Together with three other art students, I was challenged to develop a new kind of material. Together we experimented with silicone rubber and we decided to use this material as a starting point. After a lot of experiments we discovered that mixing silicone rubber with sawdust made the silicone rubber much more firmer. And, the sawdust gave the silicone rubber a wooden look and feel. We decided to create a set of tableware with this material.
The set that we developed looks like it was made from wood. The silicone rubber enables the set to be much easier to wash and to store. The set is also unbreakable and water resistant.
In this Instructable I will show which steps we took to create and apply the 'Wood Silicone'. It's so easy to make and it has a variety of possibilities! Feel free to experiment with this material yourself and keep me posted about your results!
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Step 1: Collect and Sieve the Sawdust
The sawdust you are going to mix with the silicone rubber has to be very refined. That's why we decided to sieve the dust we found in the dust extraction system of the wood workshop.
You can experiment with sawdust from different kinds of wood, which will result in different kinds of colors.
Step 2: Mix the Silicone Rubber
Silicone rubber always comes with a hardener. In order to use and apply the rubber, you have to mix the two components. We had to maintain the ratio 1 silicone rubber to 10 hardener, but the proportions always depend on the type and brand of silicone rubber. I advise you to read the description of the rubber or to consult an expert.
Another possibility is to use Bison Kit. This is a ready to use silicon rubber, so you don't have to worry about mixing, proportions and hardeners. We experimented with Bison Kit in combination with sawdust, and it worked pretty well. The consistency differs from the silicone rubber we used, Bison Kit is a bit thicker. So mixing it with the sawdust will be more difficult.
Step 3: Mix Everything Together
Now the fun part begins; mixing the silicone rubber with the sawdust!
Collect all the sawdust in a big bucket, so you have a nice work space. You have to mix the silicone rubber with the sawdust until it's fully saturated. You know that the silicone rubber is saturated when it doesn't takes up sawdust anymore.
Keep adding tiny bits of sawdust to the silicone rubber. Once the silicone rubber has become a big lump lump, you can take it out of its bowl and knead it in your hands. Keep adding sawdust until it's fully saturated. Don't add more sawdust when pieces silicone rubber and sawdust are falling apart, it has to stay a little sticky.
Step 4: Grease Your Molds
Choose a mold you want to use for the wood silicone. We used different molds to see what would work and what wouldn't work.
To make sure that you can easily remove the 'Wood Silicon' from the mold when the material is dry, you should first grease your mold.
We used special mold grease from the silicone workshop.
Step 5: Molding the Wood Silicon
Once your molds are greased, you can start claying and molding. Press small bits of wood silicone against the mold. The material is sticky, so it can stick to your gloves. Covering your gloves with some sawdust or grease can help to prevent this.
Step 6: Experiment!
The best thing about this material is that you can experiment a lot with it. Try different kinds of sawdust, silicon rubber and molds.
The experiments shown in the pictures above are our experiments that were not entirely successful. Some of them didn't survive it to be removed from the mold or weren't the shapes we were looking for. But we learned a lot from these experiments...
Step 7: The End Result
...and after that we found the right shapes and made a set of tableware we can actually use!
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