Introduction: Make a Mold for Your Sculpt or 3D Print!

Picture of Make a Mold for Your Sculpt or 3D Print!

Hey All!

Thanks for visiting my instructable! Today we are going to learn how to make a 2 piece mold for your sculptures and 3d Prints. Once completed this mold will allow you to make exact copies of your sculptures and 3D prints in minutes! So Lets get to it!

Materials needed

  1. Some mixing sticks. Either the wide craft sticks or stir sticks from the paint sections work great. Cost: $3.00-$5.00
  2. Some latex gloves $5.00
  3. MoldMax 14 NV-trial size Cost $25.48
  4. Smoothcast 300 trial size Cost $25.96
  5. Release agent Cost $13.20
  6. modeling clay Or any non air drying clay that is softer and easier to work with. The cheaper you can find the better. Cost $3.57
  7. Gram scale Cost$5.00-$15.00
  8. Legos That’s right LEGOS! Cost between $10.00-$30.00
  9. 1 small block of sculpey III Cost $2.27
  10. Plastic cups Cost $3.00.
  11. Particle mask or Respirator Cost $5.00 to $30.00
  12. A permanent marker darker is better.
  13. Last but not least, your sculpture. Cost: priceless :)

And the total cost to replicate this product in a matter of minutes is...Around $130.00. BUT most of the materials above are reusable for the next several molds and depending on the size of your current mold, you will probably get more than one mold out of your trial sized kits. Not too shabby!

Most of the materials in this tutorial can be found here:

Common terms

Mold: This is the actual rubber you will be pouring around your object.

Cast: This is the final product that you'll pour in to and pull out of the mold. Typically either resin or plastics.

Positive: This is the actual sculpt or 3D print that you are making the mold of.

Viscosity: referring to the thickness of a liquid. Example: water has a low viscosity.

Step 1: Sculpt Your First Half!

Picture of Sculpt Your First Half!

Now we will sculpt the first half of the mold out of the non-airdrying modeling clay. Always try to envision which way the air is going to flow out of the mold. My mold will actually be flipped upside down (from this photo) when I'm pouring the resin in. This is what I call "subtractive thinking" and may hurt your brain at first. But hang in there, it's worth it!

Step 2: Place Your Sculpt in the Half

Picture of Place Your Sculpt in the Half

It's important to give a wide enough border all around your sculpt to make room for keys holes and to ensure your mold doesn't deform when pouring. Also, if you are molding a sculpture it's always a good idea to make sure that it's cooked (I use Super Sculpey or Sculpey Firm) so you don't deform it while you're sculpting the first half and building the mold around it.

Step 3: Fill in the Gaps Cont…..

Picture of Fill in the Gaps Cont…..

Press the clay up nice and snug to the sculpt because Moldmax 14NV has a low viscosity (which means it's really runny). So it's important to tightly press in all the clay around the seams so that the rubber won't escape when we pour in the first half.

Step 4: Add the Pour Spouts

Picture of Add the Pour Spouts

Sculpt your pour spouts out of the Sculpey III in a similar shape to a funnel so they are wider at the top and then taper down almost to a point. Then bake them in a conventional oven at 275 °F (130 °C) for 15 minutes per 1/4 in (6 mm) thickness. DO NOT MICROWAVE. Baking should be completed by an adult.

Step 5: Build the Outer Wall

Picture of Build the Outer Wall

We want the sculpt to be completely encapsulated in the rubber so we need to build the wall up past the sculpture a good amount. Also ensure those Legos are pushed together nice and tight!

Step 6: Adding Vents

Picture of Adding Vents

Vents should be added where you envision air bubbles collecting.

Step 7: Adding the KeyHoles

Picture of Adding the KeyHoles

We like hexagonal shapes. Anything that really helps to lock the two halves in place is a good idea!

Step 8: Spray on the Release Agent

Picture of Spray on the Release Agent

This release agent ensures that the mold won't adhere to any of the surfaces in the mold including the clay sculpt itself as well as the legos. We want everything to release from the mold easily later on so using more release agent is always better than less.

Step 9: The Mix Ratio 100/A to 10/B in Grams

Picture of The Mix Ratio 100/A to 10/B in Grams

Numbers are hard right? No worries all this aint too bad. The Mix ratio is A=100 to B=10 in grams so get out your trusty gram scale (be sure it's set to grams). To minimize rubber waste always try to mix less rubber as opposed to trying to mix the exact amount to be done in one pour. The rubber takes a minimum of 8 hours to set so you don't have to worry about it setting while your away mixing more rubber . You may have to go back and re-measure and mix several times over to get the right amount of rubber in the halves. I'm starting with 300/A and 30/B in grams.

