Hey everyone, I'm back to writing these! Back again is also Maggie Bennett from the 105th! This time she was showing us how to make resin prop weapons. They look amazingly good, but they're non metal and can be made to look like almost any material. One thing that I'm usually asked when I work a convention or am showing off ways to make interesting items is, "I don't really want to take up wood working, but I want to make this really awesome thing! How would I do that?" This is one of those ways. Props made from a mold are much easier to manage and re-make if they're lost or broken. So, you won't lose that $1000 prop you bought to complete your Daedric armor for a model shoot, and you can walk around looking like you waltzed out of Skyrim.
It is possible to make the mold from scratch, but that takes a lot more skill than I have. It's much easier to carve out a master prop and make the mold from that. In this case? A Daedric dagger.
To cast pieces, you will need:
Original Piece You Want to Cast ($10-30 depending on materials)
Smooth Cast-On 325 Kit ($25 on Amazon)
Anything you want to add to the Resin for color (food dye, paint, etc)
Step 1: Make the Original Prop
Find your inspiration! Could be a knife from your favorite Rogue. Could be Cloud's gigantic buster sword. Could be Mjolnir. Could be a pendant. You name it, the limit is your imagination.
Foam or clay are great materials to start with. They're easy to cut and cheap to buy. You can also take something that's pretty close to what you're looking for, and add clay to it to get the exact shape you want.
Cut, scrape, sand, fuss over your master prop until you get where you want to be, then you're ready for the next part.
Step 2: Use Smooth-On Mold Making Rubber to Make the Mold
Hooray, prototype! Coat it with oil or something that isn't conducive to sticking. Talcum powder, petroleum jelly, baby oil, etc. Use something that won't melt your original, but will also not let it stick to the mold.
Depending on how large, small or intricate the piece is you could coat the original in the rubber from the kit, or if it really needs to be stable, build a box for it to sit in so that the edges don't soften. A wooden box was used for the mold of the dagger. Keep in mind, molds like that need a top half and a bottom half so that they can break apart and get the prop out from between them. You tend to do this by making one half first, coating the top of the mold and original with talcum powder and then build the second half on top of that. That way they peel apart smoothly.
More involved people make notches that will match the parts of the mold so they don't move. You can use little wooden dowels or pretty much anything that creates a semi-locking feature.
After that's done, remove the original and we can get to making the replica!
Step 3: Mix the Resin
Once you have your mold, in whatever form it is, coat it with cooking oil. The spray on stuff tends to work pretty well. Resin heats as it hardens, so you need something that won't cook off easily.
Keep in mind, gloves are good for this part. Use something that's thick, like nitrile gloves. They're a bit more durable than latex and less allergic responses and it tends not to mix with the materials used.
Kits for resin tend to have a part A and a part B, mix them together and you get resin. Wonderful concept. Give them a 1:1 ratio or whatever the ratio your product needs. Mix it all together in a disposable cup of sufficient size. Add any coloring you want to use, this kit came with "Statuary bronze" and is what we ended up using. Turned out wonderfully.
Pour the concoction into the mold and let it sit for some time. Some resins harden within an hour, some are six hours, a good bet is to wait 24 hours for it to fully cure. Leave it somewhere well-ventilated and semi-warm. Room temperature works. Overnight in a bathroom with the ceiling vent going is a pretty safe bet if you don't want to leave it outside.
Step 4: Remove Your New Prop Weapon
After you've anxiously waited for your prop to finish setting, you can remove it and look upon its majesty. Likely you'll need to finish up some of the edges where resin pooled or leaked, but touching up is pretty easy.
If you want to go one step further, you can also add other coloring to it. Airbrushing if you have access, or spray paint if you're looking for something quick and dirty. There's quite a variety of metallic paints out there, and when mixed with the right textured paint, you can make props look like anything from cold iron to blackened stone to polished bronze.
For that part, you can consult a local hardware store or airbrush artist. Depending on who you ask, they could offer some great hints because it's always nice to be asked something other than "What color would go well with my drapes?" or "What color should my door be to match this new house color?"
Have fun and I'll see you next time!