Hobby Lobby stores in the US have been carrying more products by Viva Decor and one of the latest new products is the Patchy mold sets. They are a line of flexible, double-sided push molds which simultaneously shape the back and front of a piece of polymer clay or air dry clay. I purchased the leaf and the flower mold sets and brought them home to put them through their paces.
What you Get
Each set consists of a 2 part silicone mold and a small cutter. The leaf set I purchased had two cutters. The cutters themselves are standard metal cutters but are of very good quality with no seam “bump”. Unlike most metal cutters, these are strong enough that they’re unlikely to bend with use. They also have a vinyl coating on the top edge that’s quite similar to the dip plastic used for tool handles.
The molds themselves are made from what appears to be silicone and the two parts of the mold are attached to each other by a thin strip of the silicone. The two parts of the molds fit together well.
The package has simple instructions on the back.
How to Use Patchy Molds
It is dead simple to use Patchy molds. Just roll out a sheet of clay, cut with the supplied cutter, put the shape onto one half of the patch mold, then press down with the other half. Open it up and voilà! A perfectly formed shape.
(That’s a joke…my impressions…of the mold…get it? Okay, never mind.) I really did like using the Patchy mold sets. I’m used to using silicone molds with polymer clay and they’re always limited because they don’t texture the back side. There are lots of instructions out there for 2 part mold processes, like this one by Rebekah Payne, but until now I’d not noticed a commercially available 2 part mold that shaped both the back and front. This kit makes it very, very simple to make a polymer clay shape that is textured on both sides.
The molds themselves are very detailed. I did notice a bit of “mold debris”, or extra specks of molding material around the center of the flower, making it look a bit sloppy. But it isn’t bad and in general the detail of these molds is very good.
Because the halves of the mold can only fit together one way, the top and the bottom of the leaf and flower lined up well. And in addition to the great texture of the molds, the shapes are complimentary as well. So the leaf undulates and curves like a leaf should, and the flower shape is cupped the way a flower should be cupped. The flower is actually quite deep.
The instructions don’t tell you to use a mold release, and I don’t think you’d ever really need one, but if so I’d just use a spritz of water. I didn’t have too much trouble removing the shapes from the mold, but it does work best if you bend the mold away from the clay rather than trying to pull the clay out of the mold.
One thing to note, if you’re using the flower mold, make sure you line the petals of your cut out piece up with the shape of the mold. The leaf, however, was fool-proof and as long as the point of the leaf is lined up with the center vein of the mold, you are good to go.
Hmm…not really. They work as intended and they work very well. I never like using commercial molds in general because they’re going to look like everyone else’s. If you want a bit of variation, it’s easy to shape and twist the leaves a bit after they come out of the mold. You can make them more curled, for instance.
I do have to say, though, what’s with the name? Patchy Molds. I guess because you use a patch of clay? I keep thinking it says Patchouli. Maybe it makes more sense in German, as Viva Decor is a German company? I have no idea.
Where to Buy
Like I said, I found these molds in my local Hobby Lobby Store. If you buy them there, you might want to take advantage of this mail-in offer that I found online. If you buy a Patchy Mold from Hobby Lobby and send in the receipt to Viva Decor, they’ll send you a small package of Pardo Jewellery Clay (not the same thing as Pardo Art Clay).
But if don’t have a Hobby Lobby around you, then Trish at Poly Clay Play does carry them as well. In fact, she carries many of Viva Decor’s products (including Translucent Pardo Art Clay).
Uses for the Patchy Molds
Well the first thing I thought of was to make dangly leaves for earrings. And the flower molds would make nice earrings, too.
You could use these molds for jewelry making, mixed media work, sculpting, making dioramas…pretty much anything you use molded polymer clay for.
I noticed that the leaf mold in particular is a similar texture to a poinsettia plant. So I molded out a few leaves in red glitter Fimo. And what do you know…these leaves would make a very good poinsettia plant in polymer clay. I just did this real quick for a proof of concept, but you could attach the leaves to a backing and make really nice poinsettia ornaments.
But I was really excited to realize that these molds worked beautifully with the techniques in my Faux Glass Effects Tutorial to make a faux Czech glass leaf. Perfect for fall weather, these leaf dangles made me very happy!
Want to make faux glass leave like that?
Check out my Faux Glass Effects Tutorial. You can read all about it here. The tutorial explains how to make faux Czech glass and the technique would work very well with these (or any) push molds, too.
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