Step 10: Mixing the Rubber Cont...

Picture of Mixing the Rubber Cont...

Make sure you mix it for a good long while as in improper mix will cause the rubber to take forever to set or won't set at all. Be safe and mix it for a good 2 to 3 minutes until a smooth consistency is reached.

Step 11: Pour Away!

Picture of Pour Away!

The higher you can pour from above the mold the less bubbles you will get as they will pop in the rubbers stream.

Step 12: Mix and Repeat

Picture of Mix and Repeat

Step 13: Let Dry for 10 Hours

Picture of Let Dry for 10 Hours

Let it dry for at least 10 hours. When the time is up, softly touch the top of the rubber to ensure it's solid before you proceed with the next step.

Step 14: Removal of Modeling Clay

Picture of Removal of Modeling Clay

Now that you've waited at least 10 hours for the rubber to set, It's time to first touch the rubber to ensure it's properly set up. If it's tacky then let it dry another few hours and try again. Next we'll flip the mold over to reveal the side with the clay and begin removing it. Peel slowly as to not remove your baked sculpture (positive). Sometimes its good to allow a lamp to shine on the clay to warm it up slightly for easier removal. Don't let it heat too much as it will stick to the mold and be a mess to remove!

Step 15: Cleaning the Mold

Picture of Cleaning the Mold

The rubber we've chosen to work with is so runny that some of it will have almost always bled through to our new clean half. When this happen it's important to peel it off and use a razor knife to keep your molds seams nice and clean. Next be sure to analyze ALL of the seam around your sculpt to ensure no more modeling clay is present! Double and triple check it for best results!

Step 16: Build Up Wall Again If Needed

Picture of Build Up Wall Again If Needed

When I sculpted my first half in the modeling clay I didn't make it thick enough overall. Lets build up the wall with another few layers of Legos to ensure we get the thickness in the second half of the mold we need. If I were smart I would have got it right the first time around :( No worries this is the solution!

Step 17: Don't Forget the Release Agent

Picture of Don't Forget the Release Agent

In my younger days (last month) I forgot to apply the release agent which incapsulated the sculpt within the mold with no means of releasing it....This was a sad and costly day! I wasted about $75.00 in mold material and costly hours in sculpting the figure itself! Learn from my mistake and DON'T do this! Give your mold a nice thick layer of release agent from ALL angles. You wont regret it ;)

Step 18: Mixing the Rubber Again

Picture of Mixing the Rubber Again

Second mix same as the first.100/A to 10/B mix ratio. Stir well and pour!

Step 19: Separate the Two Pieces

Picture of Separate the Two Pieces

Make sure you've waited at least 10 hours and then gently touch the surface to ensure it's dry. If tacky wait another few hours and check back. It may not come apart super easily but don't worry! As long as you used your release agent, it should separate with a good peel!

Step 20: Mold Clean Up

Picture of Mold Clean Up

Don't hesitate to take a razor knife to the mold to refine it but be careful for both your personal safety and the life of your mold is at stake! When cutting be methodical and patient. In this case I had to remove some rubber that bled over in front of my vents. You will mostly likely need to refine each mold before you can get great pours and it may take several pours to get there. Hang in there!

Step 21: Measuring and Mixing the Resin

Picture of Measuring and Mixing the Resin

Now time for the resin. Resin is easy to mix as it's a 1 to 1 ratio. In order to find the exact amount to pour into the mold you can do a water test. This is done by closing the mold and wrapping it as if you were going to do a pour, but then filling the mold with water. Once you've filled it all the way up you can pour the water out into a cup and measure it in grams. Once you've got your measurement just divide it by 2 and you've got your measurements for part A and part B. Back to the resin, once you've got the two parts combined in a cup the clock begins to tick. Be quick and thorough about mixing and then pour the resin into the spouts carefully. Avoid contact with hands and skin as the resin will heat up a lot in the setting process.

Step 22: Release the Resin Cast

Picture of Release the Resin Cast

After at least 15 minutes (I prefer 20) has passed, It's time to remove your cast. Take your time!

Step 23: You've Made It!!!

