Thursday, 2 September 2010

Can't decide what to do

I'm having a period of time where I have lots of ideas in mind for things to make - I just can't decide what to do first!

I'm glad that I've got a lot of ideas going, but just wish I could settle to something.

Last night I got really fed up with myself and made myself sit down and do one thing, so I thought I'd tell you about it.

Moulding compound
The first task was to use some two part moulding compound to make moulds of 3 buttons I bought while I was away on holiday. The idea of making moulds from buttons was given to me by the wonderful Nic of Murano Silver with whom I have done one course on using Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and I can't wait for the next course I have booked with her in October this year. The moulding compound I use comes in 2 parts, as you can see from the pots in the photo, I don't have much left of these pots.

You take equal amount of each of the compounds and using your fingers work the two pieces of compound together until you end up with a light blue mixture. While the compound is still soft (and it doesn't stay that way for more than a few minutes) you press a button (or other object you want an impression of) into the compound and then leave it to set. I learnt recently that you can keep working the compound in your fingers, but when it's ready to set it will set - I overworked a piece because it was just so squidgy and fun to play with, at least until it turn rock solid between my fingers and had to go in the bin.

This is my favourite of the buttons that I wanted to mould and the mould that I made from it last night.
Heart button and mould
And here is a picture of all the moulds I have made recently.
Moulds of buttons
Once I get my act together I will use some PMC that I have already bought and use the moulds to make fine silver charms. PMC (or ArtClay) can be used to "sculpt" items in a way similar to clay and then when they are fired (in a kiln, with a torch or on a gas hob) the "binder" that they contain burns off and leaves behind a solid fine silver item. The moulds can be used many times so here is one of my favourite buttons with it's mould.
Swirl button and mould
And here are the 3 pieces I have made (so far) based on the button's mould.
Swirl button and moulded charms

On one of the charms above I remembered to drill a hole for a jump ring to be threaded through before I fired the piece on the gas hob (I don't own a kiln, although I'd really like one!) for the other two I forgot to drill a hole so will need to find another way to attach them to chains. The charm in the lower left of the photo has had a small cubic zirconia gem set into it - although the gem isn't very straight unfortunately. As you can see from the photo above the final charms are smaller in size than the original button, this is because when the binder burns off the piece shrinks slightly in size.

Until another time

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