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How To Make Resin Toys
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I have been an art teacher since 1984, so it comes naturally to me to share what I know with others. Whenever I am in the art studio making stuff, I enjoy photographing the process from start to finish. Way back I remember wanting to make toys of my own before I knew exactly what materials to use, and where to find them. It’s been a crazy journey.
These days there are so many different silicone mold making supplies and urethane resins I had no idea where to start. When materials cost hundreds of dollars, it can be very intimidating if you are not sure what to order, how to use it, and if the materials will be compatible. Yes… I made lots of mistakes, but that’s how it goes in the art room. To be an artist, you have to be comfortable with failure to get to any success.
When compiling the photos included in my How To Make Resin Toys book I realized that it took over three years and thousands of dollars of materials to make this book. Each resin toy represents days of making the original art, casting a silicone mold, tinting and pouring resin, painting, finishing, header cards, and packaging. It’s a very involved process with many steps to master.
When I first set out on my own I could not find a book to help out the beginner, so I decided to make that book myself. I self published the How To Make Resin Toys book on Blurb.com in 2013, and after my dear friend Louis Bou mentioned my book in his book, We Are Indie Toys, sales went through the roof.
I noticed that most folk want the download over the printed book for several reasons. First the download is instant. Another benefit is that it is easier to look at one’s iPad or iPhone than struggle with a paperback book that wants to close while working in an art studio. After the success of my book I decided it would be good to get it on Amazon’s Kindle platform and offer it there. Now all you aspiring toy makers can snap up your very own copy of How To Make Resin Toys on Amazon or Blurb depending on which is best for you. The best part is, with the information in this book you can set up a resin toy studio for around $200 – $300 bucks and get started right away. You don’t have to make all the mistakes I did in order to get there.
So here’s to you toy makers of the world. Be sure to drop me a line with a link to your blog or Facebook page and let me see the toys you have brought into the world. I love seeing your creations, and in some way, being a small part of them. Have fun! JEM~
Hey man, I bought the e-book version of your book the other day and its great. I sculpted my first little figure this week and was gonna save up some money to buy some smooth on.
I ended up searching for DIY mold making materials and came across oogoo. Have you tried making anything with this?
It’s silicone caulking and corn starch mixed together with some mineral spirits mixed in to thin it and make it pourable.
I made a test mold that was really sloppy, but it worked! And the over all cost was just a few dollars.
When I’m off this week I’m gonna try to do a better mold and see if I can get a good cast out of it.
Just wondering if its anything you’ve messed around with!
Thanks for the book, it’s awesome!
Sent from my iPhone
Hey West, thanks for the email. I’ve only played with the Smooth-On products, but I’ll check out the oogoo, with a name like that, I’ve gotta try it. THANKS for the tip. Keep on casting! Jay~
When I want to make glow in the dark resin toys I use a clear resin from Smooth-On.com called Smooth Cast 325. I order Glow Powder from GlowInc.com – they have several types, but I get the top of the line $250/pound Ultra Green Glow Powder. It’s the brightest glow powder on earth. These resin toys glow for 24 hours after being in sun light. I’ve never seen any toy glow like this. You could use a lot less glow powder, but I like the toys to glow like a light bulb. Check out my How To Make Resin Toys book for step by step details on how to make resin toys.
Many times when I make resin toys I use Super Sculpey Polymer Clay because it is easy to fire at home in the oven. However, I really prefer making the original out of glazed ceramic so that my toy has a slick glassy look and feel. I also find real clay to have a better feel in my hands. It seems to do what I want it to. Sculpey gets soft when it warms up. Sometimes too soft and it’s like working with toothpaste. White talc low fire clay stays firm and I feel like I work better with it. Better results, means better toys. I work small, so all I need is an inexpensive test kiln one can get at DickBlick.com, or any ceramic supply center. White talc low fire clay, low fire gloss glaze and kiln cones 05 and 06. Small test kilns plug into a standard 110 wall socket, no need for 220. If you want the glossy look, but don’t have a kiln, paint your Sclupey with glossy Sculpey Glaze. If you have the space like a garage or other well ventilated room, I still say real clay works way better and is worth the investment.
The Yupapotami are keen to learn how to make resin toys. Check out the new book by J.E.Moores titled: How To Make Resin Toys and learn about Glove Molds, Putty Molds, Block Molds, Silicone Rubber, Urethane Plastic, finishing, painting, containing and displaying hand made resin toys. You can also watch my instructional videos: How To Make Resin Toys to see some of these techniques in action.
Black Rub is a technique where you toothbrush black acrylic paint onto a resin toy, then use a damp paper towel to clean it off. Black paint stays in the deep areas showing off the details of your resin toy. Black Rub gives the toy an old fashioned look, like an old antique toy whose paint is worn off in places. Be sure to wear latex or vinyl gloves to keep your hands from getting messy. All this information and more is found in my book, How To Make Resin Toys by J.E.Moores.
I recycle our 5 gallon spring water bottles into small plastic trays. I use them for casting resin toys to catch drips and spills. My wife uses them to sprout seeds when gardening. You can see in the photo how the seed package can be slipped in between the two stacked trays so you know what you’ve sprouted. These trays are great for organizing drawers, holding pens, pencils, snacks, and food prep in the kitchen. HDPE #2 plastic is FDA approved for use with food. That’s why water, milk, and vitamins are in HDPE plastic. It’s high quality stuff, so you might as well reuse it somehow. Reduce the plastic going into land fills, make these simple trays and use them around the house, work space, and crafts area. Carefully use a pair of tin snips or sharp scissors to cut the trays from the empty water container, and see how many uses you can come up with for these nifty stacking trays.
Here I cast Smooth-Cast 300 urethane resin into several types of molds. I find that each mold has it’s own issues. Because resin can only flow where gravity can take it, your mold might have air bubble issues. After a while I learn how each mold needs to be dealt with in order to get a good casting. I find myself jiggling, shaking, or swirling some of my molds in order to get resin into the hard to reach areas of the mold. Sometimes I even cut a vent to get resin to flow properly. For complete illustrated information check out my book, How To Make Resin Toys by J.E.Moores.
When designing a resin toy you have to be aware that you have to work with gravity. The liquid resin can only flow where gravity can take it. Let’s say you designed a character. If his arms are up they will cast easily, but if the arms are down at your character’s side you will have to create a vent for air and resin to flow to that part of the mold. Glove molds are not easy to vent, so complex shapes may have to be cast in a two part block mold. The type of mold you create depends on the shape of the object you wish to make multiples of. I think it’s best to start out with a simple “lump” shape and a glove mold, and move on as you gain experience. All this information is illustrated and explained in detail in my book, How To Make Resin Toys by J.E.Moores.
Here are the how to videos from Smooth-On of their product Rebound 25 Brushable Silicone Rubber. I use Rebound 25 to make glove molds to cast simple tapered shapes, or “lumps” as I like to call them. The glove mold will easily roll off your casting if your original art is a simple tapered shape. In the video above they are making a more complex two part mold, but you can still see how to mix up Rebound 25 and how it looks to work with. There is a second half to this video for advanced casters. For now we will stick with making a Glove Mold using Rebound 25, and not a two part mold as in these videos.