When it comes to casting jewelry, mold creation is something that comes as a fundamental step in its process. However, only making an accurate and detailed mold for this purpose would allow the user or an artisan to create perfect designs, reproducing them for making multiple pieces. Different materials are used to build these molds, and each of these types has its advantage and disadvantages. Here in this article, we will look at the different types of rubbers that can be utilized for this purpose along with the most suitable step-by-step method of how to make rubber molds for casting jewelry. Let’s dig into it!
How to Make Rubber Molds for Casting Jewelry; An Introduction to Different Raw Materials
The concept of introducing these types is to make sure people have an understanding of the available options. It will help them in the selection of the most suitable material for their specific needs and would ensure successful and high-quality casting results for their projects.
Among the several types of materials that can be used for making molds of jewelry, some common options include Silicone Rubber, Polyurethane Rubber, Latex Rubber, Alginate, and RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) Silicone. Apart from these rubber-based materials; Alginate, Metal Clay, and 3D Printing Resin are also used.
Silicone Rubber is the most common material that is used for the making of jewelry casting molds because it’s not only durable and flexible but also has a high capacity to capture and reproduce intricate details of the objects. It comes in different formulations for instance a tin cure silicone or platinum cure silicone with respective curing techniques for each.
When it comes to shelf life, Polyurethane Rubber is comparatively longer than silicone rubber. These molds are usually used for high-volume production and casting of materials that are quite aggressive or more volatile.
The third and the most cost-effective material is Latex. It’s the most commonly used raw material for making jewelry molds. These are used to create simple and small pieces of jewelry and their life span is comparatively short too.
RTV Silicone is another type of rubber that can be used for making jewelry molds and cures at room temperature. They usually come in two different liquid parts just like a resin that are mixed to form a mold.
How to Make Rubber Molds for Casting Jewelry; Factors to Consider Before Choosing Any Material
Each product requires specific needs for its production. Similarly, the mold’s raw material is selected based on various factors such as the details of the jewelry, complexity, and the number of casts that will be required to produce it. While selecting any raw material, an individual must always consider all these factors to choose a type that would best suit their specific requirements.
How to Make Rubber Molds for Casting Jewelry; A Step-to-Step Process
The creation of rubber molds for casting jewelry has several steps, however, a general 10-step process involves:
1. Selecting the right material for mold making. The material must be durable and should serve the purpose and needs accordingly. Latex can be suitable for simple jewelry making whereas Polyurethane Rubber can be used to serve the high production needs for volatile materials.
2. The area where mold making process is performed must be well-ventilated with protective sheets.
3. The jewelry piece must be cleaned to eliminate any dirt from it. A gentle cleaning process using soap with water can be used and it must be dried afterwards.
4. A mold box must be built. For that, acrylic sheets, cardboard, or Lego bricks can be utilized. It should have a height and size larger than the jewelry piece for accommodating mold material.
5. The next step is to position the jewelry piece inside the mold box. The individual must place it following their needs of how they want it to appear during casting.
6. In the next step, the mold material must be mixed and poured into the box until the jewelry piece is completely covered. The instructions provided with the material must be followed.
7. If any air bubbles are present, a gentle taping of the mold material against a hard surface would release them to get a smooth surface.
8. Each material has a specified curing time, once it’s in place, allow the mold to cure without disturbing it. It can take hours or even a complete night for it.
9. Once it has been completely cured, it’s time to de-mold the jewelry piece from it. The step must be performed with care otherwise there are chances that the mold would get damaged during it.
10. The final step requires trimming and cleaning the mold. If there is any excess rubber at the edges, they must be removed using a knife. It must be inspected to see if any debris is present. A soft brush can be used to clean it for ensuring it’s reading for casting jewelry.
Once the rubber mold is ready, you can now proceed to cast your jewelry piece using any casting material of your choice. It could be resin, metal, or wax depending upon your choice. However, the appropriate casting techniques must be followed while keeping in mind the safety precautions for the specific material that is being used.
The art of casting jewelry cannot be performed unless and until the user has a jewelry casting mold with them. The molds can be made of various materials and it depends on the user to see which type suits them the best. However, a few of the available options include Silicone Rubber, Polyurethane Rubber, Latex Rubber, and RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) Silicone.
A general process that requires a containment box, mold-making material, and a cleaned piece of jewelry can then be followed to come up with a final mold which then can be used to produce multiple pieces of it. However, general instructions and precautions must always be kept in mind while working with any material. The process is indeed an art and you can enjoy it if it’s done in the right order!