More Resin-casting Attempts

This is actually the results of about three or four separate casting attempts, but I’ll group the results in a way that makes more coherent sense than going chronologically.  And since this whole thing started because I decided to get a mold to make Pyrrha’s eye chips myself, I’ll start with those.

First batch!
First batch!

I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold glitter on a few of them, thinking that might make an interesting accent to the eyes.  I think I’m going to have to see them in place to know if it actually looks okay or not.  Anyway, I bought a printable download of eye patterns to put behind the chips, so in order to test how these are going to look, I set them down over the print-out:

Chips + Printed Eyes = Okayish
Chips + Printed Eyes = Okay

They’re not great, but they seem more or less workable.  (I picked these eye patterns so the photo would include the artist’s URL, so I wouldn’t seem to be stealing their work.  The Etsy shop can be found here, btw.)

There was also one pair where I put a much larger amount of glitter in the eye chip.  Large enough that I realized on getting them out of the mold that they were not going to work with the printed eyes at all, so I tried to paint the backs of the chips to make them somewhat pass as eyes.

Fail.
Fail.

I actually did try to give them an eye-like appearance, but it doesn’t show up at all.  The glitter obliterates the pupils (which were kind of goldish anyway) and the pearlescent white accents weren’t painted strongly enough to show up as different in color from the silver.

However, I really liked the idea of just a little bit of glitter spread through the chip to give it some interest, so I decided that in my next attempt, I would add some of the glow-in-the-dark glitter I had sitting around.

Second batch.
Second batch.

The blue sparkly bits (best seen in the out-of-focus ones towards the bottom of the picture) are the glitter — which is odd, because the glitter is white in its package — and all the other speckles are the myriad air bubbles created in the resin while I was stirring in the glitter.  I have no freakin’ clue why stirring the resin (which you have to stir in order to mix in the hardening agent!) creates so many air bubbles.  Last time I was at Michael’s, I went specifically looking for crafting resin that didn’t require stirring, but it all did. 😦  However, I wasn’t stirring it with the sticks they provided, but my own, which were shaped differently, so I am currently hoping that somehow the shape of the stick caused some of the air bubbles.  This is probably a vain hope.  (But the stick shape is really different.  The ones they provided were straight, like popsicle sticks, but the ones I was using were those little wooden spoons that you get with those single serving ice cream cups.  I was using the cups to mix the resin, naturally.  I figured it was a good way to combine crafting and dessert and save some money; eat the ice cream, wash the cup and spoon, and bingo, crafting supplies!  Didn’t really work out as well as I’d have liked, clearly…)

Those air bubbles...
Those air bubbles…

I think the glitter worked out okay, but the air bubbles are really a problem, aren’t they?  I had wanted to stir the glitter in, btw, rather than sprinkling it on top of the chips in the mold because I thought it was better to have it distributed; the glitter I sprinkled on top of the chip in the mold tended to stay where it was, which is of course the back of the eye chip, which is decidedly less interesting, and not the look I was going for.

As an experiment, I tried to paint eyes on the back of one of these sets, trying to find the ones that seemed most misshapen, since I was pretty sure the painted eyes weren’t going to work.  (Sometimes I get too much resin in the indentation, and sometimes too little, so a number of these chips are unlikely to actually fit.)

More fail.
More fail.

The previous time, I had painted the pupils first, and then the irises around them.  But it had been hard getting them to look round and uniform — more accurately, I failed to do so — so I thought maybe it would be easier if I did the irises first, and then put on the pupils.  Maybe the problem was the paint I used, but it turned out that the black paint is visible right through the red paint…wait, did I even use red paint?  Wasn’t it, like, purple or something?  Oogh.  This is going to bother me.  Surely I wouldn’t have used red, ’cause that would clash with Pyrrha’s hair!  (Naively, I had hoped I might do a semi-decent job and be able to use them.)  Didn’t I use the metallic plum paint?  Okay, well, whatever color I used, you can see how horrible the results are.

Freaked out by the air bubbles (which I had hoped would rise to the surface and go away while I was working with that batch of resin, naturally), the next time I tried to do as little stirring as humanly possible, to reduce the number of air bubbles introduced into the resin.  But I seem not to have taken a picture of that set, perhaps because they’re not significantly different from the first set, except no gold glitter anywhere (except perhaps the random piece left over on the mold from the original run).

Moving back in time to that first eye chip batch, I had excess clear resin left when I was done with the eye chips, because I mixed too much.  I decided to use it on some other things, adding glitter in the mold to liven them up.

Clear and glittery Mokona
Clear and glittery Mokona

Yeah, I have no idea why there’d be a clear, purple-glittered Mokona.  (Maybe he’s exercising his powers as a god?)  Since I only dumped the glitter on the back of the mold, it’s almost entirely lumped up in the main body, with the ears having very little, and the feet almost none.  Despite that, I think it actually turned out to look kind of neat.  Though it’ll need a polishing to make it look right.

