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mold madness

Posted by vsayre z8 SC (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 15, 05 at 12:14

I am overwhelmed with so many discussions on leaf mold making. I understand the silicon, POP & other materials & methods people have used - successfully or otherwise. I just want to know: 1) CAN I MAKE THE MOLD USING A (REAL) LEAF & IF SO DO I NEED TO APPLY A RELEASE SUBSTANCE TO THE LEAF???? 2) IS A "SHELL OR MOTHER MOLD" REALLY NEEDED ONCE YOU HAVE MADE THE MOLD, I.E. IF I'VE MADE A SILICON MOLD, FOR EXAMPLE, COULDN'T I JUST POSITION THE MOLD OVER DAMP SAND FOR CASTING? 3) WHY DO YOU NEED BOTH A SILICON & POP MOLD?

Maybe I'm just dense - but would appreciate some clarity & advise. I have silicon, POP and some Smooth-on products for mold making. I think I'm ready to go but will wait on your response(s).

Thanks,
vsayre from S.C.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: mold madness

vsayre,

Let me jump in before the other more experienced players and tell you my perspective. No doubt, Buddyfly, Garden_Chicken, Dena6875???? (Jo), and others will have the real scoop and correct my mistakes. This is my way of double checking my own understanding.

First, you don't need a mold to cast a leaf; you can simply cast directly from the actual leaf. And you don't need a release agent to do this; the leaf just dries up, flakes off, rots away, or you pick and brush it from your casting once it is well set.

Folks make molds for casting leaves when they get their hands on a particularly large or rare specimen from which they know they will want several castings. Also, a mold allows one to continue casting in the seasons when leaves are not available.

So, Marly has given a great tutorial on how she makes a silicone mold of leaves. The first part shows you how to make a POP impression of the leaf and then she continues to make a silicone "mold" of the POP. This mold is what will be used to make castings. With use, the mold will eventually wear out or tear. But if you are careful to save your POP impression then you can always make another mold from it.

The release agents come into play when you apply the silicone to the POP impression. If I remember correctly, Marly likes to use Murphy's Oil Soap on the POP to allow the silicone to come free from it. I am going by memory so I cannot remember if release agent is also used when making a casting of the silicone leaf (the mold) but it most likely will not be necessary since not too many things want to stick to cured silicone (use 100% silicone).

Now, yes, you can just take your silicone leaf and position/shape it over damp sand to do your casting. However, it is recommended that you cover the sand with thin plastic sheeting to keep from wicking moisture from your casting as it sets up. True, it is much less likely that you will loose moisture using a silicone leaf than with a real leaf but it doesn't hurt to make sure.

How did I do guys? Are we on track?


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RE: mold madness

Jazzbone, I COULDN'T have said it better myself... you dun good! ;) You sure are a good student... especially since you are going by memory! lol

vsayre - HI! Hope you are successful in making some molds.

Marly


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RE: mold madness

Thanks Jazzbone & Marly for such quick & helpful responses. I should have made it clearer in my message that I do in fact have the experience in the making of the concrete leaves. I, not unlike many of you, wanted to get some molds made of leaves before the summer season rolls into the fall/winter & everythingin my garden is dead & gone. I think your "tutorial" is clear, simple & precise --very much appreciated, too. Just a couple of things I want to know or add: -- if there are imperfections in the POP impression is there a preferred "filler" for such blemishes? Lastly, can you reverse the process, i.e. make the silicon mold first & the POP impression from it?

Marly - do you have photos of your mold making proces & could you share them with me, please?

I warned you guys that I may be pretty dense......

Thanks,
Vicki


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RE: mold madness

I will now put in my two-cents-worth, even though I'm not nearly as experienced as Marly and the rest. Just imparting my experience so far. I bypassed the POP and just made a cement/concrete cast of a live elephant ear (24" x 30") and decided to make a mold using it. Once cured for a few days - after removing the live leaf, I used wet concrete on the finger trick to fill any voids that seem inevitable to make the cast leaf as perfect as possible. (The finished cast leaf I used for my mold had already been painted using an airbrush - don't think this matters much). I applied 2 coats of ordinary MinWax paste wax for furniture. Just rub it in to every surface, crevice etc. Use Q-tips to get into and around the big veins, cover every surface you know your mold substance will touch. I didn't even bother to buff, I just made sure there was no build-up that may have affected the end result (crumbly bits of wax etc.) I used the Silicone caulk described by Nofu in a previous post. I also used a different color acrylic in the first "detail" coat (yellow) so that when I applied the second coat (black acrylic paint added) I was sure I was getting complete coverage.

