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These days, there is virtually nothing you can’t make out of plastic, from toys to tools, to functioning handguns. Plastic, and by extension, plastic resins, have revolutionized the way we live our lives by offering an unparalleled increase in our quality of life. What exactly is resin and how do so many crafters use it to create intricate and stunning workpieces? Let’s have a look at resin castings, silicone molds, and how they’re used.
What Are Resin Molds?
What is the reason for molds? Have you ever seen an action figure or an ornate Christmas decoration that hangs from trees during cold December months? Well, many of these little trinkets are made out of resin. Resin is a two-part liquid polymer that can be poured into a mold to create the desired form; these molds can vary in size, shape, composition, material, color, and application.
The nice part about resin casting as a crafting practice is that you don’t need a whole lot to get started, and when it comes to molds specifically, you have the option of making your own or going with the store-bought variety. If you are interested in making your own, you will have a choice between various mold putty which can be used to create your mold, these putties are often made of silicone rubber or latex rubber which can be wrapped around an existing object to capture its form. Once the object’s form has been captured by the putty, it can be removed and filled with the two-part epoxy resin mixture which then replicates the object you wish to replicate. Resin castings created through this process can then be painted, sanded, reduced, hung, pasted, and generally modified in various ways for artistic expression.
Common creations using resin and the aforementioned molds range from figurines to toys, decorations, key chains, item holders, smartphone covers, placemats, and even functional objects such as tools and impact-resistant coverings.
What to Look for In A Resin Mold?
What should you look for in a resin mold? Well, considering that molds are often made of different materials for different forms and their subsequent applications, there’s very little to be said about what the best resin mold is. However, there are three types of resin molds you have to choose from, these are pre-made plastic molds, silicone rubber DIY resin molds, and latex rubber DIY resin molds. All of these molds have their respective advantages and disadvantages, so let’s have a look at each of them so you can decide which fits your application best.
Store-Bought Plastic Molds
Store-bought molds are not all necessarily made of plastic, however, the most commonly sold entry-level items typically are. These molds are great fun and come in such a wide variety of shapes that it would take quite some time to cover all of them, so if you are interested in creating some fun decorative pieces or even a nice holder for your phone you should check out your local craft supply store. These molds are typically mass-produced in plastic and are sold in value packs, this means that for a purchase of $10.00 you can end up with 20 or more castings over the course of a weekend.
These molds are sturdy, smooth, rigid, and rarely need an anti-adhesive coating to be applied to them before casting resin is poured in. The only disadvantage these molds present is that you are limited to the forms made by the manufacturer which can be frustrating after the novelty of the experience wears off. Another thing to consider if you are environmentally conscious is that some molds are made from plastics that aren’t reusable or biodegradable, and since they are mass-produced, they do have a noticeable impact on carbon emissions. Most large resin molds are plastic to increase rigidity.
Silicone Rubber DIY Molds
Now for our DIY molds. silicone rubber can be used to create your resin molds if you ever grow tired with the precast molds sold in store. This is pretty neat; it allows you to create a negative form of any object simply by coating the object in silicone resin and allowing the silicone to harden.
Once hardened the silicone coating can be removed and you can then fill this negative form with casting resin and re-create the object you have selected. This re-creation should be highly malleable due to the natural consistency of most casting resins meaning it can be modified to your personal preference with little effort, and the limits of said modifications are only limited by your imagination.
Silicone rubber mold resin is easy to use too, simply empty the solution into a container filled with soapy water and pop on some gloves. Once in the water, put on a pair of gloves and knead the resin until it starts to harden. When you feel the consistency is adequate (or when the manufacturer instructs you to) take the blob of resin out of the water and use it to coat the object you wish to replicate.
Allow the mold to set to the manufacturer’s recommended time and remove it from the object to claim your mold! Pre-made silicone rubber molds can also be purchased in stores for various niche designs, stores will also allow you to commission a design from them for custom creation. Note that silicone putty molds are safe for use with foodstuffs however, liquid silicone mold resin is not food safe.
Latex Rubber DIY Putty Molds
Latex molds are less common and were around a bit before silicone resin molds were initially introduced. You can find latex rubber mold resin at most home improvement stores and craft stores.