Keys to Time
Keys to Time

One of these — the one on the left of the screen — is the one from that batch.  It was really, really difficult, trying to get the glitter to go down into that mold.  Not a well thought out endeavor, and you can see that it’s not very evenly distributed within it.  The one in the center came from the same batch of resin as the second batch of eye chips. (The pale blue glow-in-the-dark glitter is fairly evident beside the purple glitter.)  I added all that purple glitter after I had finished with the eye chips.  Once I get that middle one shorn of its excess glitter and polished, I think it might look all right, but it’ll have lost the lines I carved on the polymer clay original.

Lots of glittered resin
Lots of glittered resin

Having waaaaaay too much left-over resin (I think adding the glitter somehow increased its volume a lot more than it should have), I poured the excess into this purchased mold and made all these pieces.  They look kinda cool — especially the fish and butterfly — but what the heck am I gonna do with them?!  (Though that question also applies to glittery Mokona, too.)

Now, after the third batch of eye chips, I decided to try something different with the left over resin.

More Mokona
More Mokona

I added a drop of black paint to the resin, stirred it in as gently as I could, and then poured it into the Mokona mold.  The back of this guy has the most gorgeous, obsidian-like surface.  I should have taken a picture of it.  As to the front, I think it worked out pretty well.  The ear on the right side of the picture I tried to polish up with a piece of cloth.  (A T-shirt, in fact.)  It definitely looks better than the rest, though it looks better in the picture than in person.  See, I’m worried that if I use sandpaper to polish him, then I’ll wipe off his facial details.  I mean, sure, I can just pretend they’re there and paint them on, but…it looks better with them being 3D like this.  I may try polishing him with a more rough piece of cloth and see if that works.

Oh, speaking of Mokona!

Painted Mokona
Painted Mokona

I painted the one from earlier.  Apart from that small smudge of red paint — and the fact that the air bubbles in his eyes are now painfully evident — I think he’s turned out quite nicely.

And speaking of painting things…

Finished TARDIS polymer clay doodad
Finished TARDIS polymer clay doodad

I know it’s supposed to say “Police Box” with “Public Call” in between the words, but dang!  That text would be way too tiny for me to be able to write it.  Just saying “Police” was the best I could do.  And as you can see from the way the words and especially windows look, I’m not very good at this.  My hand is very unsteady. 😦  In any case, I’ve decided that the polymer clay versions of the TARDIS and K-9 will never be the pull ring charms; I worked too hard on them to drill a hole in them.  Plus I may need to make new molds if I end up using the molds a lot.  (Mokona’s mold has developed a rip, and that’s a much simpler mold.  Admittedly, I used it a fair amount in my polymer clay days, but still!)

K-9, complete again
K-9, complete again

You may recall that I said earlier that his tail had broken off?  That was right at the joint where the two pieces of Sculpey had been attached; most likely the join was never secure, and the slight jolt had caused it to come loose.  Anyway, I glued it back on with superglue…and ended up gluing two of my fingers together while I was at it. 😦  (Fortunately, the package was right when it advised soaking them for about fifteen minutes, and I was able to get my fingers unglued without an embarrassing emergency room visit.)  So after painting him and sealing him with Sculpey glaze, I made the mold off him…and on taking him out, both his head and tail broke off in the mold.  Not at the joins, either; the Sculpey itself snapped clean in two.  (Actually, I guess I should say “in three.”)  This time, I glued him back together with Tacky Glue, which did not glue my fingers together.  (Of course, this time, I didn’t even get it on my fingers in the first place, so it’s less to do with the change in glues, and more to do with me being more careful.  Also to the glue being less inclined to go squirting off everywhere.)

Now, as to the resin versions.  Encouraged by my success with the black Mokona, I added some silver paint to the resin for K-9, so he wouldn’t need to be completely painted, and would only need detail painting.

Resin version...
Resin version…

Looking at this, your first thought might be that it looks like he worked pretty well, apart from the tip of his tail being broken off.  (It’s not actually broken, though; the resin didn’t get into that part of the mold.)  However, that thought would be wrong…

...failed.
…failed.

It turns out that the opaque resin does not like having paint added to it.  It started to foam — it almost looked like it was boiling, in fact — and come frothing out the top of the mold.  I managed to scrape a fair amount of it off K-9’s mold, so there’s not too much sticking out at the base, which is why he was able to stand.

Ick.
Ick.

This is the excess silver-paint-crazed resin that I was able to scrape out of the plastic cup once it was starting to harden a little.  I scraped it out so I could re-use the cup for the TARDIS.  I had hoped it was either the metallic color in the silver paint or the excessive stirring that had caused the frothing, or just the fact that I’d put in so much — ten whole drops! — so I tried to put a lesser amount — only two drops — of navy, non-metallic paint in the resin for the TARDIS.

