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18 February 2010 @ 05:48 am
why does it always rain on me? is it because I lied when I was seventeen?  

/three month posting hiatus

Here's a long overdue tutorial a few people on coscom requested ages ago...

^---on how to make molds for things like these. please note that for the super-tiny gems, I used the generic casting tray that is available any and everywhere, and for the medium sized ones I was able to use a paint tray as a ready-made mold. the five shapes needed for the waist cincher thing and the two sizes of larger gems I needed were unavailable, so I had to find another solution.

Okay, Umi obviously has a lot of different size gems. there are a total of 20. :/

I looked around on the internet for ages, but even if I had ordered semi-circle spheres that were kinda almost the right size and tailored my sewing and sizing around them, stiff plastic is pretty obviously a really, really bad idea for casting gems in (good luck getting them out when they've cured...). and I'd have still been at a loss for the corset-gems since those had to be of a very specific shape. So I had to find some way to make my own flexible molds. Luckily, smoothon plastics exist! Look here and at a Dick Blick's near you (if you have one in your town).

the first step was to figure out how large I wanted the gems to be. after doing a rough sizing of them in paper/tagboard, I find that cutting out chipboard for a base is a good way to proceed, as it provides a solid foundation for whatever type of clay you choose to put on top of it. the chipboard is fairly stiff so it takes a little bit of shaving to get it down to the perfect dimensions once again after transferring mediums. Numbering them can also be handy, if you have a lot of similar shapes floating around.

the next step is to sculpt your gems. I used wax paper to help keep the sculpey from sticking to anything.

Incidentally, spray finish also makes a good rolling pin in a pinch, if you're cooking averse like I am and are not domestic enough to already possess one amongst your kitchen utensils.

After I finished shaping and beveling my sculpey gems, I baked them and then sanded them with a lower grit all the way up to 600 grit before hitting them with a few coats of spray sealant so that they were nice and smooth and shiny. I probably would have sanded to a higher grit if I had known where to find it at the time (apparently automotive stores extend into a higher range). since at the end you'll be casting something that's clear and will reflect light, ANY sort of tiny imperfection or roughness that was left on your original will be EXTREMELY noticeable, so be sure to take your time at this stage to get everything absolutely perfect and smooth.

After thinking a while on the most efficient way to arrange the pieces so that a maximum amount of casting rubber would be conserved, I decided on this configuration and then walled it in with some oil-based clay on top of some wax paper.

I went through the same process with making the original pieces for the headband and front shoulder join gems as well. I just shoved them inside some random plastic container, since they were a more conformable shape than the corset pieces.

Then it was mixing time!

dun dun dun! dramatic shot! (you're supposed to pour both cups into a 3rd cup, so that the rubber left sticking to the cup in the form of residue is equally distributed in terms of loss, but as you can see I neglected that step. oops.)

I tried really hard to take a shot of the rubber while I was pouring it (balancing a camera while trying to pose flowing substances is difficult!).

this is actually a picture from a different batch, but it illustrates the color your mixture turns when it's completely integrated into one. incidentally, if you let your bottles sit around after opening for several months too long, the rubber will still cure, but just be really, really stiff, as in the above picture. in the end I had to go buy new rubber (what I was using in the rest of the pictures) since it was too viscous to flow properly around my originals and capture their shape, or to let the bubbles escape >:

pouring it on!

the corset patch being inundated in goopy liquid.

it should level out nice and flat.

after curing, just pop your originals out, mix up a batch of resin, and cast away! here we have nono, tear, and KOS-MOS keeping guard over some panickedly-cast resin that I mixed something like, 6AM the day I left for otakon...>_<

an example of the end result~

another shot that encompasses waist cincher gems.

there are plenty of other tutorials that cover general easycast resin casting, so I won't go into it here. just do note that while the rubber cleans up fairly easily, god help you if get the resin on anything at any stage....nasty stuff.

as for the backing of the gems, I originally went with painting the back and then attaching them via hot glue to the costume. the hot glue stuck, but the adhesion of the paint itself to the gem was somewhat less than desired. my currently recommended method is painting a backing piece of tagboard/paper with the sparkle paint of your choice, dumping a pile of hot glue on it, smashing the gem onto it, and then trimming away the excess paper. THEN glue the gem to your costume. works sooooooooooo much better. (I know some people have had luck with E6000 as well, although I personally wasn't able to get it to work for me.)

hopefully this is useful! sorry again for the wait. this was my first foray into the world of making molds and casting, so I'm far from perfect at it yet. perhaps it can still shed a little light on the process for anyone was previously mystified by the process, however. (I wasn't able to find anything that addressed making molds for easycast resin when I was researching things for the first time myself, alas.)
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: why does it always rain on me? - travis
Mekou: PW - OPAAA!!!mekou on February 18th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
This is really helpful! Resin casting doesn't seem to be such an intimidating proccess now. XD;
ryuuraigekiryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
the only difficult part is getting the shape of the original correct/smooth, the actual rubber-ing and resin-ing doesn't take much time or brainpower at all. this stuff's all 1:1 ratio, so the mixing is really straightforward.

