Saturday, April 14, 2007

Casting Crouch

I sculpted a wittie bottie out of modeling clay and coated it with Vaseline to smooth out the surface as glass like as possible.

I mixed up a small batch of regular plaster of paris and made a mold in a paper cup. I sawed it in (nearly) half before it was all the way cured because I had second thoughts about making this a one-off pour mold from the bottom.

I banded the halves together, brushed in more Vaseline as a hopeful release agent (I read where If you're using Plaster of Paris no release agent is needed? mX) and encouraged the gummy Sculpey in along with a green bead at the center to act as "ink" in the bottle's finished form.

It dawned on me around dawn that rather than try to build up bottle shapes for props I could theoretically sculpt a bottle and cast it in translucent Liquid Sculpey (or other even more transparent poly resins, if I thought it worth going tox). I plan to bake this test up with some others in the big oven on Wednesday when no one else is around** Between trying to cook up the polymer at just the right temp so nasty chems aren't released and residue doesn't build up in my food oven, I'm actually thinking using a little two-part resin mixed at the window while wearing a respirator might be safer in the end?

From an informative tutorial from Karen and Ann Mitchell on using the product :

• Overheating polymer clays will result in blackening and the release of irritating gases including hydrogen chloride**. Use an oven thermometer and timer to assure that your creation is not overheated. • Polymer clay can be baked in a home oven, however many polymer clay enthusiasts use a separate toaster or convection oven dedicated to polymer clay baking. • Another option is to use a dedicated, inexpensive roaster pan (speckled enamelware) with a lid to bake clay inside your home oven. Another, even cheaper option is to take two aluminum foil baking pans: invert one over the other, and clothespin them shut. Voila, a baking container! • Liquid Sculpey has more of an odor when baking than solid Sculpey clays. Although polymer clay is not toxic, it is important to always bake clay in a well-ventilated area. • In thin layers Liquid Sculpey bakes to a translucent finish. TLS can be applied in layers and be re-baked after each layer.


  1. Hope that saw had a really thin blade!

    Now you're getting close to what I was planning for liquer bottles. You might be able to inject hotglue into the mold with the gluegun. Maybe paint white glue into each half, then stick them together and pour some more in?

  2. HI Mikeeee, nope, it was a regular mini hack but I'm so past caring about seams on this. I figure I can position the botts to face the camera without showing the gaping lines these'll have.

    I was thinking of hot glue too but I couldn't reckon that an adhesive like that would release, no matter what was put in. Maybe cornstarch but then the texture wouldn't be smooth enough to be reflective.

    Maybe a thickish skin of a clear gloss medium, or white glue as you say, in the mold first would do it. Although, it might peel afterwards from the heat, similar to Sven's latex on urethane.

    I'll make some more clay bottles and molds and try.


  3. Can plaster of Paris go in the oven?

    I bet you have a house Brimming to the roof full of Molds Now!


  4. Ah, this isn't just idle speculation on my part! From the Prop Builder's Molding and Casting Handbook:

    "Hot glue will not stick to a moist surface, so water can be used as a releasing agent. Submerge the mold momentarily in a bowl of water. One dipping should be enough to release two or three hot-glue castings."

    They used a plaster mold, filled each half with hot glue - it says there mau be s slight bit of steam as the hot glue hits the wet plaster, and it might make a few tiny bubbles, but not too bad, and they can be pressed out when the glue is starting to cool but is still soft.

    They used a one-piece open-face mold, so the castings are flat on the back, but it might work with a two-piecer. Or if nothing else, make flat-backed pieces and glue them together later.

    It says to wait about 5 minutes to pull each casting from the mold.

  5. Anonymous2:35 AM

    Wow. Shelley, Just catching up on my halfland fix, and what an eventful couple of weeks you guys have had.
    Glad you were not wisked away to Oz by that wind.

    Like your latest prop too, very pretty. Reminds me of the vase that sat on the top of the piano in Corpse Bride.

  6. cool guys....some good knowledge in this post!


  7. Ben, I think Plaster will survive a brief stay in the 300ยบ hotel, I'll report if not tho.

    Mike, thanks so much for that tip, I think that method of wetting the plaster mold, filling each half with non-tox hot glue and then sandwiching the halves around a color center (how many licks?) is the way to go on this.

    Phil, you rocked my world by saying that you stop by regularly! How thrilling, how cool is that?!

    I found a picture of Victor's vase that you mention, too true! Now I'll make some on purpose like that! xox

    Justin, I'm telling you! Blogs are better than bacon.

  8. Finally checked out your blog Shelley - terrific stuff! Can't wait to see the finished product of all this. I just thought I would mention this link to Jared Eberhardt's Flickr:
    Some interesting stills from the CSS vid that you might dig.

  9. Hey, thanks, Dan. One of those photos worked to add to the Cool Find post on the right. Right on.


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