

If you are sensitive to dust, wear a dust mask.

Remove any excess gold powder.  (wear a mask if needed)
Shape some of the darkened blue glittery clay into a tear drop as shown. 

Flatten it front and back.

Put a rod all the way through it.

Before putting the molded parts onto the teardrop, add a bit of liquid clay to secure the molded parts.

Gently press the cat and tiny scarab onto one side of the teardrop shape.

This is a view of the side of the teardrop shape with the cat and scarab in place.

 Secured cat and scarab.

The small scarab in flight was also dusted with gold mica powder and attached to the back of the teardrop shape. 

The teardrop with the molded parts is ready to bake. 

Put the teardrop shape into a bowl of baking powder or cornstarch. This will allow it to bake without distorting the molded parts. 
 Mold the stylized flower. Nudge all of the clay into the opening in the mold as shown.

Press a thin rod into the center of the flower from top to bottom. 

This rod will form the channel for the flower 'charm'. 

Do it again, make a second stylized flower, make the channel down the center, top to bottom. 

Put one flower against the rod, pick up the other flower with the channel and press it gently onto the rod to form a double sided charm. 

Gently seal the edges with a Peej Pick or smoothed toothpick, hiding the seams. 

Dust the flower with gold and the sepals with green. 

Make some tiny matching beads. 

Put all the pieces in the bowl and bake following the manufacturer's instructions. Since the main piece is so large, you will need to bake it longer than the small parts. 

Remove the small parts after about 35 minutes. 

Allow the large part to continue to bake, about 30 minutes for each 1/4 inch thickness.
 Optional: you can use folded card stock if desired.

After the parts cure, you may varnish the parts with a polymer clay friendly varnish if desired. 

Thread a tiny bead onto the center of the beading wire. 

Thread both ends through one of the small beads you made to match the larger piece.

This will be the 'knot' at the end of the doubled wire that will go through all of the parts.

Thread the doubled wire through the flower charm, blue bead, gold tone barrel bead, blue bead, small gold tone bead, large teardrop shape, small gold tone bead, blue bead and then the small split ring. 
Shown left: tiny crimp bead, small split ring, crimp cover, crimper tool and large split ring. 

 After the top blue bead, thread the crimper bead onto the wires.

Then put the wires through the small split ring as shown.
 Pull the wires through the split ring and then back into the crimp bead and through the blue bead as shown.

Pull it very tightly on the small split ring to tighten the wires so that all the parts  are snug on the wires.

Note the wires are snug and the crimp bead is ready to crimp. 

You can pinch the crimp bead with pliers but I find the crimping tool works very well for me.

Noted the pinched bead that is grabbing the wire tightly. 

When you are certain that the wires are tight on the crimp, cut away the excess wires.

The instructions to make this project comes with the mold but are printed in black and white. 

You can find this mold on our website 

 These are the parts from the mold. They were molded in black and the jewel tone colors were created using mica powders. 

There is also a ring band in the mold. Each package comes with a ring sizer.

When using metal clay, follow the manufacturer's instructions for sizing. Some rings must be cut two sizes larger to fire to the right size.

Here is an idea of how the parts may be used in polymer clay to make a pendant with dangles.

The molded parts could be used to embellish photo frames, jewelry, napkin rings, etc. 

All the sculpted designs are originals by
Penni Jo Couch