Make Custom Molds and Stamps for Metal Clay Jewelry, Polymer Clay, Resin & More with Noël Yovovich
I was in a metal clay jewelry class with Ed and Martha Biggar at Bead Fest when I had an “aha!” moment about mold making. I’ve always used found objects to create textures or impressions in metal clay, but when I tried Martha’s mold of a perfect little twig and saw the metal clay version come out of the kiln, I was hooked on making molds for metal clay jewelry.
All because of a twig? You bet! It was made from a particularly beautiful little segment of a branch, about three inches long with small bark texture and just enough interesting nubs where new twigs would’ve emerged. The resulting metal clay component was lovely and filled me with ideas for linking different twig segments into a beautiful chain. That’s another bonus for using molds–you can create jewelry collections using common elements that are easier to make using molds.
I also loved being able to create a metal clay version of one of my favorite flowers–Queen Anne’s lace–using Martha’s handmade mold of the delicate flower. So when I got home, I approached my studio, my home full of found objects, and the world around me with the goal of finding things I wanted to create in molds for metal clay jewelry.
Fortunately, that was about the same time that Noël Yovovich created Make Simple Molds for Repeating Jewelry Designs in Metal Clay and More, a video tutorial that shows how to make molds for metal clay jewelry. You can also use the molds for polymer clay jewelry, resin casting, and just about any other technique that uses molds. You can even repurpose the molds as rubber stamps! “If you put the clay into it, it’s a mold. If you put it into the clay, it’s a stamp,” Noël says. Either way, these molds/stamps are perfect tools for creating unique and interesting metal clay jewelry.
That brings up fun metal clay jewelry design possibilities, such as having multiple metal clay components in a necklace or bracelet accented with the same shape in resin or colorful polymer clay–or save money by making the entire necklace or bracelet out of polymer clay or resin components and adding a single metal clay component for the focal piece. So many fun possibilities! The shrinkage rates of metal clay jewelry add to the interest for that kind of design.
You can do all of that with purchased molds, sure. So why bother making your own molds for metal clay jewelry and other techniques when you can buy all the ready-made molds and stamps you want? It’s more affordable to make your own, of course. But there’s another big reason. “You’re probably already using molds (and stamps) in one form or another. They’re great–there are so many available out there, unlimited choices,” Noël says. “But there’s just one thing wrong with all those molds and stamps that you can buy, and that is that other people can and do buy them and use them, too.”
Why use molds and stamps that anyone else can use, when you can make your own? “There are going to be times when you want something that isn’t available, or you want something that is really specifically your own,” Noël says. That’s when these techniques will prove so valuable. If you want your metal clay jewelry or other work to be one of a kind or exclusive to your brand, you can achieve that by making your own molds–and it’s much easier than you might think!
Making and using your own molds also allows you to quickly and easily replicate your own metal clay jewelry and other designs that you’ve forged, carved, or created other ways by hand. So you could create a particular design in metal clay, let’s say for an earring, and make a mold of that original piece. Then you could use your mold to create multiples for earrings, charms, pendants, beads, buttons, tie tacks, cuff links, and other pieces, all from your original–in a fraction of the time and effort. And we all know that saving time and effort also saves headaches and money.
In addition to the basics of how to make your own molds and the tools and materials needed to make and use them, Noël shares loads of helpful bonus techniques and tips. You’ll learn how to make a hard, firm mold as well as a rubbery, flexible mold–and which type of mold (firm or flexible) is best for the task at hand. You’ll even learn how to make your own texture rollers and flat texture plates in addition to molds and stamps, including some great ones using common (free!) household items like wooden dowels (or wooden spoon handles), aluminum foil, and candles.
But that’s not all. Noël also shares some deep details that only a pro would know, such as:
- ideas for using pierced metal jewelry designs to create coordinating molds for metal clay and other jewelry components
- which type of mold-making material cures quickly enough to carry with you for on-the-fly texture-taking opportunities
- which type of crafting clay is perfect for testing your metal clay jewelry molds
- how to layer and place pieces of different thicknesses in one mold for consistent depth
Whew, that’s a lot of bonus info–and it will lead to so many ways to explore and expand your metal clay jewelry making.
Stand out with metal clay jewelry and other designs that are exclusively yours! Learn to make your own molds for metal clay jewelry, as well as polymer clay, resin and more, with Noël’s instructional DVD, Make Simple Molds for Repeating Jewelry Designs in Metal Clay and More. It’s the first step toward making metal clay jewelry and other designs that are truly, completely your own, and creating jewelry collections with easy-to-create common elements.