Picture of You've Made It!!!

What a beauty! Once you've removed your cast you can sand it and carve it to clean up any seams. Now you can make exact copies of your product in minutes! Congratulations!!!

Step 24: Examples and About Me

Picture of Examples and About Me

About me:

I am actually a 3D artist by trade and have spent a few years working in both the video game and film industries. During my time making characters for games I started to realize that there was a real desire to step away from the computer screen and do something truly 3D. So I drove to the nearest arts and crafts store and bought me some super sculpy modeling clay. Ever since I've been hooked! I have since been continuing my career as a 3D artist and selling over a hundred of my likeness sculptures and custom wedding cake toppers on the side. Although I love traditional sculpture I am well aware that times are changing and I have always wanted to get in to 3d printing to see all of my 3D models come to life. Thanks for playing!

To see more of my work head on over to:

To learn how to make wire armatures for sculpting head on over to my other instructable:


lauren.smith.359126 (author)2015-03-25

I am definitely getting my feet wet doing this...took FOREVER to get part of a sculpture done...not an expert. lol. But I am having fun doing it-I am making a sculpture for my nephew-we are military so always on the move, want him to have something other than pictures to remember her cousins by. I have always used colored sculpt so have never painted clay before. Do you use acrylic paint to paint your sculptures? yours looks so realistic, but some little stuff i tried to paint over the weekend came out really flat not a ton of depth to them :(

Hey Lauren, Glad to see you are going for it! The sculpting took forever for me as well initially but the speed will come I promise! I can get one of these toppers fully sculpted in about 6 to 8 hours currently (I've also made well over a hundred of them) but for now you just focus on quality and then you'll get faster and faster. I typically use acrylic paints because I'm not a fan of the smell of some of the enamels or lacquer based paints. But I've used them all. My preferred working clay is super Sculpey mixed with a small grey or black brick of sculpey III to get rid of the translucence to make fine detail work easier. I did find however, that the use of an airbrush helped take the quality of my painting up a knotch. I actually don't consider myself the best painter…. I have a friend who paints war hammer characters who does AMAZING work in a fraction of the time it takes me. He taught me a lot of techniques that helped me out like painting the light colored coat and then darkening the same color, watering it down a bit and then once the first coat has tried, applying the darker color and getting a soft cloth to wipe the darker color off the high points so that it only stays in the deeper details. I think this is called a "wash" technique and it helps a lot! Anyways, stick with it and definitely look at other peoples art for inspiration. You are on the right track!

maxattenborough (author)2015-02-27

Really well made and informative, you may well have saved me a fortune in little blunders, so massive thanks.

tysonvw (author)maxattenborough2015-02-27

You're very welcome! I have a cabinet at home full of molds that are pretty much unusable and at no small expense. Glad to help where I can.

TomG6 (author)2014-12-16

This is how an instructable should be. To the point, step by step, and truly instructive! Thank you for sharing knowledge and making the world a better place and using the power of this site to help people become more capable.

tysonvw (author)TomG62015-01-01

Thanks TomG6. It was a fun process to instructabize and I hope to make some more soon! Happy making!

etsur (author)2015-01-01

Cool. Exactly what TomG6 said.

tysonvw (author)etsur2015-01-01

Thanks you are too kind! Now go make a mold and tell me how it goes!

soderhjelm (author)2014-11-07

This can be the best instructabel on this app! Very nice! I have a question thou, how high temperatur does the mold manage to handle after its done?

I would like to use it to pour alu in it, do you think that will work?

Once more, really great instrutable!!!

tysonvw (author)soderhjelm2014-11-07

Thanks for the comment! I have never looked in to Alu but a quick search found that it's melting range is between 1080° to 1205°F and I'm guessing this mold rubber will not hold up to that temperature. But visit and have a look. I'd be very surprised if they didn't have a mold substance that was design for this application to make aluminum pours. Also there tech support is amazing so don't hesitate to give them a call. And no I don't receive a commission form them… Sadly….

