It’s no secret that you can use silicone mold putty to create your own molds. But there are a few tricks that I can share which make it a wee bit easier. I’ll be sharing some cool projects in the coming weeks and you’ll need some molds for that. So here’s how you can make silicone molds from charms.
What is Silicone Mold Putty?
I wrote about silicone mold putty previously, so if you’re curious about silicone rubber and the kinds of molds you can make with it, make sure you read Silicone Rubber Mold Material, an Introduction. For today we’re going to use a two part silicone putty. In the US, the most commonly found brands are Easy Mold, which is purple, and Amazing Mold Putty, which is yellow. They’re pretty comparable (read a comparison here) but there are other brands which you can use that work just the same. Easy Mold and Amazing Mold Putty come in larger volumes. But if you need a smaller amount, there’s a lavender (pink + blue) one from Best Flexible Molds and even smaller amounts in Christi Friesen’s Mold Making Kits. Silgum Gedeo is available at HobbyCraft stores in the UK. I’ve used it as well and it’s a fine product. Plus it’s blue. 😉 It doesn’t really matter what brand of mold putty you use for making silicone molds from charms, so go with the best price and availability you can find where you are.
In my local craft store there are dozens upon dozens of interesting charms that are sold for jewelry making. You can certainly use the charms for that purpose. But because the charms are often specific to an interest or hobby, they can be a great source of motifs or 3-D images that you can use in other ways with polymer clay. For instance. Halloween is coming and I wanted to make a spooky skull pendant. I’m not very good at sculpting. But I could easily find a charm to copy, make a mold, and then use the mold to create a polymer clay motif for a pendant. Or maybe you have a neat jewelry charm that you want to replicate to make matching earrings.
This technique is going to work best with a flat charm. If it lies flat on the table, this how-to will work. For the old fashioned miniature charms (think a 1950’s charm bracelet) or for Pandora charms, you’ll need to use a different molding method because they’re not flat.
And please remember, unless you carved the image of the charm yourself, someone else owns the copyright, so please keep duplicated charms for personal use.
Remove the Loop
Most charms are made from a cheap metal alloy that my mother always called “pot metal“. I don’t know what it is, but it’s quite brittle and will usually break when you try to bend it. That means you can easily remove the loop, though. Just take a pair of pliers or cutters and just bend the loop off. It will usually snap cleanly, but if a jagged edge remains you can easily sand it off with some sandpaper. Or rub it on the sidewalk in front of your house. (I’m serious…sidewalks are cheap sandpaper, really.)
How to Make Silicone Molds from Charms
- Silicone Mold Putty, your choice of brand
- A flat backed charm to mold
- Pliers and sandpaper if you need to remove the loop
- A smooth work surface, such as a ceramic tile
- A clear, flat piece of something such as an acrylic sheet or a piece of picture frame glass, larger than your charm
- Determine how much mold putty you need. Use some scrap polymer clay or ball of ONE component of your mold putty to create a blob the right size for molding your charm. Flatten the blob so that the charm will fit down into it with room around so that the charm doesn’t break through the edges of the putty/clay.
- Remove the charm. Form a ball with the putty/clay and divide it in half. This is how much you’ll need of each part of the silicone mold putty.Tip: If you used polymer clay to test how much putty you’ll need, make sure you wipe the charm with alcohol. Polymer clay residue can inhibit the cure of silicone mold putty, leaving the surface of your mold sticky and soft.
- Form one ball of part A and part B of your mold putty, making sure they’re the size you gauged in the previous step. Both should be the same size. Note: I probably used way too much mold putty here, my mold is quite a bit larger than my charm.
- Mix thoroughly with your hands until there are no swirls of color remaining. Gloves are not required. It will feel a bit oily, but it’s safe for your skin. Do this step quickly. The mold putty will begin to set and needs to be completely cast within three minutes.
- Create a patty shape with the mold putty, make it slightly larger than your charm.
- Press the charm into the mold putty. Don’t press too deeply.
- Very important. Use your fingers to gently push the mold putty up to the edges of the charm. Push it in snug to the charm, but don’t push the mold material over the charm.Tip: When creating molds, it’s very tempting to push the item deeply into the mold material. Try to avoid this because the mold material is naturally pushed away from the charm as you push it in, the mold putty splaying outward. This leads to a poorly shaped impression that is far wider than the item you’re trying to cast.
- Now place the clear glass or acrylic over the charm and press down lightly so that you’re creating a flat surface on the mold putty that’s level with the back of the charm.
- Set aside until cured. For Easy Mold and Amazing Mold Putty, this is about 25 minutes (longer if cold, shorter if temperatures are warm). Silgum takes a bit longer, if I remember correctly.
- Once the mold putty is cured (and can’t be scraped with a fingernail), just pop off the glass, peel the mold off the work surface, and remove the charm. You should have a nice, detailed mold for an exact replica of your charm.
You can fill the mold with polymer clay, fondant, hot glue, UTEE, or even resin. Though I will have to say, I haven’t had the best results when using resin with silicone putty molds. I think the molds need time to cure and “age”. Older molds, apparently, are fine.
