Judy's Bookshop - ebooks - making-ceramic-molds

Making Ceramic Molds

making ceramic molds

Daughter Lela, hard at work. I made all those molds.

Learn to make your molds from a ceramic worker and mold maker, who like most had little space or equipment. It can be done without a whole workshop dedicated to mold making.

Discussion on copyright protection.
44 pages of photos and illustrations(hard copy no longer available)

In this first writing about Mold Making for ceramics, I go into detail with photos of a mold being made of an odd shaped model, that of a dogs head with undercuts. Much is discussed concerning problem molds and what to do when things go wrong.
Included, is discussion about copyrights, your market, protections, care of molds and old wives tales.
Written from a different prospective most publications use, that of a self willed independent, small business craftsman/ceramist. A must read for those desiring to go into ceramics production. Knowing how to make your own ceramic molds, gives you more control over your business.
I'm always available to help. That's what I'm all about.

making ceramic molds

Have you ever been left to feel like everybody is holding out secrets of the trade? I'm holding back nothing. I'm happy to teach you what I had to learn the hard way, from how to efficiently pour the molds, all the way to making your own ceramic molds and even the master blocks.

By making your own ceramic molds, you not only completely control your costs but can also hire yourself out as a custom mold maker or even go into the mold making business.

My customers soon learned the value of my honesty and respect for copyrights. They could trust me not to steal their designs but sadly this is not always the case. I strongly suggest that, if you are designing your own, you also need to learn the art of mold making, in order to keep your own copyrights close to the chest.

Excerpts from the booklet "Mold Making.."

""If you're anxious or just can't afford it yet, use liquid soap. Dish soap will do. Brush on, let dry, ...................... It won't kill your greenware. A couple pourings and it disappears.

To prepare a model for casting, use a 2" soft paint brush to apply a wet but thin layer of .................. If plaster is going to touch it, prepare it with parting compound. If using a second coat, polish the first coat with a soft cloth before applying the second coat. You do not have to prepare greenware. It won't stick. But do ..............plaster soaks it and before the plaster sets up.""

""Now if there's a whole lot more water, standing, this is the time to add more. Check again after another minute.

Now it's time to mix. If using the bucket, have your large pitcher handy. It's easier to handle small amounts while pouring. .................rinse your mixing blade off in your rinse water before laying it aside.

Every 30 seconds, or so, ............................it's ready to pour. When pouring, try not to splash. It can cause bubbles on the face of your model.""

illustrations and photos to help you on your way


pouring a ceramic mold

If there's anybody who knows how to push molds into mass production, far beyond their capability, it's me.
The tall mold you see in the picture to your right, was cross tied with ropes for an extra measure of security.

The mold had been pushed to the point of dissentegrating and we had to guard against it collapsing and dumping 5 gallons of slip and perhaps on top of the poor pourer.

All the molds and shelving accumulated after 3 years of hard work.

On the wall, above her head, you see blobs of clay. Those happened at the end of a long hard day as we were pushing to get the last big order out before Christmas. The very last mold I opened, had not drained properly and were a total waste. It was a gang mold with 3 ornaments. All a waste. All still full of slip. They had never drained.

Knowing my day would last yet another 2 hours because of it and I would be up until 2AM to finish loading the kilns, my frustration came out in the form of bombarding the wall with the wasted pieces.

The molds were soaked. They had been pushed beyond the call of duty and then some. Trying to get all the 'before Christmas' orders out in time, we spent days rolling molds out into the sun on a big cart.

Those were the molds that had no room on the tables or shelves, as the tables were already stacked with molds and a big fan blowing away the moisture.



When it comes to doing ceramic work, "same old,same old" doesn't cut it if you're wanting to make a living at it. You have to develop your own nitch - your own style.

Free hand art on ceramic products is highly desirable in the furniture stores, decor shops and even tourist shops.

I plan to write yet another instruction booklet just for ceramics artwork. As I said, I'm no longer doing it so I see no reason for sitting on the knowledge and not sharing it.

There are painting techniques, you can pick up easily. A little practise and you'll be right up there with the ceramic artist, demanding much better pricing and getting it. Each piece is 'one of a kind' and yet part of a grouping and the public loves that.

Now, my problem is this. Does anyone care to have this instruction? I certainly don't like wasting my time and this is one instruction booklet that will take some effort on my part. The pictures you see here are just a tiny sampling of the patterns we used to turn out and it's just a starting place. Once you master the idea and become practised in it, your imagination will run wild with design ideas. Anybody can do it.

I'd like to hear from you. If there is enough interest, I will put my nose to the grindstone and produce the instructions. 

(family togetherness)

I would also like to go further in the mold making by writing yet another booklet on molds of all sorts, including those one can make for plaster or resin products with a whole slew of ideas you can use to design and produce plaster or resin products.

I'll tell you a little secret. A secret I've never told. Along with everything else, I was producing small pots with indian design. Two men, representing the product, happened to go on vacation in Las Vegas. When they returned, they informed me that every single shop they went into expressed a great desire to see my products. Believe it or not, Las Vegas will buy every indian design you can produce. You literally could load up the car with indian pots and indian designed items and pay for your vacation and still come home with money in your pocket. I kid you not. You just have to know what colors and schemes tweek the interest and I just happen to know.

If all else fails, remember I can help with making custom molds. You can always get hold of me through my email at admin@judysbookshop.com

Again...I'd like you to drop by the message board to discuss these things and let me know what you want. I'm for real. Really and truly a 61 year old truck driving ceramist who is not doing the ceramics anymore and who learned the ins and outs of the gifting world.

I used to walk into a shop, for the first time, with dust all over me, clay ridden shoes and no makeup on, in jeans and a T-shirt and land a sale. No problem. How did that work? Well, for one thing, it was in New Mexico and that's the game there. High competition and ceramics everywhere. The difference is, it wasn't Teddy Bears, it was indian design and knowing what tweeked the tourism market.

You say the market is flooded? Oh yeah? From China!! Getting local quality work in theirs shops is greatly desired by the high volume gift shops. You can find them.

There are tiny tips and tricks that make a world of difference and I'll be more than happy to share them.

Here I am. Take advantage of it or not.

All these products are free hand painted.