Step by Step: Leaf Molds

Here’s a change from the more complicated two and three part molds I’ve been making. This is the easiest kind.
Here’s what I started out with. Whenever I’d mix up too much plaster, I’d hurriedly shape it into a mound I then later file and wet sand into shape. You can see them next to unfiled shapes below. Basically, all you do is make sure there are no undercuts and pour plaster on top of them. The little one is broken because I took this picture after I pried them out of their molds. After I made the molds, then I’m done with these plaster leaves.


So now I have the negative of the leaf. I simply pour the slip in and let it set for a bit. By blowing on the edge of the casting you can guage its thickness pretty easily. Then the excess is poured out.
I don’t usually set the castings in front of a fan to dry until they’ve set for a few days. I think I must have been running out of room. However, after I take the leaves out, I do put the molds in front of the fan to dry out the water that the mold sucked up from the slip.

Once the castings become more solid than liquid, they shrink slightly from drying and release themselves from their molds. Now the leaves get some handwork. I just trim and smooth here and there. Pretty easy.


Here are some leaves in various states of drying. I also poke a hole in the round edges of the leaves for stringing.

And here’s a small mock-up of how they will look in the installation. Of course, they’ll be glazed white and the strands will be much longer.

Now I’ve shown several moldmaking demonstrations one at a time, but this is usually all happening at the same time. The image below shows several different things going on.
I have molds that I’m done with in the background. Everything on the rack is sitting in front of a fan. There are freshly poured molds drying out. There are molds that need to dry out in between castings. There are plaster prototypes drying out so I can make molds from them. And then finally, there are the actually castings drying out so I can bisque fire them. So, yes, I stay busy.


One Reply to “Step by Step: Leaf Molds”

  1. This is all so great! Yes, you are obviously busy. I can’t wait to see it all together, though each part is so interesting on its own.

    The drawing is awesome.

    Keep bloggin’! I love watching the process.

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