Introduction: How to Make Artificial Fishing Bait for Little to No $

I will show you how to recycle a few common household items and make them into new eye-catching fishing lures.

I was thinking the other day about how much it costs to buy fishing lures, when I always lose or break them. I also thought it would be great if I could come up with a way to customize them somewhat and create a whole new, possibly better artificial bait. After some searching, I found that commercial molds and plastics are extremely costly. I was in dire need of an alternative. What I came up with works extremely well, and can be made for cheap using old lures for the plastic and a few recycled materials for the molds and injector.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

First, you need to gather your materials. I used mostly things lying around my house and garage, with the glue gun being the only thing I actually bought. There are essentially 2 parts to this instructable, the injector for the heated plastic, and the actual mold.

Step 2: Materials for Building the Plastic Injector

To build the injector, which pushes the plastic into the mold, you will need to gather the following:
1. A hot melt glue gun. I got this from Dollar General Store for $3.00, and was the only thing I actually had to buy.
2. A small piece of copper pipe which acts as a plunger to push the plastic into the mold.
3. A cap from a plastic soda bottle. It is fastened onto the pipe to make it more comfortable to push, and to protect your hand from heat.
4. Car body putty (Bondo). I use this to hold the bottle cap to the pipe. I will also use it later for the molds.
5. Epoxy putty, you know, the stuff Bill Mays advertises on TV to hold stuff. This becomes the tip of the plunger and helps seal inside the glue gun element.
6. Vice grips to hold the heating element.

Tools: Hacksaw and Philips screwdriver

Step 3: Materials for Making the Molds of Your Baits

You will also need a few odds and ends to make your molds. After doing some research, I found most people in the bait making circle were using a couple of different methods for making their molds. They used Plaster of Paris and RTV silicone. I tried Plaster of Paris and had issues getting it apart, and the setup time is a little slow. I didnt try the RTV silicone, because it costs about $30 a gallon, which is way out of my price range. What I finally settled on that works great in my opinion is Bondo, for car bodywork. So, with that being said, here are the items that you will need to make molds of some existing lures.

1. The artificial lure you want to copy. This can be about any lure, but the stretchy worms work best in my opinion. If youre a fisherman, look in the tackle box.
2. Car putty, I had some lying around from a previous restoration. Wal-mart also sells it for a reasonable price.
3. Some container to pour the mold into. I used a TV dinner tray from the night before. It is almost perfect depth and length to pour a mold of a worm bait.
4. Vaseline, I found some in my medicine cabinet. Use this to put on your mold halves and pieces while you are pouring to keep them from sticking.
5. Something for a vent so the plastic can fill the mold. I used a stir stick I found in the cabinet. About any small plastic stick will work.
6. Small beads or marbles. These we will use as references so the two mold halves will line up. Virtually anything will work in a pinch. I used beads.
7. Something to make a pour hole in the mold. I used the cap from window chalk, and it worked perfect. Use your imagination. I am sure you have some type of trash which will work great.
8. Something to mix the putty on and with. I used a piece of cardboard box. And plastic spoon.
9. A c clamp for holding the two parts of the mold together.

Step 4: Materials for the Actual Baits

We also need some actual plastic to pour into the mold, which becomes the lure itself. I found that the commercial plastic was extremely expensive, so I just cut up some old, broken lures in my tackle box and made them into cool, recycled baits. Scissors will work fine to cut them.

Step 5: Removing the Heating Element

Okay, we will start by making the plastic injector. Start by taking apart your glue gun. This is done by removing the screws on the side of the case with a screwdriver, and pulling the two halves of the case apart. Inside you will see basically two parts, the part which pushes the glue stick into the heating element, and the heating element itself. All we want is the heating element. It is the piece at the tip of the gun, and has red rubber pieces at either end. Keep the rubber piece toward the back of the gun on the element, but remove the one on the tip. We wont use this. The rest of the gun can be used later in your own project, possibly an evil ray gun or something.

Step 6: Making the Plunger

So, you have your heating element. Now youre going to make the plunger for it. This is what you will push down to force the plastic into your mold. Get the copper pipe and the epoxy putty. This doesnt require much putty. A ball about the size of a marble works fine. Mix the putty well, as according to directions. Next, place this on the tip of the copper pipe, and form it onto the pipe so that it kind of looks like the plunger of a syringe, and is slightly bigger than the hole on the end of the heating element. After you do that, gently push the pipe, putty end first, into the element so that it forms the putty to a tight fit inside the element. Pull the pipe back out and let the putty harden on the end.