If you’re having trouble removing your unbaked polymer clay charm replica from the mold without distortion, remember that you can bake silicone molds with the polymer clay inside and remove after baking. Easy Mold and Amazing Mold Putty are both safe in the oven to 395°F (200°C). Other brands are similar, but please double-check the instructions to be sure exactly how hot you can bake the silicone mold.
Next post I’ll show you how I use my charm molds to make pendants and other interesting things. I’ll also show you how I fill commercially available molds and even cameos. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss the next post. Thanks!
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Sources: I purchased charms for this article from Pink Supply and CMVision on Etsy. They both had a very nice selection. And also, for charms and metal stampings of all kinds, don’t miss B’Sue Boutiques. Brenda Sue does a great job.
35 thoughts on “How to Make Silicone Molds from Charms”
Hi Ginger! I am so happy to have found your site and all of its useful information. I do have a question about molds and would be grateful if you could lead me in the right direction. Loved this article and would like to make molds of my clay designs so I can quickly replicate them. You stated that polymer clay leaves a residue that prevents the mold putty from curing, is there something I can do to my clay model? If the clay is already baked and painted with acrylic paint can it be used? Thank you!
Yes, polymer clay can sometimes inhibit the cure of silicone mold putty. I found that using Easy Mold (the purple one) doesn’t suffer from this at all with baked clay. So use that and you should be good to go.
I have a two part question. 1. can I use oxidized brass stampings with the Amazing Silicone mold material or should I clean surfaces off using Penny Brite brass cleaner first? 2. Will a sheet of plexiglass work as a work surface for making the molds? Thanks for all the great information as I am a newby to mold making and do not want to waste the expensive mold material. I’ll be using resin for the pourings, and it is white so cloudiness won’t matter. Just need to make sure oxidized brass will not inhibit mold setting up correctly. Thanks, Linda
I am not aware of oxidized brass causing a problem, but I don’t actually know the answer. You could contact the people at Alumlite (the Amazing Mold Putty People) and see what they say. You could also just try a tiny pea-sized amount and see if it cures completely. As for plexiglass, yes, that’s exactly what I use to flatten the mold. Acrylic and plexi-glass are the same thing.
Hi Ginger! This is my second article of yours to read. Great article! I was wondering if these molds would be able to do a sculpted Christmas ornament. They stand maybe 4″ tall they are not the flat type of ornaments.
Silicone molds are used for all sizes of creations. Do try to keep polymer clay thinner than 1/4 -1/2″, though, as it can crack when made really thick.
Please give me some advice. I’ve used most of a 1 lb package of easy mold over the past couple years trying to make molds of various small objects and not a single one has been usable. The back of my molds turn out nice and smooth but the imprinted side gets all these weird tiny craters all over like it bubbled or something. I can’t figure out why it’s doing this. And of the back always looks nice and flat, why doesn’t my imprint of smooth objects turn out smooth? =/
What are you taking a mold of? Some items can cause cure inhibition with some silicon mold putties. If you’re referring to using resin in the resulting purple mold, then there is some issue there as well. In short, I need more information…
I’ve tried taking a mold of metal charms, plastic buttons, coconut buttons, clear stamps, rubber stamps, polymer clay stamps, my dog’s feet, and I don’t know what else. They end up with these tiny little dents all over, and if I try to put polymer clay into the molds I’ve made, it turns out all weird and rough and crusty, and the mold keeps a film of cooked clay in it, I think because the little holes hang onto it.
Hello! Have you tried using Amazing mold rubber?
No, I haven’t. It’s a liquid silicone mold, so you would have to use a box to hold the material to create a mold.
Can this method be used with a baked polymer clay creation opposed to a pre-existing charm? I would like to make duplicates of creations more quickly and effectively, not sure if this will work
Yes, Emily, you can. If you’re using Kato Polyclay and Amazing Mold Putty, however, there can often be cure inhibition and the fine detail might be lost. But stick with one of the other clay brands and/or Easy Mold and you’ll have better results.
Thank you so much for this article. Very clever, actually. I was looking to learn how to use charms to make my own for jewelry making. This is great. THANKS.
I want to make my own copper clay bases. I do not like to order bases from crafty story. Sometimes do not have size or shape which I need. Because of that I decide to make my own bases with copper clay. Inside the bases I put polymer clay and resin. This is my plan.
I wont to have same bases, because of that I have plan to make silicone mold from my bases.
Can I use silicone mold from that?
Hi Maja, Yes, you can use silicone molds to make bezels. Absolutely. You could mold one of the ones you already have. Or you could purchase molds that work this way. Polyform has some fairly plain ones (http://www.sculpey.com/product/bezel-mold/). There is also a product called CaBezels, available from a Canadian supplier (http://www.shadesofclay.com/products/Exclusives/CaBezels/CaBezels.htm). But for more intricate ones, you can also get a set from ModPodge (http://www.plaidonline.com/mod-podge-mod-molds-ornaments/202/24890/product.htm). Plus there are many Etsy sellers who have them, too. Good luck!
