How to Use a Silicone Resin Mold
1. Pick out a cool mold
Find a neat looking silicone resin mold. Silicone is an ideal in manufacturing molds for resin because it is so flexible and releasing the cured resin from the mold is easy. It is the most popular material for creating epoxy resin molds, but some are made of plastic instead. Those can be a bit harder to demold.
2. Apply Epoxy Resin Release Agent Inside the Mold
If you are using anything to help release your resin once it cures, now is the time to put it on your silicone mold. There are sprays, PVAs, and waxes specifically made for this, but you can substitute with cooking spray if that’s more practical for you. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to apply a layer of vegetable oil to the inside of the cast for a very easy demolding.
3. Mix your Resin
As I mentioned in another article called Resin Mistakes, it is imperative that you read the directions that came with your specific resin. This is because the products out there have so many different ratios of resin to harderner or accelerator and getting it wrong will likely ruin your artwork.
4. Let it Pour
This one is self-explanatory, right? Just remember to go a little bit heavy because resin tends to shrink as it cures. Also, go slow to prevent excess air from getting into your resin. If you haven’t already, lay down some newspaper, a tarp, or some other material to catch anything that unintentionally drips from your jewelry molds. This stuff is really messy and takes a bit of effort to cleanup. Resin molds should be cleaned out again before use in case dust has settled in them.
5. Get the Bubbles Out
You don’t want to end up with bubbles or pockets of air in your final product. I cannot emphasize enough how much it helps to stir slow when mixing. A heat gun is also an effective tool for getting bubbles out of resin.
6. Allow Time to Cure
Now you wait. Your resin should provide you with its cure time. If you can’t find it on the bottle or in the directions that came with it, try the company’s website. Cover your piece with some plastic or put an upside-down bowl on top of it for protection. I would not recommend trying to speed up the drying process. If you force it you could end up with a yellowish tint throughout your art or an incomplete cure.
7. Remove Your Piece
Silicone molds are ideal for epoxy resin casting projects because they facilitate the release of dried contents. I simply, and ever so sightly, bend the mold in by pushing on its center. This will usually cause the resin jewelry or craft item to pop out. I recommend against using anything sharp or potentially abrasive as this may damage the surface of your final product.
Use soap and water to clean out the inside of your casting molds. Dish soap works fine. You want to do this to avoid there being any reaction between what may have been left inside your mold and your uncured resin the next time you use it. These little things help you get consistent results.