This mold creation medium does require a bit more effort and technique compared to the silicone rubber mold we mentioned previously, but they are arguably a bit longer-lasting. To create your Latex mold simply take the object or “master” that you wish to replicate and coat it in the liquid latex with a paintbrush. When using latex to create a mold you will need to apply multiple coats and allow each coat to dry sufficiently between coatings.
This can take a few hours, which is significantly longer than silicone rubber mold material, so we would not recommend this method if your project is time-sensitive. Once sufficient coats have been applied and all have dried adequately, apply a non-stick coating like cooking spray to the surface of the latex mold material. Once covered, apply plaster of Paris to the mold material and allow the coating to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended time period.
Once the plaster has dried, remove it without removing the mold itself from the object you are trying to replicate. Once the plaster has been removed, remove the latex mold from the object and lay it inside the negative made by the paste. You should now be able to pour in your casting resin and begin replicating the object you have chosen.
What Is the Best Selling Pre-Made Resin Molds?
As we mentioned previously there are tons of mold forms out there that allow you to make a variety of fun resin castings. Not all products are created equal though (in both the practicality and the fun departments) so what are the best silicone molds for resin? Let’s have a look at some of the best silicone molds for resin and see how they stack up against one another.
Best Variety Molds: CROWNMADE Mini Geode Resin Molds
Besides being one of the top-rated resins molds on Amazon, these molds create cute and easy-to-use DIY projects and are arguably the best silicone molds for resin on the market. They are sold in single sheets and each sheet produces exactly nine irregularly shaped geode forms that can be decorated both externally. If you’d really like to spice things up, things like glitter, small objects, or dye can be added to the resin to create one-of-a-kind pieces that you can use as a centerpiece, coater, phone backing, or even jewelry! These molds are reusable and are compatible with a wide variety of fillings including plaster, resin, concrete, and even plaster! This is definitely a must-buy for anyone who likes adding a personal touch to their home or making special gifts for their loved ones.
CROWNMADE Mini Geode Silicone Resin Molds 9 Geode shaped cavities 4.5mm deep and about 1.75 inches in diameter.
Durable and easy to demold, with a shiny interior that helps you produce glossy resin crafts fast and efficiently. View on Amazon
Best Coaster Molds: MWELLEWM Oversized Transparent Flexible Silicone Molds
Do you enjoy making your home look unique? Do you like having things that can’t simply be bought in the store? Do you like conversation pieces that tell a story all on their own? Well, boy do we have the mold for you. Featuring a five-piece mold set that helps you make a variety of large placemats, coasters, dish holders, and kitchen top heat-insulated surfaces, this product will likely keep you up at night coming up with new ideas and designs. These molds are reusable, heat resistant, and will facilitate any resin you can’t throw at it! While being one of the best silicone molds for resin on the market it is also one of the largest, so stock up on our resin before you get started with these.
Oversized Transparent Flexible Silicone Resin Molds Made of high-quality silicone material, reusable and easy to clean
5 different shapes: Round, Square, Rectangle, Ellipse and Heart
Your creation can be easily out of your molds when completely cured View on Amazon
Best Molds for Keychains: L-LWEIK Letter Resin Molds
Our next pick for one of the best silicone molds for resin has to be the alphabetical mold for resin from the L-Lweik team. This product is not only reusable, but it allows you to create virtually infinite stylized variations of the alphabet which can be used for essentially anything that comes to mind at the time. What comes on the box upon purchase is the mold (obviously), 20 keychain hoops of which 10 are silver and 10 are gold, 40 O-rings, 12 packs of glitter, and one hand drill. This is perfect for creating mobiles for little ones, a fun art project for the kids during the school holidays or simply creating a unique and personalized gift for your friends and family.
L-LWEIK Letter Epoxy Resin Molds Kit Flexible, resistant to tearing, durable and easy to move out letters from mold.
Come with 1x alphabet silicone mold, 20 x key rings, 40 x O ring, 60 x screw eye pins, 12 x glitter, 1 x hand twist drill. View on Amazon
These molds are easy to use, and if you are new to resin casting, we recommend this as a great starting point. Why? The molds require no preparation, and the letters are easy to pop out once cured!
