Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mini Tutorial ~ Wildflower Molds for Bead Making

Hey everyone! As promised, today's post is another mini tutorial. Two weeks ago I shared the new wildflower molds I was working on. Are you ready to see the results?

Well… they all certainly were not as fabulous as I was hoping… the top four molds worked fine and had good detail, but the bottom four were not so great — some parts were either too deep or didn't show at all. Yes, the bottom two really are flowers, you just can't see the impressions!

Time to make more molds! Today's post was going to be on the bead making process, but since I needed to make new molds I thought I'd share that part with you first and then next time we'll start on the beads. So here goes…

(The molding compound I use is a 2 part 5 minute cold molding compound by Art Clay World USA)

Of course, I started with another trip out to my front yard and the fields surrounding my house. Living in the country sure does have its advantages! I picked more flowers than I needed — I wanted to have plenty for experimenting. I also made sure to pick some leaves too.

One of the main reasons half of my first molds didn't turn out well is because I was just blindly pressing flowers into the molding compound and had no way of knowing until the mold cured how the flower would actually look.

So this time around, I took all the bulky flowers and first lightly flattened them under a piece of glass. This allowed me to see how the petals would be arranged in the mold, and to carefully put them in place if needed before making the mold.

After flattening under the glass I pressed the flowers and leaves into the molding compound. When pressing the flowers in, I'm always careful to take note of the thickness and bulkiness of the different flower parts. For the mold above, I pressed the petals of the flowers deep into the compound, while only lightly pressing the flower's base — I want the main focus to be the petals and a big bulky base pressed in to deeply can easily ruin that effect.

More flower smashing! Not really — press just firmly — enough so the petals stay in place.

You'll get the best leaf impressions if you use the backs of the leaves where the veins are most raised. I like to add a little extra contour to my molds by pressing deeper on and AROUND the leaves, petals and anything I really want to standout. Adding that extra contour gives the finished casting a more raised look.

You can see that extra contouring here — around the leaves on the rectangular mold…

And here — I gave this mold a slight dished-out contour so the casting will be slightly domed.

* * *

Once all the molds cured it was time to try them out. Here are the results of some testing — all the molds worked nicely this time around!

Alight, now it's your turn! Go out, enjoy the fresh air and pick some flowers… and make some molds! In two weeks I'll show you a few new beads you can make with your molds.

Have a fun!


  1. Thanks for this great tutorial. I recently made some molds that didn't turn out so well so I am happy for some tips.

  2. New here... LOVE IT! Wonderful tutorials and an overall great vibe. Subscribing now...thanks!

  3. thanks for sharing, Rebekah! I want to start working in polymer clay, so this will come in handy!

  4. These are just beautiful. I too make molds for my polymer pieces but they haven't all turned out as well as yours! Thanks for the tips!

  5. These are great, I love your wildflower molds! Going to your shop to see what you have there!

  6. These are all so pretty - each one. Now I want to see the finished beads!

  7. I have this idea I have long wanted to achieve but have not been able to make happen. Maybe the molds are the way to go, but I will have to sculpt them all and that thought has be terrified! Thank you for the great pictures. Your pieces are going to be great! Enjoy the day. erin

  8. Those are amazing! It *almost* makes me want to try polymer clay...

  9. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a great idea! I don't know that I would have tried it; I would've thought the flowers were too soft & squishy to get any kind of a good impression. Nice work!

  11. These molds are simply wonderful! I can't wait to play. Now, to find some mold compound without sending away for it and waiting.

  12. I never thought you could get such a nice mold with the real Queen Ann's Lace... lovely

  13. Thank you for sharing your work is beautiful!!!!! Regards from Venezuela :-)

  14. Beautiful job! (As always) Thanks for sharing. I recently tried the same thing with polymer clay for the molding material - with exactly the same learning curve on depths. :-) Even after I pressed them, though, I wasn't that pleased. I'm guess that actual molding material - which I've resisted buying for years - is actually more sensitive to the impression than clay?

    1. You're very welcome! I've used polymer clay to make my own molds also, but have found that the detail isn't near as defined as it is with molding compound. Also when using polymer to make molds you'll need to use some kind of release (I prefer water) as raw polymer likes to stick to baked polymer, and this will sometimes obscure the details too.

      Mostly I stay with molding compounds for any high-detail molds, and use polymer where I need a stamped detail. Give molding compound a try—I think you'll be very happy you did! :-)

  15. Drat. I meant to click "notify" on my comment, so please forgive this meaningless one.- Melody

  16. Uau!!! Thank you for sharing this! Great job!

  17. Thank you for sharing. Got to try it out. I love nature jewelry. Dita.


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