Step 7: Making a Handle for the Plunger

Now get your bottle cap and a small amount of body putty, enough to fill the cap. Use a piece of cardboard, and put your putty onto it. Squeeze a little hardener onto the cardboard (it doesnt take much) and mix it thoroughly. After it is mixed well, spoon it into the cap, and press the end of the copper pipe that doesnt have the epoxy on it into the middle of the cap. This creates somewhat of a handle to push down and pull up the plunger we just made. After this hardens, which wont take long, depending on how much catalyst was used; your injector is basically finished.

Step 8: Finishing the Injector

I clamped a pair of vice grips onto the part of the element that the wires go into, so I would have a convenient handle to use. Now you have your completed plastic injector for a whole lot less cost than a commercial one.

Step 9: Start Making the Mold

Next, you are going to pour your mold for the plastic to go into. I found that using the car putty works well, and cures fast.

Step 10: Pouring the Bottom Half of the Mold

First get your TV dinner tray, and thoroughly rub the inside down with Vaseline. This keeps the putty from sticking to the tray. Now mix a decent amount of the putty to fill half of that tray. After it is mixed well, spoon it into the tray and smooth it out a little so that it is level and smooth.

Step 11: Placing the Master Bait, Vent Tubes, and Injector Hole

Next get the bait you are going to clone and rub it down with the Vaseline as well. Place it into the putty until it is sunk halfway into the putty. Usually the baits already have seams where they were poured in the factory, so that makes a convenient half-mark. We also need to make a vent so that the plastic will make it all the way through the bait, and we will have no bubbles or dents when the lure is done. This is solved by placing a small stick, I used a stir stick, into the putty, sinking it halfway and touching one end of it to one end of the worm and the other end of the stick to the outside of the tray. Rub this down with Vaseline as well. We also need a hole to inject the plastic into. I used the cap from window chalk. It is roughly funnel shaped, and is big enough to allow the end of the heating element to go inside. Take this and again, rub it down with Vaseline, and press it halfway into putty on the opposite side of the lure as the stick. Make sure it is touching the end of the lure. Now take the marbles or beads and press them halfway into the putty to use as reference points when the two halves of the mold are put together. All we do now is wait for the putty to harden. This will take around 30 minutes. Go watch some TV, eat a sandwhich, whatever.

Step 12: Pouring the Top Half of the Mold

After the putty has hardened, remove the marbles or beads you used as reference points and smear the whole top of the mold down with Vaseline. Try to get it into every crevice, otherwise the two halves of the mold will stick together. Now mix up about the same amount of putty, enough to fill the rest of the tray. Pour this over the half of the mold you just poured, and let it harden. Again, watch more TV, eat another sandwich, whatever.

Step 13: Opening the Mold and Removing the Pieces

Now that your putty is hard remove the mold from the tray and pry the two pieces apart. They should be easy to get apart with the help of a knife. Once they are apart, remove everything that we used to make it, including the lure, leaving just the two pieces of hardened putty. Now we have a two-part mold to make a 1-1 replica of your lure. Awesome, huh?

Step 14: Making the Baits

Now comes the fun part!!! Making the baits. Get your plastic ready. I used scrap baits, but you can also use many different kinds of sort plastics for this. I also found some clear plastic from a company who sent me a 3lb sample free. With this plastic I can color with crayons. Cut up your baits into small enough pieces to fit into the injector. You can achieve many cool designs using different colored baits.

Step 15: Preparing to Inject the Plastic

Get your two pieces of mold and put them together. Place the C clamp on them and screw it down so that it will hold them tight. Plug in the injector and let it heat up. Next, Place the cut up plastic into the injector; it works well to poke them in with a toothpick or the end of the plunger. Once you have the injector full, put the plunger into it and put it into the hole of the mold.

Step 16: Injecting the Plastic and Removing the Lure

Push down on the plunger until it stops, pushing the melted plastic into the mold. Some plastic will probably come out of the vent hole at the bottom of the mold, but we can reuse it later. After the mold cavity is full of plastic, remove the injector and set it aside, being careful not to burn anything. Now unscrew the c clamp. Pull apart the two halves of the mold, and VIOLA!!! It may need a little trimming, but otherwise we have a perfect replica of the lure!

Step 17: Other Ideas

So there you are, now you can replicate your own fishing lures for very little money, using some common recycled materials. This is a very addictive and rewarding hobby. You can also mold your own designs and use other materials. This is not limited to lures; it could be used with many materials and molds. Wax may work as well. Next time you find all your lures are old and possibly torn up, before you go out and spend money on more at Wal-Mart, just look around your house and recycle some old ones to fish with!

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