Further Waxwork and Molds

I am working on a couple new candle designs, and for the first one, which I finished last night, I made a really nice quality mold that I’m very proud of and I know will last for as long as I wish it to. In the pictures below, starting at the left, you can see what I mean.

The first photo shows the blue silicone mold at the top. I made it by taking the sculpted master (which you can see bottom center) and temporarily burying it half deep in clay. The reason I did this was to make a two part mold. I also pressed divets into this clay, and then covered it and the exposed half of the master with silicone. After that cured, I removed the clay (but left the master and first silicone in place) and then poured the second half of the silicone mold. After that cured, I trimmed it a little, and then built a hard removable shell for each half to give it strength. I made it out of clay, but plaster would have worked just as well. Finally, and you can’t see this in the pictures, I also drilled a hole in the bottom of the mold to hold the wick, and also in the part of the hard shell that extends across the other end of the candle.

In the second photo you can see the mold assembled with the wick mounted, ready to be filled with wax. In the third photo I’ve done just that, and accidentally spilled a little bit of it. I probably didn’t have to, but I still gave the mold a quick wrap of duct tape to hold it all together nicely. The mold fits perfectly though — it’s probably the nicest one I’ve made so far (following some tips from Adam Savage in an article on mold-making he wrote for MAKE).

Below you can see the final product in the first two pictures. If you’re wondering why there are some flecks of blue in the beeswax, well, that’s a little embarrassing. It’s just because after drilling the hole in the bottom of the mold I didn’t spend enough time washing it out, and a little silicone dust must have still been in there. Still, it turned out nicely with a lot of detail, and more importantly, there isn’t a seam anywhere to be seen, meaning that the mold is perfectly fitted and I won’t have to do any touch ups after taking it out. In the third picture, you can see the next candle in this series that I’m working on, a “brain” with some eyes on top. The way I’ve been making the masters is by roughing them out in Sculpey, baking them, and then carving and finishing them with the Dremel — often with a nylon brush, which works beautifully to carve the polymer clay.

Finally, I have some mixed feelings about the skull candles and the way I’ve mounted the wicks. I finally did a test burn on one of them, and it seems to me that I need to move the wicks forward a little because they burn through the back too fast, causing the skull to puke its brains out the back in some perverse wax suicide. It looks nice though with a warm red glow shining from its eyes. Anyway, you can see below the work it needs:

That said, I suspect that most people will treat the skull candles as decorative. Not that this is any excuse for not getting it perfect. Work continues!

Having had a week and a half locked up in a small hospital ward with very little to do — really, a ping pong academy without the ping pong tables — has filled me with a real lust to work on all my projects. Admittedly I did take forty-five minutes to play video games today, and I spent a little time browsing the news, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. I think tomorrow morning I’ll do some carving on the trike frame and continue getting it prepped for fiberglassing.

Anyway, it’s late, and I loathe wasting my time repeating my day on the computer, so I am not going to proofread any of them. If there are any typos that could be fatal, please warn me. Good night moon.


  1. peteD3 wrote:

    Damn, you got deleted from my PSN friends list!?
    sorry if i did it accidentally!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Shannon wrote:

    Oh, no, I totally deleted my friends list. It was me… Since I’m really just using the PS3 for movies and music (and slowly getting through the Pro guitar version of Rock Band) it was more annoying than useful to keep having the “xxxx just logged in” pop up all the time.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  3. HJP wrote:

    I kind of like how the wax pours out the back, /i think you simply need a disclaimer about it – or maybe promote it as an unusual feature of the candle.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink
  4. peted3 wrote:

    GOTCHA, glad it wasnt me!
    but i do miss your gnarly cyclops avatar…

    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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