If you haven't read the Nofu Silicone post this all is not making any sense at all - sorry! The detail coat is the most important and requires the most time but is worth it. Careful application of the silicone will ensure fewer bubbles in the details of your mold, then you can slather on the second coat without worry. While the silicone is still wet, get yourself an ice cube (or 20) and rub the ice over the wet silicone. You can manipulate the silicone into any area without smearing it and also smooth the entire exterior of your mold. Very cool! No pun intended.

Once you have your mold completed and cured, if it is a leaf, I don't find a mother mold necessary, or desirable! The nice thing about a flexible latex or silicone leaf mold is that by changing the levels of wet sand a bit beneath the mold here and there you can cast many leaves from the same mold and each will look slightly different. If you use a mother mold on a leaf, each and every leaf will look exactly the same. Mother nature never did that - why should we?

If I have completely confused anyone, I apologize.

I have used latex and silicone molds. Like them both. But silicone requires NO mold release when casting and is WAY cheaper if you opt for the caulk method, also more durable and impervious to the elements. In the long run it may prove to be more expensive but Part 1 of the "professional" 2-part latex I purchased from one of the large mold companies mentioned on this forum siezed up on me on the shelf between castings. I now have a $25 tub of solid rubber and another $25 Part 2 tub of worthless goo. The attorney I worked for at the time is also a tub of worthless goo but that is the subject for different forum. I'll opt for tubes of silicone availble and viable when I need them anytime.

Hope this helped.

What was the question again? :-)

A


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RE: mold madness

Vicki, you got me inspired to make up a new tutorial on leaf mold making. I'll go out to the garden tomorrow and harvest a nice healthy leaf and take LOTS of pics and write the detailed instructions with each pic. I can't believe I don't seem to have one comprehensive tutorial put together for this yet! lol I appear to have bits and pieces of information about the various steps in a number of threads. So, that will be my project tomorrow and it will be my contribution to the newbies to mold-making!

Have a great day!

Marly


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RE: mold madness

Sounds great Marly, I can't wait wait to see your tutorial. It should be a wonderful tool for everyone.Thanks for taking the time to do it.


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RE: mold madness

Buckyforce, thanks for sharing your methodology in mold making. Love the idea of one less "step" in the process. I have to admit that I just finished applying the silicon on 2 fresh leaves. WIll let you know how it goes. I also have a leaf using the POP and another one where I used some Smooth-On mold making material. It appears that I am experiementing & hopefully will be able to decide the best method & results when it's all over & done.

Maybe the fog is lifting in my brain & I'm starting to see things clearer now.

Thanks again, all of you

~Vicki


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RE: mold madness

Anxiously waiting for Marly's tutorial pictures. I'd like to know if you can put the silicon mold over a sand base and get slightly different concrete casts that way.


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RE: mold madness

I think I'm confused about terms. Isn't the mother mold the original POP mold made from the leaf? Or do you have to cast another POP mold from the back side of the silicon to support it when casting (instead of damp sand) and is this called the mother mold. Help! Found one neat leaf I want to make a silicon cast of soon.


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RE: mold madness

Fleur, here is the definition of mothermold:

MOTHERMOLD - A rigid material used to hold or house a flexable inner mold.

So the original POP mold that you make from the back of the leaf is NOT the mothermold. For leaf castings, a mothermold is not necessary. For leaves cast into a bowl shape they or the silicone mold can be draped over the damp sand as stated earlier in this thread.

I just got home from work and will now go out to get my leaf for the tut.

SYL!

Marly


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RE: mold madness

Hey Vicki!

I don't think I 'splained this quite right! I use the silicone over an already cast leaf, but am curious to hear how you did casting directly on a fresh leaf! Please let us know!

Looking forward to Marly's tutorial too!

A


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RE: mold madness

TUT coming to a forum near you! lol I finished the POP stage of the mold-making. I took lotsa pics. Tomorrow when the mold dries I'll make the silicone mold from it.

I managed to NOT get any POP on my camera in the meantime! lol Hopefully I will also have same results tomorrow with the silicone!!

Marly


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RE: mold madness

WHOA MARLY! Things don't sit on your to-do list very long.

Lights, camera, ACTION!!!

Thanks for your extra measure of willingness to help. I'm looking forward to the pictutorial.

David


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RE: mold madness

buckyforce -- What does the ice do when used spreading silicone? Or maybe a better question is "Why". Do you have to blot off the water before adding another coat of silicone? I don't understand the ice thing at all. Also, how did you add the color to the silicone for your different layers? How thick was your 20x30 concrete leaf?

Marly -- how thick is the POP mold? How long between layers of POP. How long between layers of silicone? Could you make a POP cast of the back side of the silicone mold to use instead of a sand base for the silicone mold support?

Now if only I could find a holeless leaf...sigh.