2 piece molds for more complex shapes are a lot more difficult though >_< casting KOS-bits is going to a major pain...;_;
Mekoumekou on February 19th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
That sort of thing would come in handy for some costumes on my dream list, so if you ever have any tips on making those I'd be glad to hear them. :3
Paulvartan on February 18th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
I have actually gotten a multipack of auto sandpaper ranging all the way up to 1000 at places like k-mart and walmart for just a few dollars, it's only 2-3 sheets of each grit but it's a good deal when you're doing something small like this, and not, say, your car., and michaels sells a really nice finishing sandpaper for polymer beads that looks like a frosted plastic sheet.

and I have used a hand-held back massager to get bubbles out of my molds and casts by holding it and moving it around on the bottom of the pan everything is is while it is still liquid.

oh, and thanks again for the info with pictures, I like these posts! the bias tape one was like #1 key information.
ryuuraigeki: fragilityryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
ohhhhh, really? I don't do prop-bits very often, so my sandpaper knowledge isn't what it should be, sadly. I'll keep an eye out for it!

the back massager thing is a good idea, LOL. I never would have thought of that.

I like making them! I find I have this obsessive tendency to take step by step photos of whatever I'm making anyway, so it seems a bit wasteful to just have all these photos just sitting around my hard drive when posting them up might help people.
Paulvartan on February 19th, 2010 07:35 am (UTC)
yeah the massager thing was something my dad showed me way back when, he has a contraption specifically for shaking bubbles out of molds but he uses it specifically for when he's casting for jewelry, a back massager works fine for the sorts of stuff we're doing.

I always want to do stuff like this but then I'm too lazy to take step by step photos, or else I forget until the end.
Alex: HELLO!!!!glayish on February 18th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
this post is BEAUTIFUL as well as your cosplay *w*
ryuuraigeki: cheeryryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
thank you!
Purveyor of bad ideasstillvisions on February 18th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Cool tutorial - resin is fun, and anything that gets more people into it is awesome!
ryuuraigeki: emptyryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm still at the beginning, but hopefully I can continue on to 2 piece molds now that I've at least tried 1 piece molds.
メラ~女薇~: Soul resonancestarlitrose on February 18th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
Wonderful tutorial, as always! I have to ask though, would you say that the rubber makes for a better mold than the latex molds?
ryuuraigeki: clonesryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
hmmm, latex molds are usually the brush on types, aren't they?

for stuff like this at least, the OOMOO casting rubber is definitely better because you can mix it, dump it and be done with it in like two seconds, whereas with latex you have to instead painstakingly paint it, wait for it to dry, and then come back and repeat the process over and over and over again...and then also have to find some way to prop up the floppy shell you just spent 500000 hours building up the layers on.
メラ~女薇~: Fuu: Flystarlitrose on February 19th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Veeeerrrry true. Again, you have saved me a future headache. Thank you!

And it's good to see you back! I had been wondering what had happened, though I was afraid to ask since it's not my business. XD;; But I hope you're doing okay.
Miyabi VonSexypantstalianthala on February 18th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
We still have to go eat @ the sausage buffet! ^_^ when I cease being poor as hell
ryuuraigeki: destituteryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC)

(you should put an application in at my new workplace, next time you're in columbus!)
Miyabi VonSexypants: crona ragnarok YAYtalianthala on February 20th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
You have a new job now whuuuut? XD!

That is very much a good idea now since my workplace is screwing me over like woah in terms of hours. hours..I has none.
Lisadyxlisa on February 19th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
WOW. I totally need to try this!

(ps you look lovely!!)
ryuuraigeki: fragilityryuuraigeki on February 19th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
it's really quite easy!

and thank you!
kairi_gkairi_g on February 20th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot for this tutorial! Ive been doing a lot of resin casting lately but have so far had very little luck making my own molds.

Also thanks for the tip on the wig wefts, I am going to give it a try tomorrow! :D
ryuuraigeki: cheeryryuuraigeki on February 20th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
what are you making out of resin~? I'm moving on to experimenting with liquid plastic and expanding foam (<--shudder) soon, hopefully things don't go too disastrously when I make the switch.

and no problem! I gave in to temptation and did a quick pass on my flist and saw your post, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to comment. the wig nerd section of myself gets the better of me everytime.
Otakittyotakitty on April 19th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
I just saw this posted on the cosplay tutorial twitter. How do you get the color?
Kitty McpawsKitty Mcpaws on September 27th, 2015 01:26 am (UTC)
Hi! I love your tutorial and I wanted to know how much did it cost to make those gems ?