Best Photo Frame Molds: PILLEAY Heart Photo Frame Mold
If you’re a crafter the chances are that you like doing everything yourself, giving things a personal touch that illustrates your personal style and outlook toward certain things. Everyone can relate to this on one level or another, and what better way to express your love and appreciation for the people around you than a cute heart-shaped picture frame. Is it cliché? Maybe, but things are often cliché for a reason, namely because they work! The Pilleay team has given you the opportunity to create a wonderful full-sized, seamless heart-shaped picture frame for that special someone in your life, or even as a token of your appreciation towards your friends and family! With dimensions 12.8×8.5cm/5.04×3.35 inches you can be sure that your next creation will be the perfect size for full display in your living room or bedroom.
PILLEAY Resin Picture Frame Silicone Molds Made of high-quality silicone, reusable and easy to wash
Soft and comfortable, long time to use
Size is about 14.6 x 13.2 cm / 5.75 x 5.2 inches View on Amazon
Best Ornate figurine Molds: PATELAI Pendulum Resin Molds
It’s difficult to find something simple these days. With virtually everything being branded or trendy at the moment, it can be nice to have something decorative that is simple and effective, and this is what the Patelai team offers you with their range of pendulum resin molds. The pack offers you 10 variations of pendulums that can be suspended vertically (obviously) from virtually anywhere and considering the variation of colors and gradients of resin that can be used with these molds, the possibilities are endless.
PATELAI Pendulum Crystal Silicone Resin Molds, 10 Styles 10 different shapes and sizes crystal quartz resin pendant molds
Made of durable silicone material, very flexible and easy to clean
With nice elasticity, high tear strength, smooth and shiny interiors View on Amazon
These molds are easy to use and easy to clean, and what’s more, is that they are highly resistant to tearing and breaking due to the high quality of their design. One of the best parts about these molds is that you don’t just have to use them with resin, they can be used with a wide variety of other casting materials, just ensure that you check these materials are compatible with silicone molds.
These molds offer great value for money and will offer countless hours of fun while making great gifts for your friends and family whether it be during the holiday season or the odd personalized birthday gift!
Best Jewelry Mold: DHSHRUN Hair Pin Jewelry Resin Molds
Jewelry can brighten up just about anyone’s day, and with this resin mold kit, you’ll be able to make your own in the blink of an eye! Although this is a bit of a niche in the epoxy molds market, this product is specifically designed to create hair clips, which is fairly unique. It’s not often that you find a resin mold for such a unique accessory, so why not take advantage of it?
DHSHRUN Silicone Resin Molds DIY Hair Pin Jewelry 3pcs hair clips resin silicone molds + 27pcs hair clips.
Made of durable silicone by advanced techniques, flexible and easy to use.
The hair barrettes are made of high quality metal alloy. View on Amazon
These epoxy molds come in sets of three which allow you to create water drop, rectangular, and straight pin hair clips for essentially any occasion. These don’t just have to be for you either, these clips make wonderful additions to gifts and can be personalized through modification of your resin, this means that you can make them any color, add glitter, make them glossy, matte, striped, add a gradient, or simply pop something interesting into the mold!
Depending on your ambition, you could even sell your creations for a little extra money on the side, this is perfect for kids looking to raise funds for school functions or simply to have some fun with on weekends.
Best Shape Molds: ALBEADS Silicone Resin Molds
Are you looking to create some great installation art? Do you need something to bring your living space together? Maybe you’re simply looking for something interesting for your desk at work. Regardless of your reason, the Albeads team have you covered with their high-quality reusable resin art molds. What’s in the box? The pack in question gets you four high-quality plastic resin art molds in the diamond, pyramid, spherical, and cube forms which are all highly durable and super easy to clean too. As most resin art molds are, these are great for gifts and can even be used to create mobiles for kids or combined to create intricate installation art.
ALBEADS Silicone Resin Molds: Cube, Pyramid, Diamond etc. Made of safe and durable silicone with excellent elasticity, superior high tear strength
Durable and not easily deformed which can make your project keeping precise
Smooth and shiny interiors, and reduces the need to cut back and polish View on Amazon
The Albeads team does recommend using release spray on these molds for better shape retention once your workpiece has been removed, so best to invest in some if you intend on purchasing this resin mold. With these large resin molds the possibilities are endless.
Best Decorative Mold: LET’S RESIN Light Bulb Resin Molds
Saving the best for last, we have the lightbulb resin mold from the Let’s Resin team. As far as silicone resin molds go this is one of the best silicone molds for resin on the market today! Not only is the design unique but it has such a unique application that panders (positively) to the minimalist aesthetic which is super popular at the moment. The bulbs created by these molds aren’t just inert resin castings either, each purchase gets you four LED light fittings and ten caps, and although we wish that they included ten LED units as well this doesn’t take away from the fact that they are resin light bulbs that actually light up.
