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Making Slumping Molds from Clay


This is part three of a multi-part tip on making slumping molds from clay.  Click here to start with part one.


Once you've selected your clay, the next step is to gather the materials you'll need for making the mold.  The required items fall into four main categories:


1.  Basic pottery working tools


Any pottery or ceramic supplier should be able to provide the basic tools you need (many of them can even be fashioned from household items if necessary).  These include a soft sponge, cutting wire (can be an old guitar string), a fettling knife (or smooth blade kitchen knife), and a pin tool (or nail).  Other basic tools such as a steel rib or brayer can also come in handy, especially if the mold is to be textured.


2.  Tools for rolling out the clay


In addition to a heavy duty rolling pin (if you use one from the kitchen, dedicate it to the studio, don't try to clean it and return for use in baking), you'll need at least two strips of wood in even thickness.  1/4" (6mm), 3/8" (9mm), and 1/2" (12mm) are good thicknesses to use.  You can use wooden yard sticks or paint stirrers if you wish.


3.  A drape mold form


Although special "hump" molds are available from pottery suppliers, you may prefer to use a more interesting shape.  This can be any found item with a shape you'd like to use to form the mold. 


4. Armor All or Murphy's Oil Soap


This will be used as a resist when making the mold.


It's also helpful to have a lazy susan or banding wheel or similar turntable that can be used to help shape the mold, but you can get by without this if necessary.


Once you've gathering the proper materials, it's time to start the process of making the mold.


Coming soon -- part four of this tip, which focuses on rolling out and making the mold.


Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Special thanks to Leslie Ihde for her assistance with this writeup.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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