Mold and Cast

So after toying with the clay for a while I came to the conclusion that a straight clay puppet was not a good idea. They are just too hard to work with and stay consistent. So I decided instead to try a silicone puppet. So I watched more than 30 hours worth of tutorials leading up to the Denver Comic Con. They had a few panels that were covering it and answered a few questions and confirmed the process I planned to follow. So I went over to Reynolds Advanced Materials with my lovely and supportive lady and picked up a trial size kit of Mold Star 30 and Dragon Skin 10 Silicon.


Here is Cecil without his hair or eyes preparing to be molded for the first time. I could have molded the clay hair with him but I decided to go a different route which I will get into later.


The standard technique for molding is that you use a separate clay to build a base around half of your sculpture making sure that it is sealed against the sculpture to ensure it doesn’t leak when you add the mold compound. Then you build a mold box out of clay or plexiglass. I started with clay. It’s important to press holes into the base clay to create keys to line up the mold for casting.


This is me mixing part A and part B of the mold compound.


After it is mixed I start with a thin layer over the sculpture to help avoid air bubbles.


Then I top it off. Turns out I didn’t need as much as I used, but it was my first time so I gave myself a pass.


Then I stared at it for a while hoping that would speed up the 7 hour demold time. It didn’t.


After the really long wait I peeled away the clay mold box and the clay buildup.


It’s very important when doing the clay buildup on the first part to press holes into the clay to create keys. You can see the keys created in that last photo.


Then apply a mold release, fill it and wait another 7 hours.


After both halves are done you have your mold!


Mine is pretty rough around the edges but I like it. So I make a skull. It’s just something that the armature wire can hold on to.


I got a little cocky and tried to add armature wire to make a mouth. I put the skull into the mold, mixed my Dragon Skin silicone, added the pigment for color and poured it in. I don’t have a picture of the process since the stuff I bought only has a six minute pot life. Meaning I have six minutes from beginning to mix the compound until it begins to set. So I was in a hurry. But here is it after I poured it. It was messy.


Since I bought the fast stuff it only took 75 minutes to set. A mistake for someone new to this. Here is the first look at Cecil.


He had some major air bubble issues, which comes with the fast cure stuff, and his skull wasn’t placed well.



Here he is after cleaning him up a bit.


Next post will be of the second attempt at casting with the same mold.



Gertrude, or Gertie, is Cecil’s love interest in the film, so I wanted her to at least look somewhat female. I spent a few days trying to figure out what made a face female, and this is where I finally gave up and said it was as close as I was going to get.


Then I decided she looked horrible and a bit scary and not in a good way. So I tried again and came up with this.


Much happier with that one. So I set out to build her body. I used armature wire, plumbers epoxy, and a dowel with a hole drilled in it to hold her head.


I gave her some “curves” using duct tape and foam.


Then I made her a dress and shawl combo out of an old skirt I found in a box of clothes from when my kids were babies. Hot glued them on and put some clay on the wire and we are off to the races.

Next up, I make a very pricey decision.

Strike a pose.

Here is Cecil in another light test. I was trying to make sure the sculpture’s cheeks and eyes cast the shadows I was hoping for. I like it. You can see the small wire armatures I made to begin thinking about how I would make his hands.


Light Test

I wanted to try a picture using the lighting style I am hoping to shoot with. Here is Cecil Grimm (sans hands), Dobby, and the last know picture of the photo bombing head.


A Sharp Dressed Man

I don’t have any sweet sewing skills, so I had to hot glue an outfit together, but it’s just a test outfit at the moment. For the one that goes on screen I will enlist the help on my super hero of a crafter girlfriend. For now here is Cecil. Notice his flowing grey, frayed, jacket and pants combo. He’s ready for a night on the town in his shirt that is just a baby wipe hot glued to his body. It’s what all the hippest people are wearing this summer.



First armature for Cecil. Sorry the pic is so blurry. I used wire for the limbs, plumbers epoxy for the waist and chest, and a dowel with a hole drilled in it to hold the neck. Then taped some foam around for shape.


My first Cecil

This is the first attempt at a human face. It ended up being the sculpture I used to create the first mold for my main character, Cecil. The other little guy photo bombing was just something I was toying with.


My First Sculpture. Ever.

To start getting used to the plasticine clay I decided to sculpt a practice piece. I chose Dobby from Harry Potter.

A Journey Begins

I probably should have started the blog at the same time as the project but I was too excited to get working on it.

The project is a short animation staring two puppets, Cecil and Gertrude. Once I upload the pictures of the work I’ve done so far I will post them.

This is my first stop motion project, and even with the excitement level I have had thus far, I am pretty nervous about it. I’ve never sculpted, molded, or cast anything before, so it’s all new territory.

I am hoping to have the film finished by the end of the year, but if you’ve ever done stop motion then you know how tedious this process can be.

Thanks for checking it out.