Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mould Making: Making a master

I started the process for making moulds for Sybarite's shoe soles. The first step is to create a master, that is, a model of the sole. I've made a couple of these and this post shows the making of a stiletto heel.

I am making a universal master, a sole that is the same for left and right foot, because this is difficult enough without having to try to make two pieces that are mirror images of each other.

First I carved the heel out of fairly hard wood. I often use balsa wood for making a master, but it was too fragile for this purpose.

Then I made the sole out of several layers of cardboard. The colors do not matter when making a master, only the shape.

Next, I glued the heel in place. I used PVA glue as always and this time there was a good reason to do so, as you will soon see.

I shaped the upper part of the heel using polymer clay. This is why PVA glue is a good idea. As the master consists only of wood, carboard, PVA glue and polymer clay, you can bake it in the oven. I'm not sure what would happen with other kinds of glue, but PVA can take 130 degrees Celsius easily. On the background, you can see a couple of other masters for Sybarite's shoe soles.

Here is the master with a plaster casting of Sybarite's foot. I must say I'm fairly pleased with the result so far. Of course the master still needs painting and light sanding before it is ready. The surface needs to be perfect, or as close to it as possible, because each sole cast with the mould will be an exact copy of the master.

It will take some time before I get to the actual mould making, because I need to make several masters for various dolls before that. Making the moulds is time consuming and a bit messy, so I prefer to do several moulds in a batch.

Currently, I have a couple of masters for Silkstone Barbie and several for Pullip, although they also need painting and sanding. I decided to try these, because all other ways of making soles for Barbie or Pullip shoes are more difficult.

Finnish post is here.

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