Experimenting with new resin products
Some of the behind the scenes things that happen at Resin Obsession are the times I spend evaluating new products. I consider many things, including how customers might want to use it, how easy it is to use, can we ship it to you efficiently and affordably, and the product value, just to name a few. Sometimes, when I work with a product, it is a completely new experience for me, including the new material I worked with this week. I took some fun time to experiment with a couple new mold making materials and documented the process along the way.
While I was at the Craft and Hobby show earlier this year, I was introduced to a new, reusable, one-part mold making material. I came back to the studio with a couple of samples and couldn’t wait to try them out. A few big things that I liked about this material right away: it’s reusable and foodsafe. In addition, it can be used to cast a variety of media. Besides resin, it can do concrete, fondant and ice just to name a few.
Instead of resin, I wanted to go all crazy and try something I had never done before. I wanted to cast food items! I let my kids’ Legos be the inspiration for these castings.
The way the product works is to melt it in short bursts in the microwave. Once it is in a liquid form, you pour it into your mold box and allow it to cover the model.
First thing I learned, if the model isn’t heavy, it will float in the mold material. For the second try, I used double sided tape to adhere it to the bottom of the cup.
Once the material melted (I melted mine in the microwave), I poured it into the cup. It will set solid in approximately 2 hours. It’s still rubbery once it’s set, so I was able to reach in the cup, grab and edge and pull it out.
Here is the finished mold. You can see the non casting side of the mold has a lot of bubbles. I think this is going to be the nature of the product. While melting the mold product, you need to take it out of the microwave in intervals and stir it. It is the consistency of syrup, so it was almost impossible to stir it without introducing bubbles. My strategy in pouring was to pour it over the model in a deep enough layer that I didn’t have to worry about the bubbles touching the model. Afterall, it wasn’t like I was going to waste it. Once you are done casting, you can remelt the mold and use it for something else.
Now the disclaimer — I am not a pastry chef. I had never tempered chocolate before, and quite frankly, this is the part that scared me the most. I used a dark chocolate baking bar and tempered it according to the variety of directions I found on a web search. To make sure my chocolate didn’t stick to the mold, I sprayed it with a light coating of cooking spray.
After spooning it (rather slopily I might add) into the molds, I let them set. I put the first batch I poured in the freezer; they were ready to demold in under 10 minutes. The second batch I let sit on my counter overnight. They were solid the next morning.
They are demolded the same way you do resin — gently pull on the mold to expose and edge. Grab the edge and remove the casting.
And the results… I was amazed at the detail the mold material was able to pick up from the legos. It didn’t necessarily pass onto the chocolate, but I think that had to do more of my skill (or lack thereof) of working with melted chocolate.
Overall — here are my impressions:
1. Very easy to work with. There is no mixing of the product.
2. Minimal equipment needed. A microwave, double sided tape and some disposable paper cups were all that I needed to make a mold.
3. I LOVE that this product is reusable. I cast the lego bricks a few times by remelting the same material and felt like I got good results each time.
4. I think this is an awesome product if you are going to be casting food items.
5. What about resin casting? That will be the next experiment. I can totally see this for making a mold of an item that you only need to cast once or twice. For a mold that you want to have for a long time, I think silicone is still a better choice. Look for a resin casting experiment sometime soon!