Buermann
Presents
The Worst Medals

I don't claim to be an artist, but people seem to like these medals I made for the Worst Human Tournament. So I figured I'd jot down some notes on how they were made.

Sculpting

The first thing I did was mess it up. I encourage you to start out that way, it's the little mistakes that haunt you forever.

So what I did was make the 'Worst Human' ring and the head as separate units. Pretty obviously dumb in hind site, so after a bit of cursing I added the back piece to merge them together. In the process I made more mistakes that you can still see in the final product to this day.

I have been tempted to melt down some Monster clay and get a fresh clay cast to smooth out and improve upon but... you live with your flaws long enough you start to enjoy them I guess.

The best part about making resin castings of your work, is they then become armatures for your future work!

The resin can tolerate the heat of baking sculpey clay just fine. So you can smoosh on more clay to your resin clone until you have a new design. Bake it, mold it, pour it, and paint it.

The fact that your base face is now solid is also nice. Sculpey tends to get really soft and it's easy to mess up your project by applying too much force. Which is also why I've started using Monster Clay instead. It's wax based, so it gets really hard as it cools. You have to microwave it to get started, or keep a heat gun handy to keep it workable. Stick it in a crock pot and it melts into a liquid, pour that into a mold, pop it out once it cools and you have a fresh clay version of your work. It's really neat.

Make a Mold

Mold making is something of a skill on its own and I'm honestly not very good at it yet. I started out using tupperware or old butter containers as mold boxes. It's fine, it worked, but you use a lot of material. Brush on molds are a good way to go, especially for complex sculptures. The draw back to that is it is way more time consuming.

For something as simple as these medals, all you need is a pink box of silicone from Michaels. Something as close to the size of your sculpt as you can find to serve as a mold box. A surface to glue your sculpt down too, I've been using a thick plastic cutting board lately. I quite like it.

Glue the mold down, I use a small hot glue gun. Place the mold box around the sculpture, glue that down. Be sure to fill in any cracks and get a tight seal around the edge of the mold box. If the silicone can find a way out it will get out.

The pink silicone is a nice easy ratio to mix and comes with the mixing tools and instructions you'll need. Otherwise, if you are lazy like me, you can just dump the little bottle into the bigger jug and mix it all at once. Any you don't use will be wasted, so if you can find little odds and ends around that would be cool to replicate put them in mold boxes as well. Pour the excess over them. If you can't cover them completely its fine. Silicone sticks to silicone. So even if you let it completely set while you run to the store to get more; it will be okay. Just pour the next batch in and it will adhere. In fact you can cut up old molds or failed molds and use that silicone as filler when pouring future projects. Just don't let the filler touch the actual sculpture.

I have now made a wooden mold box out of scraps that gives me a bit more control on size, but I've been tempted to try 3d printing mold boxes. I have seen a few video's where you can make one specific to the dimensions to the object you are trying to make a mold for. Assuming that object is 3d rendered.

Cast in Resin

Resin is super easy to mix, it's just equal parts. You can find it at Michaels, but if you want to make a lot of something go online and get some bigger jugs. That said, a little does go a long way.

I don't have any fancy equipment to pull the air out of my resin so I use the high pour and pray method. Much like silicone, resin sticks to resin, so you can pour a little in. Slush it around, tap the edges, work out the bubbles then mix and pour some more and it will all fuse together in the end. This can be useful for tricky molds. Venting when creating your mold (adding sticks to create tunnels leading away from your model so that air can escape) is another recommended way of dealing with air in your resin. I've tried it a few times with tooth picks but the tunnel never seems thick enough to actually help. I've seen some video's where they use little tubes of candle wax, but have not found a local store that sells them.

Painting

That is pretty much it. Once the resin hardens, and is cool to the touch you can pop it out of the mold. You will likely need to sand it down, remove any flashing, etc

Paint is also very good at hiding any mistakes you made along the way.

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