Monday, December 5, 2011

Casting with tissue paper

I have been going to do some casting for quite a while.  Over six months in fact.  I have a few sheets of water soluble paper, but you know what it's like, when you only have a little of something, you put off using it.
however, the other day, I had been laminating some napkins into my art book and had all the bits of tissue I peeled off from the top layer of the napkins which was going to waste.
I thought, what if I tried casting with molds using the tissue and some PVA or medium?  And so I had a go.
Here is the cast I used.  It is flexible and rubbery.
I cast it from this metal pendant I picked up at a market for a dollar or two.  As you can see it has very defined lines and is hard.  That's what makes a good mold.
I used this product to make the molds, then cooked them in the oven.
Here are a few other things,  metal tablecloth weights I used to make molds. 
It's pretty easy, you just press the item into the mold, peel it off carefully -
And you have molds, which are stable and rubbery after they are cooked.
Here is the leaf with the first layer of tissue and PVA (on the right.  the one on left was a silk leaf, which didn't work, so ignore it).
Here is the leaf when finished.  I used about eight layers of tissue, each wetted down with PVA and a brush.
When I felt there were enough layers, I set the molds aside to dry.
I had many successes and many failures.
Here are the things I learnt
  • always wait until completely dry otherwise they might come off incomplete as some may stick to the mold.
  • flex the mold before removing the cast, to allow the cast to come away from the mold properly.
  • although talcum powder will work with polymer clay casting to stop sticking, it doesn't work here, because the PVA is water based and the effect of the talc is lost
  • I did not solve the sticking problem in this session.  I have read about using vaseline in the molds, but am loathe to try it, because it may alter the paintability of the casts.
  • My husband has suggested soapy water allowed to dry, but it might leave bubbly bits.  Perhaps brushing on some dish liquid an allowing to dry might work
Anyway, that is where I am at with casting.  I think I may have to bite the bullet and try out the water soluble paper as well, but that is for another day.
Here are a few more of the casts I made.  I have rubbed them with a little gold wax rub on (home made - I will show you the recipe when I get around to it, or someone asks) so you can see the details easier.

All in all a very productive day - even with the failures.

It's always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile. 
Garry Marshall,