Mold making and casting is an easy and fun way to make numerous copies of a sculpture or other ready piece.
The process begins with making a mold of the original model. A mold is nothing but a negative of the model that is made by applying a mold making material around the model. This hollow cavity can be made with a variety of materials such as simple clay, wax and gypsum or more elaborate materials such as moulage, polyurethane resin, silicone rubber, latex rubber, thermoset rubber and the like. Alginate is a skin-safe material that is particularly useful for making molds from the human body.
Molds can be made using different techniques ranging from simply pouring or brushing the mold making material all over the original model to more complicated glove, slush and injection mold making methods. Again, if the model is quite complicated with undercuts on all sides, the mold will have to be made in two or more parts which come together to form the complete mold later. You will need to make spues and keys as well. The setting time and demolding time of the material needs to be kept in mind to ensure that the mold comes off properly.
Once a mold is ready, it is time to make a cast. Now a cast is a positive of the model and once finished, will be an exact reproduction of the original model. Again, this opens up a choice of materials such as plaster, gypsum, latex rubber, silicone rubber, polyurethane resin and more. It is even possible to make faux metal, wood and stone casts by using appropriate cold casting powders. In fact, the choice of mold making material often depends on the material you want to finally cast in the mold.
You may even need to add fillers to give the appropriate feel to the cast. Once demolded properly, the cast has to be finished by cleaning, brushing, buffing and polishing. Some chipping also may be needed. Paints and makeup is what provides the final finished look to the cast.
Both mold making and casting require the use of release agents to ensure that the demolding is smooth and easy. They also call for specific tools and equipment for practicing the art.
In sum, making molds and casts is enjoyable and interesting too. However, it requires care and practice to perfect the art before you will be able to churn out accurate reproductions of anything you wish.
Last but not the least; the most beautiful casts will still look incomplete without a name plate specifying the details of the art piece. You would do better to opt for an engraved brass name plate in an elegant low luster finish. The brass name plate will stylishly announce the title of the cast, date and your name as the artist.