Mold Preparation

Step 1: Separate the mold sections and gently brush out any dust and debris from the mold with a soft bristled brush. Caution: Never use a cloth or sponge to clean a moldís inner cavity; such tools can damage the moldís detail. Step 2: If the mold hasnít been used for a while, spray the detailed areas with a little water. Step 3: Close the mold sections and band tightly with wide, thick rubber bands.

Pouring

Step 1: In the original container, gently stir the slip all the way to the bottom of the container with a long-handled spoon ore paint stick. Stir slowly to discourage air bubbles. Strain the mixture directly into a clean pitcher or bucket that is easy to handle. If the thickness is more that light cream, thin with a commercial slip thinner. Let the slip stand for a few minutes to be sure all air bubbles rise to the top.

Step 2: Mark the top of the head mold to identify the face vs. the back of the head. Set the molds upright, slightly tilted, and firmly planted. Pour in the slip consistently without hesitation or stops. Pour against the pour gate of the mold (opening) so slip doesnít hit an interior wall. Note: A stop in pouring results in hesitation lines around the piece and will ruin the casting.

Step 3: Keep an eye on the mold. As the slip settles and the water is absorbed into the plaster mold; fill continuously with more slip to ensure proper pressure of slip within the mold. Do not let it settle below the pour hole. On pieces with small pour holes frequently stick a brush handle in the opening to open the pour hole.

Step 4: When the casting becomes the thickness of a nickel, pour out the excess slip. Set-up time will vary based on humidity, room temperature, and the condition of both slip and mold. To empty a mold, hold it firmly and allow the slip to exit the mold slowly, without any gurgling, which is air entering too quickly, and action that can pull the wet greenware away from the moldís interior wall, causing the ware to collapse. When most of the excess is poured out, rotate the mold to make sure it empties completely and that no drain lines form. To assure the drain is complete, prop the mold upside down at a 45-degree angle for about 15 minutes. Set the mold aside, flat for about an hour.

Removing Greenware from a Mold

Step 1: Use only a mold-trimming knife on a plaster mold. These tools are not metal or sharp, and wonít gouge or damage the soft plaster. Use a Master Trimmer to clean off dried clay from the top of the mold. Insert the tip and cut away the clay spare around the moldís pour gate. Do not but into the piece beyond the casting.

Step 2: Keep pressure on the mold while removing the rubber bands. When the bands are removed, test the first section to see if it will release easily. If the section does not want to release let it sit longer. To force it open can cause the greenware to tear. When the section lifts without force, lift straight up to eliminate any chance of scarring the casting. Let greenware rest in the backside of the mold for a few minuets until the leather-hard stage is assured. (leather-hard is when the wet greenware is stable and able to hold its shape)

Step 3: For heads, while still resting in the mold, cut a starter hole in each eye with a sharp blade or a drinking straw. Cut open the crown in the head where marked. If an open mouth is desired or indicated, cut it open too. Pierce earring holes, if desired. For full porcelain dolls cut arm and leg holes in the torso.

Step 4: Mark the piece with the slip color, because you wonít be able to see the exact color until the pieces is fired to bisque.

Step 5: Set the pieces in a draft free area to dry. Do not use any implements to speed the drying process. No hair dryers or fans! Speeding the process with produce an unwanted crust on the greenware.


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