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Topic: DIY Silicone Clay  (Read 6843 times)
Tags for this thread: silicone_clay , tutorial  Add new tag
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« on: September 28, 2012 02:28:41 PM »

In one of Michael DeMeng’s online classes, he mentions Sugru — an amazing air-cured silicone-based “clay.” It’s perfect for making items that need a little “bounce” — like octopus tentacles.

Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a need to make octopus tentacles, so I couldn’t justify the cost of a packet of Sugru to play with… but Michael also mentions “DIY silicone clay”. I started googling and ended up at this Instructables page that uses a combination of 100% silicone caulk and cornstarch to make an inexpensive Sugru substitute.

Working from that tutorial, I started playing with silicone and cornstarch (not expensive at all) and found that to make a suitable/moldable clay, the best mix ratio is approximately 1:1 (e.g., 1 tablespoon of silicone and 1 tablespoon of corn starch), heavy on the corn starch.

 100% Silicone Caulk (there are mixed reports on whether the GE Silicone Brand works with this method)
 Corn Starch
 Food Coloring (optional)
 Popsicle Stick for Mixing
 Container for Mixing
 Rubber gloves to protect skin

 1. Place equal amounts of silicone and corn starch in container.
 2. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring.
 3. Use popsicle stick to mix thoroughly. Add cornstarch to reduce stickiness, silicone to increase stickiness.
 4. Mold into shape as desired.

It really is that easy.

One difference between the 1:1 clay and Sugru? It doesn’t stick to anything, not even itself. So if you want/need to avoid using an additional adhesive to attach your clay object to something else, you’ll either have to pony up the bucks for the real Sugru or increase the amount of silicone and decrease the amount of corn starch… which makes it sticky and much harder to work with.

The “clay” sets up much too quickly for me to have much success with sculpting elaborate details. Additionally, since the 1:1 mix doesn’t want to stick to itself, I found I had to add a bit more silicone (to increase stickiness) any time I wanted to add more clay to the working piece. Not particularly convenient.

The original Instructables page uses linseed-based oil paints to color the silicone… I used the food coloring because I happened to have it on hand and it worked great.

Oh, and keep in mind – silicone does not like acrylic paints (they flake/rub off). I knew this and still gave it a shot with a couple of different brands of acrylic paints — guess what? They flake off.

The following video demonstrates the sproing-factor of the cured clay.

So now I’ve played. I still don’t have any use for silicone clay at the moment, but at least I’m prepared for the moment I do.

That’s a relief.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012 12:21:34 PM by jungrrl - Reason: embedded video » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012 02:48:54 PM »

Oh , I really like the boing-effect! This would be perfect to make a bouncy colored wig sort of thing! Is the material heavy when it sets?
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012 02:51:17 PM »

That's so interesting. Thanks for the review! Will keep in mind...
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012 02:57:06 PM »

Is the material heavy when it sets?

I'm not sure how to judge that... the "snake" in the video weighs 20g... I tried to imagine a wig-ful of them and I think it might be on the uncomfortable, but not undoable side of heavy.

Definitely doable as a few "strands" of a wig.

And I love that your first thought was "wig."  Kiss

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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012 03:23:42 PM »

Intriguing! I wonder if this would work as a good mould base too.

Also in regards to painting the surface I wonder if liquid latex would be an option. It's flexible...Probably not too cost effective though.

« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012 04:22:04 PM »

Intriguing! I wonder if this would work as a good mould base too.

Definitely works for any "cold process" mold (I made a small one and it takes and holds a good impression).  I haven't tried baking it to see if it would work with polymer clay applications, but I suspect it would.

Then again, I've been wrong before.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012 04:22:50 PM by microjivvy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012 11:48:24 PM »

Thank you very much for this. Bookmarked for future use.
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012 04:06:01 AM »

Definitely doable as a few "strands" of a wig.

And I love that your first thought was "wig."  Kiss

Just bookmarked for future use too! I will let you know, if I ever try it.. but I imagine it would make a fabulous bouncy anime-wig Grin
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012 06:32:28 PM »

Thanks for experimenting, may have to try this out, oooo I love having a reason to think of new things to make!

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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012 12:57:59 AM »

I saw a tutorial on a different forum about modifying silicone to make a silicone mold for casting. 

They recommend using the same deal of 100% silicone (clear works the best) and a few drops of acrylic paint mixed together.  I believe you can sculpt with it too.  If you want something to be one color and retain it- that might work!  It will be stickier, but wear some disposable latex or nitrile gloves when you work with it.  Also get the gloves damp with water.  Silicone won't stick to water so it makes it easier to deal with.  Plus you REALLY don't want to get that stuff all over your hands.  It's a PITA to remove, and it isn't that healthy I guess.

(And the whole well ventilated area blah blah blah.  You know the drill.)

Looking to de-stash cross stitch magazines, particularly Cross Stitch Gold or New Stitches?  Please drop me a line!  I'd love to swap or buy some missing from my library!
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