2013_0802AD

Mini Tutorial ~ Wildflower Molds for Bead Making

August 3, 2013 , In: General
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Hey everyone! As promised, today’s post is another mini tutorial. Two weeks ago I shared the new wildflower molds I was working on. Are you ready to see the results?

Well… they all certainly were not as fabulous as I was hoping… the top four
molds worked fine and had good detail, but the bottom four were not so
great — some parts were either too deep or didn’t show at all. Yes, the
bottom two really are flowers, you just can’t see the impressions!

Time to make more molds! Today’s post was going to be
on the bead making process, but since I needed to make new molds I
thought I’d share that part with you first and then next time we’ll
start on the beads. So here goes…

(The molding compound I use is a 2 part 5 minute cold molding compound by Art Clay World USA)

Of course, I started with another trip out to my front yard and
the fields surrounding my house. Living in the country sure does have
its advantages! I picked more flowers than I needed — I wanted to have plenty
for experimenting. I also made sure to pick some leaves too.

One
of the main reasons half of my first molds didn’t turn out well is
because I was just blindly pressing flowers into the molding compound
and had no way of knowing until the mold cured how the flower would
actually look.

So this time around, I took all the bulky flowers and
first lightly flattened them under a piece of glass. This allowed me to
see how the petals would be arranged in the mold, and to carefully put
them in place if needed before making the mold.

After
flattening under the glass I pressed the flowers and leaves into the
molding compound. When pressing the flowers in, I’m always careful to
take note of the thickness and bulkiness of the different flower parts.
For the mold above, I pressed the petals of the flowers deep into the
compound, while only lightly pressing the flower’s base — I want the main
focus to be the petals and a big bulky base pressed in to deeply can
easily ruin that effect.

More flower smashing! Not really — press just firmly — enough so the petals stay in place.

You’ll get the best leaf impressions if you use the backs of the leaves where
the veins are most raised. I like to add a little extra contour to my
molds by pressing deeper on and AROUND the leaves, petals and anything I
really want to standout. Adding that extra contour gives the finished
casting a more raised look.

You can see that extra contouring here — around the leaves on the rectangular mold…

And here — I gave this mold a slight dished-out contour so the casting will be slightly domed.

* * *

Once all the molds cured it was time to try them out. Here are the results
of some testing — all the molds worked nicely this time around!

Alight, now it’s your turn! Go out, enjoy the fresh
air and pick some flowers… and make some molds! In two weeks I’ll show
you a few new beads you can make with your molds.

Have a fun!

Rebekah Payne

Rebekah Payne is the designer and creator behind Tree Wings Studio. What started out as just a few beads for her own jewelry creations quickly grew into more than a hobby and she now spends every spare moment busy in her studio crafting beads for jewelry designers around the world… and the occasional piece of jewelry for herself. She loves fine details, rustic charm, earthy hues, and all things textural. These days her medium of choice is polymer clay, but she also dabbles in wire-working and uses various fibers and leather.
  1. Reply

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I recently made some molds that didn't turn out so well so I am happy for some tips.

  2. Reply

    Great idea, thanks for sharing 😀

  3. Reply

    New here… LOVE IT! Wonderful tutorials and an overall great vibe. Subscribing now…thanks!

  4. Reply

    thanks for sharing, Rebekah! I want to start working in polymer clay, so this will come in handy!

  5. Reply

    These are just beautiful. I too make molds for my polymer pieces but they haven't all turned out as well as yours! Thanks for the tips!

  6. Reply

    These are great, I love your wildflower molds! Going to your shop to see what you have there!

  7. Reply

    These are all so pretty – each one. Now I want to see the finished beads!

  8. Reply

    I have this idea I have long wanted to achieve but have not been able to make happen. Maybe the molds are the way to go, but I will have to sculpt them all and that thought has be terrified! Thank you for the great pictures. Your pieces are going to be great! Enjoy the day. erin

  9. Reply

    Those are amazing! It *almost* makes me want to try polymer clay…

  10. Reply

    Great job! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Reply

    What a great idea! I don't know that I would have tried it; I would've thought the flowers were too soft & squishy to get any kind of a good impression. Nice work!

  12. Reply

    These molds are simply wonderful! I can't wait to play. Now, to find some mold compound without sending away for it and waiting.

  13. Reply

    I never thought you could get such a nice mold with the real Queen Ann's Lace… lovely

    • Niná
    • September 9, 2013
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your work is beautiful!!!!! Regards from Venezuela 🙂

  14. Reply

    Beautiful job! (As always) Thanks for sharing. I recently tried the same thing with polymer clay for the molding material – with exactly the same learning curve on depths. 🙂 Even after I pressed them, though, I wasn't that pleased. I'm guess that actual molding material – which I've resisted buying for years – is actually more sensitive to the impression than clay?

    • Reply

      You're very welcome! I've used polymer clay to make my own molds also, but have found that the detail isn't near as defined as it is with molding compound. Also when using polymer to make molds you'll need to use some kind of release (I prefer water) as raw polymer likes to stick to baked polymer, and this will sometimes obscure the details too.

      Mostly I stay with molding compounds for any high-detail molds, and use polymer where I need a stamped detail. Give molding compound a try—I think you'll be very happy you did! 🙂

  15. Reply

    Drat. I meant to click "notify" on my comment, so please forgive this meaningless one.- Melody

  16. Reply

    Uau!!! Thank you for sharing this! Great job!

  17. Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Got to try it out. I love nature jewelry. Dita.

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