Introduction: Glycerin and Brass Material Study

It's time to explore materials! In this instructable, I show you how to build a 1.5" X 3" X 6" block using glycerin and brass tubing. Originally, I attempted to use silicon and brass so instructions for creating a version using silicon are also included.

You Will Need:

  • Foam core (or an equally sturdy material)
  • Brass tubing (or other tubing)
  • Bandsaw
  • Metal ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • Water
  • Blue dish-soap (any brand seems to work)
  • 100% silicon (do not buy quick set silicone, you need 100% silicone"
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Caulking gun
  • Clear glycerin soap
  • Packing tape

Now get started!

Step 1: Cut Your Metal Tubing

For this iteration I'm using brass tubing of varying diameters. However, you could use any material. (e.g. aluminum, acrylic, bronze, plastic straws). The form I'm creating will be 1.5" X 3" X 6" and I intend for the brass tubes to run the full length of the longitudinal side. For this reason, I used a metal-working bandsaw to cut my pieces to 6".

Step 2: Prepare Your Mold

Prepare the mold you will pour glycerin into. Your mold can be any shape. Once again, I am creating a 1.5" X 3" X 6" rectangular box so I cut according to these dimensions. I used black foam core and cut clean edges using a metal ruler and exacto knife. I covered the pieces in packing tape so that my mold would be easy to take apart. I glued the individual pieces together using hot glue to make sure the mold was water tight. I only want to pour glycerin in some places of the rectangle. So, once I had formed the box, I cut additional pieces to segment off shapes within the form.

Note: Make sure to account for the thickness of your material. Foam core was 1 cm. thick so I added 1 cm. to some of my measurements in order to get accurate dimensions.

Step 3: Pour Your Glycerin (Or Silicon)

At this step my directions diverge. However, the concept of pouring a material into your mold is the same. If using glycerin, refer to #1. If using silicon, refer to #2.

1) Melt your glycerin soap in a microwave safe bowl until the solid chunks turn liquid. This will take roughly 1 minute depending on how much you are trying to melt. Melt enough to completing fill your mold. Glycerin will harden once it cools in approximately 15 minutes.

2) I had never worked with silicon prior to this project. I learned everything I needed to know from a great instructable tilted: "World's Easiest Silicon Mold." You can find it and follow the steps here:

Note: I follow the same process to make the silicon as described in the instructable above. However, in this instructable, I pour the silicon into a segment of the block. In this case, the silicon is the final material rather than a mold.

Further, it will be hard to "pour" the silicon into a segmented part of your block. Instead, "squish" it into the mold making sure to eliminate air pockets.

Step 4: Remove Your Glycerin (or Silicon) From the Mold

Carefully peel apart your foam core mold to remove the now cured glycerin or silicon pieces. If you used packing tape to cover the mold this process should be fairly easy. However, you can use an exacto knife to (carefully) break apart the mold.

Step 5: Pierce Your Glycerin (or Silicon) Segments

Using your brass tubing, carefully pierce the glycerin or silicon. You can form a pattern with the tubing or leave the design random, the choice is up to you! I thoughtfully distributing the tubing throughout the material until I was happy with the result.

Note: The more you handle your material the weaker it will become. Make sure to be gentle and take your time at this step to not break your glycerin or silicon.

Step 6: And Voila!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this instructable of how to mold and work with glycerin, silicon, and brass. I’d love to see what you did! Please share your creation with me!

I have another instructable applying the same design principles but using different materials. The process involves jello and plastic straws rather than glycerin, silicon and brass tubing. Check it out here: