Monthly Archives: September 2010

Two Part (3D) Molding Experiments

Last night Nefarious and I went through her toys looking for stuff that was relatively small, and didn’t have any odd shapes that would be difficult to deal with in terms of getting stuck in a two part mold. Below are the first four toys that we settled on. I made the molds using the same putty-like material, rather than the pourable silicone which in hindsight would probably have been better. Nonetheless, all four molds turned out fairly well. The way that I filled them was by melting the chocolate and then first painting a thick layer on each half to both make sure that there was chocolate around the perimeter without the chance for bubbles to form. Then I poured in my filling materials — pop rocks, chopped up gummy worms, and crushed pretzels in this case — and then filled in the gaps and topped them off with more liquid chocolate. It was tacky enough that it was easy to stick the two halves together without anything flowing out, and then I popped them in the fridge overnight to let them set.

Here’s the one we cast off a small copper Ganesha statue of mine. There’s some damage (like his missing arm) that’s from me not being careful enough when I took him out of the mold:

And here’s a bunny. It’s got a big air pocket in the side, which I think was caused by me not being careful enough in the filling process:

This yoda turned out nicely as well, although there was a small amount of mold material that got stuck in my first cast off of it. I suppose I just forgot to cut it off — it happened because the plastic yoda opens up so there’s a big gap along the sides that some silicone must have flowed into (there were other holes into the interior, but I plugged them temporarily with clay while casting the mold).

Finally, I made a copy of a shoe as well.

I think these turned out very nicely and I’m feeling pretty confident about what I can make, and my head is overflowing with a zillion ideas. I hope I don’t have to wait much longer for my various candy and soap making supplies to arrive in the mail.

Molded Chocolate Faces

As promised, here’s the other part of “Crafty Sunday” — making chocolates from DIY molds.

As I mentioned I recently ordered a bunch of silicone from (I don’t know if they have the best prices because I haven’t really shopped around, but they had nice easy-to-follow tutorials on their page, and they shipped the supplies to me very quickly). Our first project was making a couple of ugly faces out of chocolate, but the possibilities are endless — I can cast soaps, candies, gummis, chalk, crayons, erasers, plastics, ice, and so much more because the silicone is non-toxic and foodsafe, and works across a wide range of temperatures.

We started by sculpting the faces out of Sculpey (a polymer clay a la Fimo). After baking (275°F for about twenty minutes), we put them on a smooth flat plastic surface and coated them with a thin layer of release agent (oil basically) to keep the mold material from sticking to our bucks. To prepare the silicone, I mixed equal parts of the base and catalyst by kneading them together by hand (we used the “silicone plastique” product, which has a clay-like consistency that’s really nice to work with). This took just a few seconds to do, giving a ten minute work time followed by about an hour to cure fully at room temperature. We first took small bits and rubbed them into the detail of the faces (to make sure there wouldn’t be any air bubbles) and then pushed the remainder of the silicone on top to form the body of the mold. Once cured, it was easy to pop the clay faces out by flexing the mold, and we saw that the molds looked great and had captured plenty of detail. Because we hadn’t sealed the bucks to the surface they were sitting on, some of the silicone flowed underneath, so I trimmed that excess with scissors.

We melted the chocolate in the microwave, on medium power so as not to burn it, pausing every thirty seconds to stir it. Once it was nice and liquid, we poured it into the molds, stirring it a bit to try and clear any bubbles (ideally a vibrator would probably have been helpful to move the bubbles to the surface), and then added some sprinkles to decorate the back since these were open one-sided molds (my next attempt will be a fully 3D two-part mold). I used a spatula to try and scrape off the excess chocolate, and then popped them in the fridge to cool off and harden.

Removing them from the molds was a simple matter of again flexing the silicone, although I did break off part of the tongue of mine, and some of the hair of Nefarious’s. You can also see that I didn’t put enough effort into making sure that there weren’t any air bubbles in the chocolate — most notably you can see a big one in the lower lip of Nefarious’s, and another in the nose of mine, as well as lots of smaller ones that wouldn’t be noticed unless you knew what the originals looked like.

Click these for a close-up look at how detailed they are (they’re about two inches high):

Given that this is the very first time that I’ve done something like this, I’m very happy with the results, and my brain is overflowing with ideas… There are so many things I can create now!

Crafty Sunday

Yesterday I took a pile of scrap plywood (thus the many resultant tonal stripes, three per layer) that I had lying around and cut it up into six inch squares, then stacked it five or six high, held together with glue, and then left it clamped overnight to cure. Today I took that stack and bolted it to the faceplate of my little lathe. I wasn’t sure whether it would survive the process of rounding it, but it did, and I had lots of fun grinding it down into a bulbous fat-walled bowl. Actually, fun isn’t quite the right word — I find it very relaxing grinding away the wood to reveal the object that’s hidden inside, and there’s something… I don’t know… “honest” about it. To finish, after sanding it smooth I stained it and glued some felt-like fabric to the bottom. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Nefarious and I also did another very cool project this weekend, but that’s in the fridge hardening right now so check back tomorrow. Other than that, we’ve started reading the first book in Joseph Delaney‘s Wardstone Chronicles, “The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch)”. I was worried because it’s on the horror end of the fantasy genre and I thought it might be nightmare fuel, but she’s loving it, and so far I have not suffered any 3AM wake-ups. Fingers crossed. Oh, and Caitlin biked to a yard sale this morning hosted by a friend of hers that’s moving to Thailand to dedicate herself to fighting. She returned with a big Ikea lamp that’s flooding the room with a wonderful warm glow.

Beards are awesome

Much like last year, we all went down the street to the Toronto Ukrainian Festival. Caitlin and I dressed up in matching shirts like aging couples are supposed to, and Nefarious was eaten by an alligator, but luckily it spit her out not long afterward. After that we ate perogies, and then went book shopping. Now I am watching Breaking Bad and eating cherry pie. Not a bad day, but I wish I had not looked at my post from last year, because it just reminds me how much has been taken away since then. Still, not a bad day at all.

Lathes, silicon, and peepholes

As always, I can’t be bothered to proofread, so apologies in advance for illegibility due to ignorance of the rules of spelling and grammar. Just because I like the picture, I’m going to start this entry with this picture that I took through my front door’s peephole:

Both the health of my corporeal being and my cable internet have been leaving a lot to be desired lately, so it seems quite a lot of time has passed since I last posted. That said, I’ve been a lot less active than I’d like to be, so I don’t really have that much to report in relation to the time that has passed, but I’ll give it a go because I have been making some fun stuff. I’d hoped to have a little more energy because school has started, reducing my work hours, but changing my alarm to get me up early has been draining enough to compensate for any reduced demands. I did have one day off when Nefarious went to visit her mom, which I think is the first visit they’ve had since March, so that was very eagerly looked forward to by everyone (Nefarious drew a wonderful sweet picture that happily predicted the visit — she definitely has riding in her blood, and as she ages I definitely see more and more of her mother in her — it’s remarkable how genetically predetermined our personalities are). She definitely came back aglow.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll find the right rhythm soon.

I picked up a cheap mini wood lathe (which has already broken and is getting returned) and to test it out and remember how to use it — not counting jewelry making on a little Unimat, I haven’t used a wood lathe since elementary school — I made a rough chess-piece-sort-of-thing out of unsuitable wood (very fibrous stuff that shreds itself on the lathe) and a little wooden change bowl out of a 4×4 board that I kind of like and will probably keep. I also made a couple of wooden rings for amusement, one with a BB mounted in it and the other with a piece of scrap plastic, but those were hand carved, not done on the lathe.

I also picked up five or ten pounds of silicone molding materials, as well as some candy making and soap making supplies, so this weekend I’ll probably do some experiments in that realm. I’m not really sure what though, but I imagine I’ll begin with lollipops in the form of grotesque heads or something, which I’ll make out of Sculpey and then take a mold off of. I’m quite looking forward to this. Given how crippled I feel these days, I’m happy that I still have the strength left to fill the gaps with projects — Nefarious and I finally finished off the chipmunk painting we started ages ago.

Since winter is coming up, Caitlin made me a nice hat.

Anyway… I feel like this is not a very good post, but I don’t like neglecting my blog for so long. If it wasn’t for that must-post compulsion I probably wouldn’t post at all any more. It’s really getting to be very difficult to meet the physical demands of day to day life, and it’s a steeper hill to climb every day, and it’s harder and harder to do it. I hate looking in the mirror and seeing how much my muscles have atrophied, and I hate feeling so weak, and most of all I would give almost anything to make the pain stop but that’s just not going to happen. I really want to get off this ride, I’ve had enough of it. I don’t want to do it any more. But it’s not like I have any choice in the matter, so I keep on doing the best I can, and I keep on being amazed that even through all this, moments of joy still do find a way to bubble up to the surface. The results of the genetic testing that was started back in April are finally in, so perhaps I will get some good news at month’s end when they talk to me about them.

Which reminds me — as you know from I think the entry before this one, I got about five hour of tattooing done recently. The odd thing was that during the tattooing, I didn’t bleed at all. Not a drop. No lymph, no blood, nothing. Shane might as well have been drawing on me with a marker. The healing was just as odd, because there was never a scab of any magnitude on the tattoo. Nothing at all. Nor did the tattooed skin flake off or anything. It was as if Shane teleported the ink into me. No bleeding, and instant healing. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen a tattoo do.

PS. What is a BUFFGOAT?

I have the munchies and Caitlin tells me that the Loblaws around the corner is open until ten, so I think I”m going to go get a cherry pie. Yum. At least that ends the post on a high note!