Intro: Iron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic Piece
I know someone who used to love Iron Man as a young lad so I thought I would make them their very own grown up Iron Man gift!
Luckily I've got access to silicone rubber and casting resin, so I borrowed my son's Iron Man action figure and set to work.
I've broken the process down into a step by step guide of how I made a metallic effect Iron Man piece using aluminium powder by:
- Creating a splash mould
- Casting a splash part and making some modifications
- Creating a final mould
- Casting an aluminium powder and resin piece and finishing the piece by bringing out the metallic effect.
This technique is often referred to as Cold Casting and you can achieve different effects with different metals - there are some photos showing a Copper version too!
Step 1: Materials
Silicone Rubber and Catalyst - I used Easy Composites CS25
Fast Casting Polyurethane Resin - I used Xencast® P2
Mixing Pots and Sticks
Something to make a container - I used Signboard
Cutting Board, Craft Knife, Ruler, Pen, Screwdriver, small tube
Glue Gun and Tape
Black Spray Paint
Steel Wool, Abrasive Paper, Sanding Block and a spoon
Prepare the work area - cover work surface and wear protective clothing.
Step 2: Prepare Original
- First I decided which part of the toy I wanted to replicate - I wanted to create a bust type piece that would look good on a shelf, so just concentrated on the head and shoulders area.
- To make life easier for creating a silicone mould I removed the arms of the toy and then I turned his head to the side to make it look a bit different.
- Then I used filleting wax (because it came in the casting kit - or you could use modelling clay) to seal under the chin to stop the silicone getting in and to make a continuous surface, then I smoothed it off.
- Next I measured the part of the original I wanted to replicate (height, width, depth) and created a container from signboard (also in my kit).
- Because I'd removed the arms I was able to suspend the toy from the top of the box with the tube and glue it into place.
Step 3: Creating a Splash Mould
- Next I weighed out the correct amount of silicone and catalyst and mixed them together until it was a consistent colour - mixing steadily to minimise air bubbles
- Then I poured it over the original by approximately 5mm and left it to cure (as per the manufacturers instructions).
- When it had cured I removed the container and made a zigzag cut to the mould to remove the toy from the splash mould.
- Then I taped up the mould ready for the first casting - the splash part.
Step 4: Creating a Splash Part and Making Modifications
- I weighed and mixed together equal amounts of Parts A & B Xencast® P2 fast cast resin and poured it into the mould.
- I always tip, roll and tap the mould to make sure the resin gets into all the detail and helps to push out air bubbles.
- Then I left it to cure - this resin is so fast working - it starts to cure in 2-3 minutes and is ready to demould in less that 30 minutes!
- Then I demoulded the piece and made some modifications like trimming the shoulders and levelling the base ready to make the final mould.
Step 5: Creating a Final Mould
- At this point I used some more wax to make a good base for the piece - this also stuck the part down to the base of the container and I built up a snug container.
- Then I mixed up some more silicone and poured the final mould.
- When it was cured I removed the container and the part and taped up the mould ready to cold cast the metallic piece.
Step 6: Casting a Metallic Part
- I measured out a new batch of resin and added aluminium powder to Part A and mixed it thoroughly, before adding Part B and mixing.
- I experimented quite a lot for the best effect and found that matching the powder to the resin by volume rather than by weight gives a much better result.
- I repeated the resin process from before ,working quickly to fill the mould and left it to cure.
Step 7: Finishing My Metallic Part
- When it was cured I demoulded the part and set to work making it look metallic - when it comes out it doesn't look metallic at all because a thin layer of resin forms over the metal particles so it just looks grey.
- Then I used a sanding block,abrasive paper and steel wool to bring out the effects.
- I also used a spoon to burnish the surface - this brought out really bright highlights.
- Then I sprayed black paint all over the piece and when it was dry I used the steel wool again to bring out the detail, contrast and highlights - or you could just leave it plain.
Step 8: Iron Man - Cold Cast With Aluminium Powder!
I'm really pleased with the end result and can't wait to give the gift!
I also cast using copper powder and it would be interesting to try some effects on different powders at some point like rusting and replicating patina's.
This process could be used on any toy or figurine and if you were doing an exact replica you would only need to take one mould which would reduce your working time.
Timescale: Once I had created the final mould (2nd) - Iron Man took me about an hour to create, including the finishing effects!