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Hello again, It's spring time in Africa. I'm enjoying strawberries from my garden, and lots of flowers. It seems just last week I was reading about Spring time in the Northern hemisphere, and now it's here in the Southern.

As promised, here are pictures of the finished ornaments from last month's post on making your own stamps. (They are still warm from the kiln, finished just in the nick of time. ) Here's a link if you missed it. http://beads-of-clay.blogspot.com/search/label/with%20Val

Plaster molds are not my favorite. You can see one reason in the photo, they break easy. Especially if many people are using them. They do have their place however, so I'll tell you how I do it. For this mold, I started with a styrofoam type  meat or produce tray, and lined it with smooth, flat, and  damp clay. Then I placed my originals ( check for undercuts first. and if you have them, fill the undercuts with wet clay or plastiline) face up on the clay and pressed them down just a bit so no plaster would leak underneath. (coat your originals with Vaseline first.)
Mix your plaster and pour slowly into the tray covering the originals with a minimum 1/2 inch of plaster.( more is better) Shake it a bit before it sets to get the bubbles to rise, let it cure, and you are finished.  When you pull the clay out and take out the originals, hopefully there were no under cuts in the originals. If there were, the original is permanently in the plaster. (Another thing I don't like about plaster !)


OK,  here's the "quick and dirty" way, Bisque molds. Perhaps you will not get quite as much fine detail as with plaster, but the advantages outweigh that for me . This method works best if your original is also bisque, Although you can do it with glazed items( corn starch to release), or even sometimes with bone dry items as long as they are very flat and not too delicate.

Place your original on a  flat board or bisqued tile,  wedge a ball of clay the appropriate size,  push the wet clay down over the original. In a minute or so you can pull it off.  If it didn't work try again, no loss. Plus, if there was a slight undercut, making removal hard, you can still work on your original to correct the problem. When planning your original remember to consider shrinkage, since your original will shrink,  your mold will shrink, and the new piece you pull will shrink.

Some originals are too complex for a one piece mold, but you can always mold parts and put them together. Here I made separate molds for the dress and wings, and I sculpt the face new each time. This also helps to make each piece a little different.

 In the photo above the daisy was from a mold and I attached it to a piece of clay  I cut from a template. When you attach clay from a mold to something else I think it's called a sprig. I have attached these sprigs to  mugs, planters, and all sorts of things. They are very handy to have around. The only problem is finding the one you are currently looking for :)

I suppose it goes without saying how one would use the molds, but just in case there is a real newbie out there,  You should have a piece of wet, wedged clay and just firmly press it into the mold. Scrape away the excess clay with any flat tool, scraping from the center outward.   When it's ready to come out of the mold, you will see the edges start to pull away from the mold. Turn it over and tap it lightly on the table and WALA !

Happy mold making folks, and I'll see you next month. I am going to experiment with fired paper clay, so hopefully I will have some advice on it by next blog. Enjoy your autumn.
Val in Namibia


  1. For a non-ceramic making person, it's fascinating to see this process!

  2. Great post, thanks for sharing. I've tried making molds and am not very good at it yet, so anything I can learn along the way, I appreciate!

  3. Hi ... great post. I prefer bisque molds, too! :)

  4. Appreciating Post!thanks for beautiful molds and thoughts.....

  5. I'm with you on the preference for using bisque molds over plaster. Especially when you are working with regular clay versus slip clay. Love the feeling of carving into the clay to make the original :)

    Thanks for the great post!


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