I’ve used Sculpey Mold Maker so far and it works well for charms. It’s a single component putty that is fairly sticky to work with when warm, but I use corn starch to solve that problem. You also have to bake this mold maker as it does not set up without baking. The other great thing about this product is that if I have dry or too-stiff clay, I can add a touch and it softens the clay right up. BE FRUGAL when using it for this use or it will ruin your clay! I suggest adding literal pinches at a time until your clay is softened to your liking. Anyway, I love the tip of the glass or acrylic over it. That isn’t something I’ve considered before. Thanks for another great article, Ginger!
Mold Maker is an interesting little product, isn’t it? I used it years ago and it certainly has its purpose. I like that it’s harder than a silicone mold, so it doesn’t “squish” the design the same way that silicone does. I’ve never used it for softening, but perhaps I need to try that.
It is. I’ve used it to soften again today. I’d bought a block of bronze Primo that is a little dry. I do like the firmness of the molds and texture plates I’ve made too, Especially for textures since they are not so easy to work with anyway. But I think I’ll try to get some silicone mold and try it. Though I bought some silicone textures and clay stuck very badly to it the one time I’ve used it. I wonder why that is?
That’s odd, are you sure they were silicone texture sheets? Quite often rubber will be colored (I mean not pink-red rubber colored) but it will still be rubber. You’re going to love silicone putty…it’s so much fun.
Yet another great article from you, Ginger. Although I have made molds before, as you describe, I had never thought of using a piece of glass/acrylic to get a nice flat surface. Once again, thanks for sharing.
🙂 The flat surface really makes the mold easier to use, too. I’ll be playing with that today. Yay!
Thanks for the great post~ I am right there with you I am all about making tools out of stuff from around the house- Some of my my best tools and my favorite tools are those I made out of upcycled odds and ends from around the house etc…I think it so fun and such a treasure when you find come up with a new “tool” I do use a Silpat silicone mat for baking but that is recycled too 😉 and I cut it up to for a few sheet pans. I like using the small sheet pans because I can fit alot on one pan. No shiny spots either and always ready to go
Maybe I should have a compilation post sometime readers contribute their best tips. That would be fascinating. People are so darned creative. I like the idea of using sheet pans, too.
Thanks for this article. I too have found resin in silicone molds just doesn’t seem to work, the resin always comes out with a frosted look great if that is what you want though.
I have made many molds using bought trinkets etc.
I have used concrete(sidewalk) for sanding many times also for a texture on clay and have made a mold as well.
I love the way your use the second clear acrylic/glass I always placed my “original item” back down and mold the silicone over it but your way is much better, a great tip thank you.
I do think there is a brand of resin that’s supposed to work with silicone mold putty, but I’m not sure which it is. I used to always put the charm down and then put the putty over the top. But I couldn’t see what was happening. When you do it this way, you can see exactly how hard to push down so that you don’t get distortion.
Thank you I have heard of one to but not sure which .
You trick with the clear acrylic is as you say simple but so effective. I will definitly use it next time I mold something.
Thank you for all you posts they are very very helpful and inspiring.
All I need now is more time to experiment and play play play.
PS you also get a level mold for working with which is handy.
Ah! The level mold is for a reason! I will be using that factor in the upcoming projects that I mentioned. That’s why I needed to write this article first. I’ve got a grand plan, you see. 😉
Hi. Would you know what else has the same effect as Magic Glos. I can’t get it in Aussie, and thought there may be a substitute that you know of. Thanks
Sure. Magic Glos is Lisa Pavelka’s brand of UV resin. Although there are other UV resins, I don’t know which ones might be available in Australia. You can, however, purchase Magic Glos through The Whimsical Bead (they’re in Victoria). Here’s the link: http://www.thewhimsicalbead.com.au/index.php?option=com_mijoshop&route=product/product&path=980_803&product_id=2165&Itemid=1120
That last step–pushing a piece of glass/acrylic down on top of the whole thing–that seems key to the success of the whole process, and yet I have never thought of it myself!! Thank you so much for posting another terrific and helpful article. You are the best!!
Well, there weren’t really any big secrets here, but yes, sometimes a simple tip makes the light bulb go on. I’m glad I could spark an “A-ha” moment for you. 🙂
Great article! I love your comment about the ‘sidewalk sand paper’. Those of us with limited economic margin have known this and many other uses for common things. Necessity is the mother of invention indeed. Actually I think many of these inventive uses came down from wise crafty grandmas and great-grandmas who did not have the myriad of tols, supplies, and materials we now have. In this age of economic need I hope many young crafters find your idea most useful.
I was raised to be extremely frugal and so I do try to use thrifty solutions when I can. No matter how much money someone has, it’s always appreciated when you can stretch it further, I think. Have you seen the article on Thrifting for Your Polymer Clay Studio that I wrote with Katie of Kater’s Acres? I also tend to use things like a ceramic tile and copy paper for my work surfaces rather than an expensive silicone mat. And then there’s tools. Have you seen my article on Cheap Polymer Clay Tools from Around the House? Gee, I didn’t realize I wrote so much on being frugal. My mother would be proud, eh? 🙂
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