Adventures in Molding and Casting

These days I’m diving deep into molding and casting my sculptures. I recently finished my Crow relief and figured it would be the perfect guinea pig! Here’s the original piece:


This is a new world to me so I have a lot to learn. Luckily it’s fun and I have some awesome people around to help :) My wonderful sculpting friend Brooke Howell said she would help me do a simple glove mold for my Crow relief. First we stopped off at at Denver’s Reynolds to pick up some molding and casting supplies. They mostly carry Smooth-On products. The folks there were super helpful giving us lots of tips. We decided a silicon mold made with Dragon Skin 20 would give a nice blend of flexibility and strength.

The mold came out beautifully!!! Next is was time to cast…


Smooth Cast 300: On our Reynolds trip we also picked up some Smooth Cast 300 which I believe is a Polyurethane Resin*. This is the first casting material we tried and the cast came out nicely too! The details – even the thin tongue – came out so well. And no air bubbles :) But boy is that stuff toxic… and the pot life is so short I felt frantic (the pot life is the time inbetween mixing the casting material and when it starts to harden). Also it has this plactic look and feel I’m not crazy about. I plan on painting the cast before I sell them but this material felt cheap to me. I want to give people something that feels quality. Also I’ve been looking for a more environmentally friendly option which is a bit of a losing battle I’m told.

(this is the Smooth Cast 300 cast)

Forton MG: Then I was told about Forton MG which is a little greener and non-toxic. So I was really excited to try it out! There are a few more barriers to using it for newbies but after I finally understood the details and specs, I was eager to try it out…

The good news is, it feels beautiful! There’s a cool, stone-ish feel to the cast that feels way more natural than the polyurethane resin. It has a longer pot life too which is nice when you are still getting the feel of things and don’t want to rush. The bad news… @#$%*- ing air bubbles. I’ve learn some tricks to help with them but they still plague me. I’m meeting a woman on Friday who will hopefully have more tricks :)

Next up Polystone: Also I’m trying a new casting material next week unofficially referred to as polystone. It’s a mix of polyurethane resin and marble. It’s supposed to have the feel of porcelain and is what most commercial maquettes are made out of. It’s supposed to capture detail really nicely, ship/ travel well and have fewer air bubbles. I’m still not giving up on Forton but in this experimental period I want to try anything I hear works well.

(this is the Forton MG cast)

(On the beak you see the @#$%*- ing air bubbles!)

(from left: original, Smooth Cast 300, Forton MG)


You might think animation and sculpting are fairly unrelated fields but one big thing the two realms have in common is awesome, generous people! Everyone has been so helpful and kind – giving me tips and answering my endless barrage of questions. Here are a few of the great resources I’ve used so far:

Douglas and Sturgess (SF)

Sculpture Depot (Loveland, CO)

Reynolds (Denver, CO)


More soon! Next up: Angry gnomes :)

– Lyla


*If you see any mistakes in the terms or descriptions of materials. Please shoot me an email and let me know. I’m still new to molding and casting and just now learning the terminology.