Have you ever picked up cookie cutters and thought they would make great resin mold shapes? Let me assure you that you can! A wide variety of things can be used as molds for resin.
Step 1: Gather cookie cutters
As odd as it may seem, the best cookie cutters for this technique are metal. Cookie cutters with simple shapes are easier to use.
While you can use cookie cutters with small openings and other intricate shapes, they can be difficult to seal and demold.
Warning: If you use an item in resin casting never use it for food later.
A textured tile is basically a large rubber stamp. The texture tiles I have are grey rubber and made for working with polymer or precious metal clay. I think the best kind of texture tile is one with deep impressions and wide openings.
Thin delicate lines may not allow the resin to flow into all the cavities or may trap bubbles. This makes them less suitable for cookie cutter castings.
Tip: If you have a tile or stamp you want to try with this technique, to see if it will work with resin, pour a small amount of resin on the back, the unpatterned side, and let it cure. If you can peel the resin off easily, it should work with resin. But, if it doesn’t peel off easily, you can try it again with mold release. Should your trials show the tile or stamp won’t work with resin, since you used the back to test it, you haven’t ruined it for other uses.
Step 3: Get Silly Putty
Yes, the kid’s toy Silly Putty. Resin doesn’t stick to Silly Putty so it makes a great temporary molding material or a great way to seal a gap.
The colour of the Silly Putty isn’t important. I have a couple of eggs of Silly Putty I bought at the grocery store. Over time and use, it does get a little less pliable. Sometimes, bits of colour and glitter inclusions stick to it making a batch less than ideal. But, it’s pretty cheap and readily available in many different types of stores.
Step 4: Get resin
For these projects where I’m showing you how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, I’m using Resin Obsession Super Clear resin. The super clear resin is a 2-part epoxy resin with a 2:1 ratio. This means you need to combine two parts of part A and one part of part B. The super clear resin cures to a soft cure in approximately 6 hours when it can often be removed from a mold and set to finish its cure separately. It cures to fully hard in 12-24 hours.
Because mixed resin has a limited amount of ‘working’ or ‘pot’ time (the time before it starts curing), it is best to prepare the molds for casting before mixing the resin. The super clear resin has approximately 30 minutes of pot time.
Step 5: Prep with mold release
Because the cookie cutters are metal, resin will bond to them unless you use resin mold release. You can also use release on the texture tile or rubber stamp to help make unmolding easier.
Place the cookie cutters into a container to catch the excess release, then spray. You don’t need a thick coat. A light coat is enough.
Step 6: [Optional] Add powders to the texture sheets
You can add powders, paste, paint, and glitter to the area on the texture tile you will be using for the mold before you put the cookie cutter in place. For example, you can use gilders paste on the high areas of the texture tile. On the finished piece, this will accent the recesses.
Step 7: Create the mold
Making the mold is as simple as placing the cookie cutter on the tile and sealing the gap at the bottom with Silly Putty.
Place the cookie cutter on the tile to frame the texture you want to see on your project. If the tile you’re using is narrow, make sure the cookie cutter is entirely on the tile and not hanging over the edge..
Make a Silly Putty snake and put it at the bottom of the cookie-cutter where it meets the tile.
Squish the Silly Putty around the bottom of the cookie cutter to make a seal with the tile and create a bezel-like opening.
If you’re using a more intricate cookie-cutter, like this masque, make sure you seal each angle and inner cut area. You can use the back of a paintbrush or a stir stick to squish the Silly Putty into those places.
For less complex shapes you can either remove the cookie cutter before pouring the resin or leave it in place. Cured resin is easier to remove without the cookie cutter. If you choose to remove the cookie cutter, be sure you don’t lift up the Silly Putty from the tile while taking the cookie-cutter out. You want to have a complete seal around the area you want to pour. Also, be careful not to distort the shape.
If you are wondering what part colors play in how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, they can play a big part! You can add additional glitter, powders, or other embellishments after you have created the mold.
Step 8: Mix the resin
Now that the molds are prepared, it’s time to mix the resin.
Gather all the items you will need to mix and pour the resin before you start. Cover your work surface with a sheet of wax paper to protect your work surface from drips and spills and make clean up easier. Use Nitrile gloves to protect your bare skin from the sticky resin. For accuracy, it’s always best to measure each part in its own cup.
When using cookie cutters as resin molds, each mold will only need a shallow amount of resin. I generally mix 1 1/2 ounces or less. To make this amount of resin using the super clear resin, pour 1 ounce of part A in the first cup and 1/2 ounce of part B (hardener) into the second cup. If you are making a different amount, part A needs to be twice as much as part B. If you have never mixed resin before, read this article on how to mix resin.