HollyMcC (author)2014-10-31

Just amazing... Love the ones of you and your wife, very cute together! My husband and I have been told that alot, even 24 years later!
Good luck with your endeavors!
The tips you gave are so very helpful to us amateurs...Thank you again!

tysonvw (author)HollyMcC2014-11-01

Thanks HollyMcC! Best of luck to you as well!

amekdala (author)2014-10-11


kayakdiver (author)2014-09-30

It is so great that you share your talent and secrets on Instructables in such great detail - Thanks!. Love your work!

tysonvw (author)kayakdiver2014-10-04

Thankyou thankyou for your view and kind words!

lmjagiello (author)2014-10-03

Absolutely amazing!!! Thanks

tysonvw (author)lmjagiello2014-10-03

Thanks for viewing!

lmjagiello (author)2014-10-03

Absolutely amazing!!! Thanks

jsolterbeck (author)2014-10-02

Been into moldmaking since I got Dick Smith's book when I was 8. Thanks for the good tips for people (pour high, legos, there were many), this is what's missing from a lot of tuts on molds. And your work is very impressive, I'm gonna check out your site. Cheers -

tysonvw (author)jsolterbeck2014-10-02

Anything I can do to help jsolterbeck!!! Thanks for the kind words!

Edgar (author)2014-10-02

Great Instructable, great Artwork.

jessyratfink (author)2014-10-01

Absolutely amazing - never would have thought to use Lego :D

Favoriting this one for sure!

tysonvw (author)jessyratfink2014-10-02

Thanks jessyratfink! A friend of mine suggested it as it will always give you a perfect square shape and keeps things from deforming during the mold making process. Also it adds color and makes it a little more fun!

Ginny Antonic (author)2014-10-01

Excellent instructable - thanks!

tysonvw (author)Ginny Antonic2014-10-02

No problem thanks for stopping by!

jwgottabass (author)2014-10-01

The few times I've had the very process above explained to me, I've become lost in a round about circle in my head feeling there were way to many steps. But I now feel I have a good grasp on the process so thank you.

But, far more impressive are the examples of the figures you have done, they are beyond phenomenal. Thanks for taking the time to show and tell.

tysonvw (author)jwgottabass2014-10-01

I can totally empathize with you jwgottabass. A lot of money was wasted trying to figure mold making out on my own. Hopefully this will save some people from a few headaches and lost money money along the way. Thanks for the comment!

jwgottabass (author)tysonvw2014-10-01

Shoot if I had a dollar for every $10 I've wasted teaching myself things like this, or even $1 for every wasted hour, although I guess you can't really waste time when learning something, each painfully expensive and lengthy mistake taught me something. Mostly humility, lol.

circle_u (author)2014-09-30

You have some great skills! Thanks for the great instructable.

tysonvw (author)circle_u2014-10-01

No problem thanks for viewing!

stechi (author)2014-09-30

Very nice ible and the finished casts are excellent! Picked up some good ideas. Well done.

tysonvw (author)stechi2014-09-30

Thanks! I got lucky with this one and the initial cast turned out pretty good. Not always the case unfortunately. . .

RichR76 (author)2014-09-30

Spectacular instructable. Thank you

tysonvw (author)RichR762014-09-30


Jonathan.Suazo.Salinas (author)2014-09-30


de nada!

fishisteve (author)2014-09-30

Wow,Thanks for sharing.

tysonvw (author)fishisteve2014-09-30

No problem thanks for viewing!

raptor_demon (author)2014-09-29

awesome stuff, we recently took a class by Reynolds at our local hackerspace on the mold making process but this was a great addition, thanks for sharing.

tysonvw (author)raptor_demon2014-09-29

Thanks raptor_demon. I learned everything about mold making right from the Reynolds website. They are an amazing resource!

ngermany (author)2014-09-28

awesome. love all the pictures.

BadZombie (author)2014-09-27

great work I made a mold of my mask, but it was no were as nice as this.

tysonvw (author)BadZombie2014-09-27

Thanks! You should have seen my first few molds riverswamp! They made better doorstops than molds!

mamaangel (author)2014-09-27

Thanks for this tutorial, very well written and easy to understand.
Awesome figurines.

tysonvw (author)mamaangel2014-09-27

thanks mamaangel!

cheesie (author)2014-09-27

Awesome tutorial

tysonvw (author)cheesie2014-09-27

Thanks cheesie!

juliaRC (author)2014-09-27

Great tutorial!! Thanks!

tysonvw (author)juliaRC2014-09-27

No problem thanks for reading!

whirlpoolisfabulous (author)2014-09-26

Excellent!Ive been trying to figure this out for awhile.This seems very outright and professional.Thank you!

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More by tysonvw:Make a Mold for your sculpt or 3D print!Make an Armature for Sculpting!
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