I love those rubber texture mats and every time I go into the crafts shop I want to load my cart up with the lovely designs that are out there. The problem for me is they are not my designs. Recently, I ran across a product made by Sculpey called 'MoldMaker'. It's a special polymer clay that remains flexible when cured. It's available at a number of online shops. I picked up mine at Hobby Lobby. I was mostly interested in this because it potentially speeds up the process of making texture plates from ceramic clay and then casting a plaster mold. I think this product has a lot of potential for bead makers because it's ideal for working at a small scale. And, it is flexible like those texture mats I covet.
So here's what I did to test out the Mold Maker.
First I created a base of conditioned regular polymer clay. It's about an 1/8 thick.
I built up a simple pattern on the base of the clay and cured it in the oven according to the manufacturers specifications.
I took the cured polymer clay model and embedded it in plastalina (modeling, sculpting clay) so that just the raised portion of the texture is above the surface. I often use platstalina to hold things down because it doesn't require any conditioning and is so easy to work with.
Next, I rolled out a sheet of the MoldMaker a bit thicker that the highest portions of the textured model. The directions actually say to work with chilled polymer clay. I didn't. I chilled the MoldMaker slab in the freezer for about 5 minutes. It comes out feeling quite hard. I dusted the model with cornstarch. The MoldMaker slab then got pressed onto the model pressing from the center out to the edges to avoid bubbles. I then lightly rolled the back to give it a nice even surface.
Oopsie. See that texture plate on the right has little double lines. I rolled the first one a bit too much and had to make a new slab. But it's OK. You can re-use the clay if you mess up and haven't cured it yet.
Once cured, the MoldMaker texture plate is surprising flexible.
Here's a piece of porcelain that I've textured with my new texture plate. Oh, I love naked clay!
I have no idea how one of these texture plates will hold up with repeated use. This was just an experiment to see if this product had potential for use in clay bead making. So far, I'm reasonably impressed with it. I've got a few ideas I want to try out so, for now, I'm going to keep this in my bag of tricks.