LET’S RESIN Light Bulb Resin Silicone Molds Included 2 pcs exclusive silicone molds, 10 pcs caps, 4 pcs led chip
This LED light is specially designed for resin craft
Smart Vibration Sensor Inside: easy controlling with just a tap to turn it on or off View on Amazon
These lights provide a yellow glow with simply a tap to turn them on and off, which means creating a calming ambiance is simply a matter of tapping the bulb! The let’s resin team offers you a six-month replacement guarantee your molds are damaged during the demolding process, although this isn’t very likely considering the great quality of the molds themselves.
How to Use Your Resin Mold?
If you are new to using silicone resin molds the task can seem daunting. Not to worry though, we have included a short tutorial to show the basics, simply follow these steps and you’ll have your latest resin creation in front of your eyes in no time at all. Let’s get started!
Prepare Your Mold
Before you get started ensure that you are wearing some tight gloves and that you are working in a well-ventilated area. The first step is to prepare your mold and your resin. Start by cleaning your mold out with some soapy water and washing it as thoroughly as possible. Large silicone molds tend to gather a lot of dust and this can affect the overall quality of your casting if you aren’t careful. Once you are sure that your mold is clean, prepare your workspace by placing down a tarp or newspaper on your workbench. Resin has a tendency to get around easily so it’s best to be prepared. If you feel like splurging on some anti-adhesive coating, we recommend giving into that feeling.
Prepare Your Resin
Once you have your mold prepared it’s time to get your resin ready. Most resin is sold in two parts, which are the resin and the hardener. Ensure that you mix these together exactly as instructed, even though the typical ratio is 1:1 we strongly recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the process of mixing it together. For the next part, keep in mind that resin is a time-sensitive medium to work with, so if you have any dye, glitter, or other additives that you would like to add to the resin you should do it now. Once you have everything in the mixing container, stir thoroughly until you are happy with the consistency of the color/pattern you are going for before moving on to the next step in the process.
Pour the Resin Into Your Mold
Now for the easy part. Large silicone molds are easier to work with even though they require mixing on more resin since you just have to pour the resin straight in. Smaller molds might require you to use a small spoon or stick to get the rein into the mold which can be a bit frustrating as the resin has a bit of an odd consistency compared to most common liquids. Once you are sure that the mold has been filled up and has no air bubbles in it you can lock it up as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have any objects that you would like to add to the mold this is the time to do it but be sure to compensate for the displacement caused by the object if you do, the last thing you want is resin spilling out of your mold at this stage. Allow the resin to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended time period.
Remove Your Casting
This is arguably the most painstaking part of the process. Removing your resin casting correctly can mean the difference between a workpiece that looks the way it was intended to and one that you end up screaming at in frustration. Once you are absolutely sure that your resin has dried pop the casting out of the mold as slowly as possible while ensuring that you don’t accidentally puncture it with your fingers. Demolding larger molds are significantly easier, and smaller objects are easier to remove if the anti-adhesive spray is used on the mold beforehand, and if done correctly your casting should pop right out. Once you have your casting removed, ensure that you soak and clean both your mixing cup and mold thoroughly before packing them away.
Now that you know what a resin mold is, how to make your own resin mold, what kind of resin molds are out there (for all occasions) and how to successfully create your own resin castings using a silicone mold, it’s time for you to go out and put your new-found knowledge to the test. Remember, always wear the appropriate personal protective gear and work in a well-ventilated area!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Mold for Epoxy Resin?
The best molds for epoxy resins are silicone molds. What are the best silicone molds for resin you might ask? While there are many brands out there the best molds will be smooth, flexible, easy to use, reusable, and resistant to wear and tear.
What Does Resin Not Stick To?
Epoxy resin can be found in almost every aspect of daily life, but it does not adhere well to shear surfaces. This means that surfaces like treated (or untreated) polyvinyl, Teflon, nylon, acrylic, and polycarbonate plastics. It will adhere to wood, metal, and even glass!
What Is a Safer Alternative to Resin?
While there is nothing inherently unsafe about resin, it can cause discomfort if ingested before it has set completely. If you are looking for a suitable alternative you should consider clay, concrete, plaster, glue resin, or acrylic resin for your next workpiece.