Casting rubber and plastics


After belonging to orchid for quite some time, i’m actually making
my first post. My name is Altana and I am a young emerging jewelry
designer out of the bay area in california. I’ve studied art and
design while i was attending university and now in two weeks I will
be studying at Revere Academy. Right now (because I’ve only had
beginner/intermediate experience working in metal and cannot afford
to start my own metalsmithing studio in my house) I work with found
objects, fabrics, weavings, and basically with other peoples’ junk. I
started making jewelry on my own and am experimenting with making
creative cold connections. I’ve started selling my jewelry in local
boutiques and modern art museums.

I have quite a few questions I would like to ask everyone but I’m
just starting with a few. I am not in school at the moment so I
cannot ask a professor. I am also new to the bay area so I don’t have
many networking connections yet. So all the research I’ve been doing
is on my own, and im feeling a little overwhelmed. I would love hear
advice from other artists well established in their careers and even
other new designers just starting out as well.

I love the wax carving & casting methods that I’ve learned so far in
all of my classes. I know that I love working with metal, but I am
extremely interested in plastic resins and rubber. I definitely want
to explore the possibilties of working with plastic and rubber, but i
have no idea where to start. I’ve been searching on the internet but
I’m just overwhelmed at the amount of imformation there is to sort
through. I have no idea of what tools I would need to work with
plastic/rubber. But i would love to be able to cast pieces in
rubber/plastic instead of using metal.

Is this possible using the same basic techniques used in wax
carving? Are there many of you out there that work with both metal
and plastic? Any websites that I need to look into? Any suppliers I
need to know?

Thanks for your time and responses!

I have no idea of what tools I would need to work with
plastic/rubber. But i would love to be able to cast pieces in
rubber/plastic instead of using metal. 

Get the new book on the subject by Sherri Haab, here’s the link to
my review of it on my blog.

The Art of Resin Jewelry: Layering, Casting, and Mixed Media
Techniques for Creating Vintage to Contemporary Designs 

By Sherri Haab
Price: $13.57

It’s a great place to start, will answer most of your questions and
lead you to suppliers.

Let’s see, what else. Yes, of course you can cast in rubber or
plastic. Your new favorite supplier will be Smooth-on at

Take one of their almost-free workshops if you can.

And for networking, I’m pretty sure there is a metals guild in your

Have a great time at Revere, great choice!

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


I read your post and I may be of some help. I am a self trained
metalsmith of about 25 years and about 7 years ago I returned to Los
Angeles and sublet a studio space from some people that make props
for the film and tv industry. What an amazing learning experience!
These people are usually multi talented individuals to say the
least. Anyway, to make the things you described you’ll probably end
up having to get familiar with making RTV molds. This is the
material that allows you to make multiple copies in either resin or
rubber. This material requires no heat to set up as does a rubber
jewelry mold, so you can mold heat sensitive objects like waxes. You
can go to this link to get a start.

Also you might try finding someone in your area that is a member of
the local 44 union. This is the union for propmakers and crafts
people for the film industry. You might be able to find someone to
give you lessons, it can be kind of tricky at first and the materials
are a little pricey. There are also companies on the net that will
make the mold for you if you send them the original model. Just
google rtv services.

Hope this helps.


I’ve work with rubber a little, although I’m no expert. The best
resource I have found is There is a lot of
on their website, and their products come with complete
directions, which I think are also available online. They sell
materials in sample sizes to get started, so you can try a few
different products out without a major investment.

We just had a workshop here at the University of Northern Iowa with
Kelly Malec-Kosak on rubber and plastic casting. She had us use
“Sorta-Clear 40” as a mold material, and “Dragon Skin Q” and “Smooth
Cast 925” for final products. The materials are easy to use, and my
students had a great time. The neatest thing we learned: you can
create a mold with Kleen Klay (available at craft stores), and pour
rubber directly into it. 75 minutes and Voila!

Good luck!

Hi Altana,

Welcome to Orchid…

One kind of plastic you may like to play with is the low temperature
melting plastic known by a number of names - morphplast,
plastimorph, Jett set?, Here are a couple of web pages about it

(sorry the links are all UK but I’m certain the came stuff is
available in the US)

It normally comes as clear plastic granules which soften in hot
water so that you can mould it by hand or press it into moulds. It
hardens to a translucent white colour somewhat like nylon and is
very tough ( I use it for the drive nuts on my CNC milling
machine!), however, it can be coloured by kneading dry colours into
it while it is soft. It can also be softened with a hot air gun (
like for paint stripping etc.) and can be textured/moved around with
hot metal tools (screwdriver blade?).

I’m sure you would find it interesting to work with for jewellery
projects but it also has 1001 other uses - I even found one company
on the web who are using it to manufacture biodegradable golf


Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK