Monday, February 24

Creating Ancient Artifacts for Mold Rubber Monday... Golden Scarab Trinket Box Tutorial by Isabel Villarreal

My niece has spent the last three months throwing parties, entertaining and organizing for family and friends and has had very little time for herself lately. I know that she adores anything with an Egyptian flair so I figured that, in appreciation for her selflessness, I would take some time and make something special for her that speaks to her heart. Scarab beetles are a popular and common theme in ancient Egyptian art and culture so when I was trying to decide what to make it wasn't difficult to decide on a trinket box with a scarab beetle embellishment on the lid.

I had a carved stone scarab that I bought at the Egyptian Museum in northern California during a trip about 10 years ago and a small plain alabaster trinket box from a flea market - VOILA! The makings for my decorated gift box. The box was plain so my plan was to make it a little fancier during the molding process using some cord and a few well placed drops of hot glue. Since I wanted my scarab to be highly detailed I chose Amazing Mold Rubber for creating my mold. Amazing Mold Rubber is a silicone product that starts as a liquid and solidifies over time so to begin with it must be poured into a container. Possibly the most difficult part of this was finding a container in which to mold my trinket box. I settled on a cardboard box that I covered in packing tape to keep the silicone from soaking through or working its way out through any openings in the corners of the box.

I used hot glue to cover the hole that runs through the beetle. It had to be covered so that the silicone would not fill it in and make it difficult to remove the piece after making the mold. I then glued the scarab onto the lid of the alabaster box so that I could mold them as one solid piece. Hot glue is my adhesive of choice for this since it is temporary and will be easy to remove from both the box and the beetle when I'm finished with the molding process.

In order to make the box a little less plain I'm using nylon cord that will act as a decorative edge along the entire outside. On the base of the box I once again used a thin line of hot glue around the entire box to hold the nylon cord in place during the mold making. Since alabaster is a very cool stone the glue dried very quickly on the surface. Working in small sections, I laid down a line of hot glue and quickly placed the cord, pulling it tightly and pressing it into the glue at the same time. Once I worked my way around the entire box I used a lighter to burn the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying and dropped some glue at the spot where the two ends met, rolling and pressing the ends at the meeting point to make the line break less noticeable on the finished piece.

Once my trinket box and lid were ready, I glued them to the bottom of the pouring box. This is to keep the pieces from moving around or floating while the silicone sets. Since I had a little extra room in the box, I added another piece that I've been wanting to mold. I always want to make as many things as possible at once, so if I have space in the container while molding I will always add a few other pieces to save time and molding materials.

And now it's time to mix up some Amazing Mold Rubber and let it do its magic. Amazing Mold Rubber comes in two parts: One is the base and the other is the catalyst. Because I knew I would be using the whole thing, I poured the catalyst right into the container and mixed it well using a wood stick. As you mix it, the silicone becomes thicker, so make sure to scrape the sides and the mixing stick as you are stirring to be sure that it mixes well. Once it is a nice even color, just pour it into the container, making sure to completely cover the pieces you are casting. It usually takes between 4-24 hours to set depending on the temperature/humidity, so once it's poured you can just walk away and come back the next day.


Success!! My silicone mold set overnight and releasing the originals from the mold was easy since the silicone is so flexible and resilient. The pieces that were held together with hot glue came apart while I was removing them from the mold, but it was simple enough to pull them out as individual pieces and it also left my originals intact, which is what I was hoping for. Now came the good part-testing out my mold to be sure that it would work. For my initial test I used Amazing Casting Resin because it sets in about 10 minutes, leaving me plenty of time to see the results and make any adjustments. It turned out that I had to trim away a few pieces from the inside of the mold-once again, the flexibility of the silicone made it super easy to twist and manipulate the mold in order to cut away the excess pieces. After my adjustments, I ran another test using Amazing Casting Resin and (yay!) the mold was now ready for the final casting.


Many Egyptian artifacts have gold detailing so the first step was to coat some parts of my my mold with Alumilite Gold Metallic Powder using a thin soft brush. Using the metallic powder straight out of the jar causes a lot of mess and even though I adore sparkles floating in the air, it definitely doesn't work well when you're trying to keep things neat. I find that pouring a little of the powder into a small plastic bag makes it a little easier to work with and it keeps the mess to a minimum. Some alcohol on a cotton swab helps to remove any stray powder from the mold so you don't end up with unwanted gold spots in random places on your finished cast piece.

After preparing my mold I mixed up some Amazing Clear Cast Resin for my final pour. Amazing Clear Cast is mixed using a 1:1 ratio but before mixing I added a couple of drops of Alumilite Blue Dye to the "A" side of the mixture. Seriously, it only took two drops to get the perfect cobalt blue color for my trinket box. After getting a nice color consistency I combined parts "A" & "B" of the resin and stirred for about a minute and poured the mixture into my silicone mold. Amazing Clear Cast takes 12-14 hours to set. Usually I pour Amazing Clear Cast Resin in thin layers to be sure that there will be no bubbles but this time I wasn't thinking clearly so I poured to the top and I'm not really sure how it will turn out but I'm excited to see the results.


I'm happy with the results of my final pour, but I would I would be happier if did a couple of things differently on my next pour: 1) I would use one less drop of Blue Dye in the mixture so that it's a little more transparent and more obviously a Cobalt color. 2) I would pour in layers instead of filling the mold to the top. This will prevent the Gold Metallic Powder from being lifted and spread onto unwanted areas of the box. 3) I would experiment with different ways of joining the ends of the cord around the the base of the trinket box. The joint is a bit obvious and I'd like it to be less noticeable.

In all, not a bad result for a first try! I will definitely be recasting this and playing around with different ways to finish it but I really enjoyed making this trinket box and now I have a few ideas of how to rework my mold to make the end result more like what I imagined.

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  1. very creative project, great gift. love all the detailed on your molded items.

  2. Isie - your trinket box is not only unique but beautiful. I think Cleopatra would love this gorgeous box. The colbalt and gold color combo is AMAZING :)

  3. Thank you ladies! I appreciate the nice comments :)

  4. Wow! I am amazed! It looks like a real artifact!


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