Intro: FAST Polymer Clay Push Mold Window Art
Here in Maine the craft show circuit gets rolling when the weather starts to warm. I made multiple polymer clay casts in my ComposiMold and dedicated this project to all my fellow crafters. This project is meant to demonstrate just how quickly you can bulk up your inventory. I made 6 push mold casts in under 10 minutes. The baking and the actual beading takes some more time too but the star clay pendant is the easiest part to make on these fun window, sun porch, or garden decorations.
20 oz. of ComposiMold-LT or PowerMold
(PowerMold is stiffer and recommened for the Push Mold Technique.)
Polymer Clay (I used Sculpey brand)
A decal of your choice to use as your master part
An Oven and metal baking pan to bake the clay
Miscellaneous beads and wire
1. Prepare your master part by securing it the the bottom of a heat safe mold box. I used hot glue to ensure my piece wouldn't float and chose a tupperware lid that was deep enough as my mold box. (You can also use tin foil as a mold box and create any shape you want.) As a precaution I also sprayed my master part with a shellac because it is made of a wood. I didn't want any trapped air in the decal to escape into my mold and cause bubbles.
2. Melt the ComposiMold or PowerMold in the microwave or double boiler as per product instructions.
3. Spray your master part with mold release and then with Bubble Buster. I used a silicone Mold Release which is one of my favorites for non-food items. The Bubble Buster can be applied right over the top of the Mold Release.
4. Pour your melted ComposiMold or PowerMold into the lowest surface of the mold box and let it rise up over the master part. This will lift and carry away any bubbles that may be in the melted ComposiMold or PowerMold.
5. Let the mold solidify back to it's original consistency.
6. Remove your master part and clean up any rough edges with a sharp exacto blade.
7. Work the polymer clay in your hands until it is soft and pliable. This may take some elbow grease as it comes out of the package fairly hard.
8. When I preform the push-mold technique I sometimes roll a ball in my hands and then press the ball into the mold, pushing the ball flat and into the edges as I go. I may also start with a shape that's similar to the final casted shape. In this case I would make a pancake and lay it into the mold. Then I would add pressure to be sure it was filling all the details.
(In a more complex shape you would want to be sure that the deepest crevices where filled with clay first. This will ensure that the final cast reflects all the details of your mold.)
9. Bend the mold away from your newly pressed cast and let the cast simply fall out of the mold. Try not to warp the cast by forcing it out or bending the mold too much. Take your time on this step and you will have less clean up once the cast is completely de-molded.
10. Use a toothpick or similar tool to poke a hole through the clay casting. You will thread your wire through this hole when you create your hanging art pieces later.
11. Repeat as many times as you wish. The ComposiMold or PowerMold molds hold up very well to push molding. You can make dozens of casts this way and you don't need any mold release to make them.
12. Bake your clay per product instructions. The Sculpey brand recommends 15 minutes at 275F per each 1/8" of clay. 15 minutes was perfect for these thin pieces.
13. After the clay has cooled you can begin assembling your hanging ornament. I've used a 20gauge wire to create a loop that the rest of my decoration can be attached to. Use beads that you have laying around or you can make your own beads with Sculpey either by hand or in a another push mold.
IDEA: This particular shape lends itself to another cool possibility. You could use your exacto knife to cut the smaller flower in the center of the design and use it as it's own pendant. Poke 2 holes in this one at the top and bottom and "string" it into your design a little further up from the large pendant.
I hope this gives you all some ideas about how to use ComposiMold and PowerMold to make multiple art pieces that WILL sell at summer craft shows in your state. Work efficiently with a push mold technique like this one and the profits will speak for themselves. ~Michelle