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RE: mold madness

Do tell Vicki! How did the silicone direct to leaf work for you? I'm eyeing a leaf in my garden that is begging to be cast, but right now all I have is the silicone, no cement, no POP... and I want to get to it before the slugs do. ICK!


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RE: mold madness

"Marly -- how thick is the POP mold? How long between layers of POP. How long between layers of silicone? Could you make a POP cast of the back side of the silicone mold to use instead of a sand base for the silicone mold support? "
Fleur, the POP mold I just made varies in thickness. Some spots are the full thickness of the ruffles - about 1" there. Other spots are only about 1/8th" to 1/4" thick. The layers of silicone dry quite quickly - about 1/2 hour - if you apply the silicone VERY thinly. And yes... you most certainly CAN make a POP support mold on the back of the silicone mold to use instead of the sand shaping.

I have all the pics taken of the POP mold tutorial and the silicone mold. Now I just have to add the description of what is going on in each of the pics. Then I'll post the tutorial link. I'm hoping to post it tomorrow.

Marly


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RE: mold madness

Marly, I can't wait. I'm so looking forward to your tutorial. I have a few leaves I could try it on. I'm amazed that parts of your POP mold are only 1/8" to 1/4" thick. I thought it would have to be much thicker. If the leaf has a hole in it, can you sand down the resulting bump on the POP mold before using the silicone? Did you use the ice trick with the silicone?


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RE: mold madness

My apologies for not posting the tutorial yet... I've been rather ill with kidney problems the last couple of days. I'll try to get it up and running tonight.

Fleur, no I didn't use the ice cube trick but I am making another mold today of a zucchini leaf and i might try that idea.

Buckyforce, thanks for your instructions about making a mold from cement! I might just have to go and make a mold of my "jeans shorts" stone! I made it from a one-use POP mold I made directly from my jeans. So I think I might want to make some copies. I've had some folks asking about that stone!

Marly


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RE: mold madness

My tutorial has been posted! It is "tut fini" ! lol

Enjoy learning!

Marly

Here is a link that might be useful: Here is the link to my tutorial...


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RE: mold madness

Marly, Wunnerful job on da 'tut'

Luv da jeans too


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RE: mold madness

Marley! What patience (and TIME) you have to work up this tutorial AND w/photos, I might add! I'm impressed & certainly better informed thanks to all your work on this subject. I haven't forgotten that you ask about the results in using "direct method of silicone" on fresh leaves. I can't get into much detail in this writing because I'm involved with some deadlines right now. However, I can tell you, so far I've used silicone (direct)& POP (direct) on freshly cut elephant ears & banana leaves --and I am pleased with how they turned out. I will say, though, the silicone appears to be a better "copy" of the leaf's detail than the POP "copy". I used damp sand covered with plastic for the support and some shaping of the fresh leaf . Worked great! I still don't think I'll need a "mother mold" for the silicone mold when casting the cement leaf. I'll get back to you if & when I get that accomplished. If all goes well this week with these deadlines I'm facing (local garden shop that buys my pieces are expecting delivery before Labor Day weekend - ugh!!) I may be able to shoot some photos for you, too. Hopefully, you can lend me your comments, advice or ideas once you see what I've done.

Thank you & all of the other people for responding to my initial cry for help.
Until I come up for air again.....
~~Vicki


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RE: mold madness

SORRY GardenChicken!! It was YOU that ask me to share my experience with the "silicone direct" on fresh leaves. Please pardon me - I haven't had much sleep lately & am in dire straights right now for time. I will share with you (& others that are interested) some photos of my recent mold making experiences as soon as I can.

Again, I apologize.
~Vicki


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RE: mold madness

Vicki,

I don't know that it matters but there is one small difference between the two methods of making leaf molds (not leaf mold, as in compost... anyway, you know what we're talking about ;-) ). Marly's method results in a casting that has recessed veins so that it looks like a reverse leaf. Your method of making a mold directly from a leaf results in a casting which has raised veins like an actual leaf. It would be interesting to know which one is easier to de-mold and finish.

Marly, Those are'nt rhubarb plants behind your shorts, are they? Rhubarb plants have really BIG leaves :-O .


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RE: mold madness

LOL... my method is like "wrinkles" and your method is like "varicose veins"!! Or like belly buttons, "insies or outsies"! lol I'm feeling giddy right now... just got home from a long hard day at work!

Actually I might raise one caution here for leaves cast with the veins raised... If you are planning to use them as stepping stones, those raised veins will be ground down to level with your leaf surface in no time. ESPECIALLY if you make your leaf from tufa... it is a more fragile crete. With the recessed veins, there are no raised parts to get worn down. But if you are planning to use them as a decoration not as a pathway, then you will be just fine.

OK, gotta go eat somethin' or I'm a gunna faint!

Bye,

Marly


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