If you’re using Resin Obsession colors for resin, add a small amount to the Part A cup before you mix them together. This picture shows 1/2 ounce of part A with 1/4 ounce of part B to make 3/4 ounce total. Add additional drops of part B, 1/2 of the amount of the pigment, to ensure the proper ratio.
Combine the two parts into one cup and thoroughly stir them together. Mix slowly to avoid adding bubbles. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides often, and scrape the stir stick as well. Mix the resin for at least 2 minutes to be sure the parts ares well combined. You can pour the mixed resin into another cup and stir for an additional minute to ensure a thorough combination.
Step 9: Fill the molds
Part of learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds means learning that you can only pour in a little bit of resin. Otherwise, you may not be able to demold it.
You want to have approximately 1/8 inch (or about 3 mm) of resin in your molds. If you remove the cookie cutter from the Silly Putty, only pour to the depth of the Silly Putty wall. Then, leave the resin to cure in a level location, preferably with a cover. The super clear resin works great even when it is poured in a thin layer.
I use wax paper-covered, low-walled rigid plastic pans under my tiles while I am making the molds and pouring the resin. This allows me to move the resin-filled molds to a curing location. There, I can cover them and so I can have my desk available for doing other things while they cure. If you move the uncured resin in molds, be very careful not to spill it.
Step 10: Let the resin cure
For my curing location, I use a pair of cheap plastic letter trays lined with wax paper as shelves for curing projects. Resin generally doesn’t stick to wax paper. If you have a spill, your resin project won’t become a permanent part of your curing location. I also use plant trays as covers for resin items because they’re cheap but keep dust and cat hair out of the curing resin. In colder months, I cover the whole area with a see-through plastic bin.
Resin cures best when the temperature is around 74 F (23 C). If your curing location is a bit warmer, the curing time may be decreased. If it’s a lot colder, the resin may not cure correctly at all.
Under my curing shelves I have a heating pad and tin foil pan to add a bit of warmth to the curing location. Before I even pour the resin, put on the cover, and turn the heating pad on to high to warm up the air where the resin will be curing.
Step 11: Demold
When learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, you need to be mindful of the resin soft cure time. The super clear resin cures to a soft cure that can be unmolded in 6-8 hours. I like to unmold cookie-cutter castings at the soft cure stage and let them cure to hard out of the molds. This allows more flexible options to remove extraneous bits from the casting.
Unmolding a piece without the cookie-cutter is easy. Just bend back the flexible tile and pop the resin piece off the tile and remove the Silly Putty. I always put the Silly Putty back into its egg so I can use it later.
Unmolding an item cast with the cookie-cutter still in place takes a bit more effort. First peel the tile off of the resin, just like with the item without the cookie cutter. Remove the Silly Putty from the tile and put it in the egg.
Next, pop the resin out of the cookie cutter. With some shapes, it can be hard to remove the cured item from the cookie cutter. If you unmold when the resin is in a soft cure, you can carefully slip a craft knife around the edges to release the resin. Otherwise, if the resin is cured to a hard cure and is stubborn coming out, putting it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes can help. Applying a good coating of mold release at the beginning of the project makes this stage so much easier.
When you unmold items that have colourant and glitter, the Silly Putty will often pick up some of the embellishments from the tile. These can generally be picked off before you use your Silly Putty again. For this piece, the Silly Putty didn’t have a tight seal on the tile all the way around, so a bit of resin seeped under. This also can also be removed from the Silly Putty.
Step 12: Clean up the edges
When learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, you need to be ready to trim up any resin that may have seeped underneath the cookie-cutter edge. If you remove your items from the molds when they’re soft cured, you can trim away some of the edges with scissors.
Place your items on a flat surface and allow them to cure to hard, usually 12-24 hours. Once the items are cured to hard, the edges can be sanded and finished.
To sand the edges of small molded items, I like to use a nail emory board that I’ve picked up at the dollar store as my sanding tool. Go over all the edges of the piece to smooth off any sharp bits.
If you have an item with voids or holes in the surface, you can use a rolled-up piece of sandpaper to sand them. A grit of 400 or higher is recommended.
Use a wet wipe to remove any stray particles from your sanding before adding any additional finishing.
Step 13: Highlight details
Once your pieces are sanded you can add paint or Gilder’s Paste if you want additional highlights for the texture.
Adding colourant as a finish may have a slightly different colour than that which is put in the mold at the beginning.
NOTE: Colourant added after the item is cast won’t be as permanently melded with the resin and can rub off with wear.
Every unmolding is like uncovering a unique treasure. Some items look great on both sides without any additional finishing touches.
What other questions do you have on how to use cookie cutters as resin molds?
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