Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Texture Moulds

Texture moulds are popular but expensive and with limited designs. You can make your own unique ones with only a few items of equipment. 

An example made by someone else


Various forms of clay can be used. Roll out a flat piece using boards of 8-10mm thick to support the rolling pin and give consistent thickness to the clay. The board underneath should be covered in paper or cloth to make an easy release. I have found that grease-proof paper as used in baking works very well.  It releases easily from the clay.  

Paper clay provides light weight moulds that do not hold a lot of heat, but any standard clay will do the job. There are two approaches to developing the pattern. You can stamp the pattern into the wet clay with any prepared design on a stamp or other textured material. The other is to dry the clay to leather hardness. You can then incise the pattern you desire directly into the clay. Fire to bisque temperatures, and sand to remove any rough areas or undercuts. Kiln washing the mould before use is essential.

Using a patterned roller to impress the design on the clay

Fibre board

Various fibre boards can be used. Ceramic fibre board, Kaiser Lee board, Vermiculite board, insulating ceiling tiles such as Armstrong, and calcium silicate boards can be incised and marked as desired. The advantage to the ceramic fibre, insulating ceiling tiles, and Kaiser Lee boards is that they allow air to pass through the material. Kaiser Lee board of these three provides the easiest surface for incising. Calcium silicate has no fibres, but requires a separator. Ceramic fibre and Armstrong ceiling tiles have fibres, requiring a bit more work to get a smooth surface. Armstrong tiles require a separator, but ceramic fibre boards do not unless you harden them for durability.

Fibre paper

Three millimetre fibre paper gives a easy material for cutting with craft knives or scissors to the design wanted. You can draw through an existing stencil or copy the design with carbon paper. It is not easy to produce designs with lots of detail.  It is quick, does not require separators, but is probably a single use material, unless you use mould hardener and then kiln wash, although it still will be delicate. For large projects, the paper should be fired first to ensure the combustion of the binders do not produce gasses to cause bubbles or fogging.

Loose Material

Sand, whiting, and kiln wash provide easy materials for one-off designs. You can quickly draw the design you want into the flat loose material with your fingers, or tools. You can also use found items to press into the loose material. Place the glass gently on top of the material and fire. If you use sand, you should dust it with kiln wash or aluminium hydrate to ensure the sand does not stick to the glass.

Unique Designs

All of these methods will provide unique designs which will distinguish your work from others.