David who just bought my first functional triceratops door knocker! Ain’t that cool? Thanks David.
He contacted me a couple weeks ago about the knocker. The Triceratops is his favorite dinosaur and he was excited to see my beginning attempt at a triceratops door knocker. I was scared to mold it myself though, I didn’t want to risk destroying ANOTHER piece. Also, it’s a knocker, getting banged around is it’s primary function… it had to be done right or it would just fall apart. I looked into having it professionally molded and cast which turns out to be a pricey endeavor. In turn, for me to make a profit, I would have to sell a product at a price that I myself could not afford and that just doesn’t jive. So, although mold making is scary and terribly messy (it’s SO messy) the most cost effective thing I could do was do it myself. What helped the most was David’s enthusiasm and excitement to see it on the door of his new home.
I used the Smooth-On product Mold Star 15 to make the molds. It’s a strong and flexible silicone that I know works with the hardened Sculpey. Now that I’m a little older and a little wiser than a previous attempt at similar mold, I figured out a way to literally cut some corners. The head, horns, and ring were molded as separate pieces.
Instead of cutting, folding, measuring and taping square cardboard boxes around each mold, I cut strips of cardboard and bent them into rings. After hot-gluing the triceratops head to a piece of glass, I used the same hot glue to set the cardboard ring around it. Warning: the ring has to be glued down real good or else all your mold goop will run out all over the place before it sets… MESSY! Oh, and another tip for your adventures in mold making: If you want to use a non-hardening clay with this silicone mold goop then it has to be sulfur-free. But that’s not all, it has to be a specific type of sulfur-free clay that I still have not discovered yet. I used sulfur-free clay by Prima to make the knocker ring and it didn’t work, the mold is STILL gooey. No wonder I was so vague about it in a previous posts, I was baffled!
But an interesting thing happened, why not. Since I used up all the Mold Star 15 to make these 3 molds, I decided to pour the cold casting mixture into the gooey ring mold anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d end up with a super power maybe?
…No super powers, but the cold cast brass ring came out textured (and gooey). I washed off the stickiness, sanded and polished the ring and it seems just fine. I think it even adds a bit of a “prehistoric” look to the piece.
Cold Casting is what it’s called. I’ve used the process before to make my T-rex belt buckles. In the picture below you can see how the cold cast triceratops came out of the mold a dull gold color. After a light sanding with a fine steel wool it starts to shine like brass. The finishing touch is to rub it down with black shoe polish. The shoe polish gets down in all the cracks and creases and really brings out the most subtle details.
So, with a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of disposable cups and stirrers it worked, and I didn’t even destroy the original. It seems durable and I think it looks pretty bad ass.
Like I mentioned earlier though, the biggest helped was David’s excitement and encouragement. His excitement spurred my excitement, not to mention his funding is what makes me a “working artist”.
Thanks again David. Happy knocking!