Introduction: I Made a Soulstone From FFXIV ,and So Can You.
In the world of Final Fantasy XIV a soul-stone allows the use of power heretofore unknown. You can show your dedication to these lost arts by wearing your own wherever you go!
Step 1: Reference Picture
Welcome to my first tutorial on making. This was a learning experience for me ,and I'm happy to pass the knowledge on. To start we will need a good reference picture of what we want our end product to look like. In the world of Eorzea I play a dark knight the majority of the time. Thus have i chosen to make a soulstone for the job. That being said you could make a soulstone for any job you like. All you need is a good reference to get started.
Step 2: 3D Modeling
Originally I set out to 3D model a pendant , but when I realized on closer inspection the stone is translucent I decided to use my model as a blank. Using any free modeling software you can paste you reference down , and use the draw line/3 point arc command to copy its outer face. After this use the extrude tool to raise the face to the desired height. The chamfer command is now used to create the facet on all sides. Because I intend to wear this piece i chose to use the fillet command on the upper and lower edges to rid it of any sharp edges. Use the create cylinder command to make a hole for your chain if you plan to make a pendant or charm. Next is a fork in the road decision. In the picture I have traced the job symbol and extrude cut the model with it to leave an impression of it; however I later decided to embed the symbol inside a flat stone. At this point we are ready to 3D print.
If you are not comfortable modeling , or do not have access to a printer you can also make the blank using clay or other sculpt-able mediums.
Step 3: Blank Preparation
I used a 3D printed facsimile to make my mold so mileage may vary if you are using clay or other material. Post printing is a simple ,but drawn out task of finish sanding to remove any imperfections. I hate sanding plastic so I chose to wait and sand the casting instead. I did however take an exact-o knife to the model clearing any burs off the faces. When this is done you are ready to move to casting.
Step 4: Making the Mold
Mold making is unbelievably easy ,but can also be messy. Be sure to have some paper towels or throw away old rags you don't mind messing up ,and use a mask or well ventilated area for your work.
I used Smooth On OOMOO30 liquid rubber to make my mold. The trial size is far more than you need for the entire project. To start take you prepared model and place it on a nonstick parchment paper or cardboard. Next place cardboard or other disposable rigid material around the model to form a box. A heavy duty cardboard roll like packing wrap is shipped on works great if you have access to such things. Glue and or tape the walls together to make the box then repeat with your surface piece. This will ensure our rubber does not escape when we pour it over our blank. Read the safety label in its entirety then mix the rubber according to the instructions on the box. Pour over your blank slowly to avoid air pocketing. Let the mold set up per instructions on the box. After the mold has set carefully remove the outer box if you plan to reuse it then gently de-mold your blank by peeling it free. Now we are ready to cast our stone.
Step 5: Epoxy Casting
After having conquered the mold making process you will find the casting to be more of the same if not easier and smellier. If you find yourself sensitive to chemical odor you may want to wear a mask , and regardless make sure to use a well ventilated area. I used easy cast crystal clear epoxy ,and castin' craft red transparent dye for my pendant. They sell mixing containers for this ,but I suggest buying a Snack Pack pudding from the store as it's cups are perfect for our uses. Clean your mix containers and dry thoroughly. Read the warning label completely before proceeding. Mix epoxy as instructed by the product box as it may vary with branding and type. Add colorant one drop at a time until desired color is achieved. Keep in mind that models like ours with varied thickness will be darker in appearance where they are thicker. Once the dye is incorporated pour slowly into your prepared mold. The mold will fill to the brim ,but do not worry about slight over filling as this can be easily trimmed later on. If you chose to embed the job symbol go ahead and drop the prepared piece into the epoxy , and push it with a tooth pick to the bottom. Allow a few seconds for bubbles to surface then take a flame close to the surface to pop them; blowing with a straw may also help dislodge bubbles stuck at the bottom. Once you are content with the lack of bubbles ,and the placement of the job symbol (if you chose to embed it) place a container upside down over the mold to protect from dust. Let set up per instructions then de-mold. Congratulations depending on how clean your blank was you're almost done.
Step 6: Finish Work
Sanding can be dangerous to your respiratory system , and eyes so wear a mask and glasses just to be safe. Sanding is a piece of cake with epoxy. You will want to treat this epoxy like a gemstone i.e. sand it wet and rinse after each step to ensure no cross contamination of grits. Start with a low number sandpaper such as a 400, then move through 600, 800, 1200, and finally 1600 to get an ultra smooth finish. Once you have completed all pertinent sanding you will note the piece is slightly occluded. This is normal as we intend to put a glaze on our finished piece regardless to protect the epoxy from color change over time. I used Krylon triple thick clear glaze to coat the front ,and then the back. The glaze step must be preformed outdoors , and a mask is suggested. Take a medium size box ,and suspend your stone inside via fishing line or wire. This is your spray box to protect other surfaces from getting coated unintentionally. Give it a wet coat wait about 5-10 minutes and reapply. Let set up for the maximum time stated by your product of choice; the last thing you want is finger prints on your hard work. After it has cured properly affix to a chain ,or necklace of your choice and enjoy.
P.S. Don't be like me and decide to make a custom necklace out of 14 gauge wire. You will hate yourself long before you have finished.