"Doctor, what did you do this time?!"
“Doctor, what did you do this time?!”

Seems some crazy experiment of the Doctor’s has caused foam to splurt out the bottom of the TARDIS. 😛  (I can see the third Doctor doing that, which would probably make that Jo yelling at him.)  In addition to still causing crazy foaming (which I didn’t notice in time to scrape it off the mold) it also totally failed to color the resin, ’cause I didn’t stir it in enough.  On the plus side, the mold captured the shape beautifully, so I think this’ll still work.  I’ll just have to paint everything, or use clear resin with paint in, like for the black Mokona.  BTW, I wish I could share its texture with you; touching this thing is crazy weird.  It feels like styrofoam, only it’s incredibly hard.

The reason I didn’t notice the foaming on the TARDIS mold until it was too late is because there was enough of this tainted resin left over that I decided to use it on another new mold, made from a bow left over from the Cutie Pops dress that Freya is wearing.

Bow with glitter and foamy resin
Bow with glitter and foamy resin

This time the glitter was in the mold before the resin.  The foaming actually made the glitter well dispersed throughout, but it’s not like I can use it for anything, what with it being mostly air bubbles. 😛  The mold worked nicely, though.  Although I’m disturbed to see that it seems to have captured a part of my fingerprint next to the bow.  That’s kind of freaky.  (That part would obviously not be there on a successful, finished bow, though.)

There were other opaque resin items cast that day, though, before I started messing with the paint-in-resin catastrophes.

Most of a scarf...
Most of a scarf…

Sticking with the Doctor Who theme, here’s the resin cast of the fourth Doctor’s scarf polymer clay charm-that’s-too-big-to-be-a-charm.  I had some trouble with this one because it didn’t want to fill the whole mold (you can see I lost part of the fringe at one end) and because it turned out there was a small hole in the mold, by way of which a lot of resin escaped and made a huge mess.  Otherwise, it turned out okay, though I’m not sure what use it’ll be to anyone, being much too big to be a charm.

Gladius, mark 2
Gladius, mark 2

I also tried again with the mold I had made off Rory’s sword.  (The first one never did stop being sticky; it seems that there’s no cure for that.)  This time, apart from an air bubble giving the sword a notch, it worked quite nicely, though there’s still a flap of excess resin that needs to be cleaned off.  Still, I think this one will be just fine after it’s been cleaned and painted.

Failed shoe
Failed shoe

I made another shoe mold, this time off a pair of Barbie sandals (bright bloody pink) that fit Romana quite nicely.  Unfortunately, the mold just doesn’t work.  (Much like the previous shoe mold doesn’t work, because the toe area gets filled in with resin, preventing Pyrrha from being able to wear it.)  I think I’m going to have to give in and stop being cheap:  I’m just going to have to buy my girls some shoes instead of making them myself.  I don’t know what would be the right way to make a mold off of doll shoes, but what I’ve got just is not capable of it.

Did I already say "Ick"?
Did I already say “Ick”?

These snakeskin-looking things are pieces of resin that dried on my arm, which I didn’t notice until much later.  (Presumably, some of the resin that escaped through the hole in the scarf mold.)  I guess if I ever have need to make artificial snakeskin, I now know how:  paint a thin layer of resin on the underside of my arm, and allow it to dry, then peel it off.  I can’t imagine needing to make resin snakeskin, but…

Anyway, this may seem like “a record of failure” but it’s just the learning process.  The instructions provided with the resin were not very informative, and I didn’t bother looking for tips online, so this is me fumbling my way to figuring things out for myself.  (Not the fastest route, but in some ways the best.)  I have a few more experiments to run, and after that, I’m hoping I’ll have gotten the basics licked, and will be able to do some serious casting, maybe even be able to make those TARDIS charms well enough to sell them.  (Though I’m going to try again, I think the K-9 mold isn’t going to work out.  Like with the shoes, I needed a different way to make his mold.  But I don’t have any other way at present.)

I would still kind of like to be able to paint my own eye chips, so when I was at Michael’s I bought something that will hopefully let me paint perfectly round pupils.  (Hopefully.)  I’m also thinking it might be interesting trying to place a flat, round black bead in the chip to be the pupil, but I haven’t got such a bead handy at present, and I’m not totally sure that would work.  (It might sink down too far, and that wouldn’t look good at all.)  Another experiment I’m going to conduct involves total-glitter eyes.  I’ve seen others selling chips like that, though, so maybe that means I couldn’t sell total-glitter eye chips because it would be copying them?

Well, anyway, there are a few more photos of this batch — including K-9’s other painted side — so you can check out the gallery if you’re interested.

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