How to use fibreglass to make a mould

By courtesy of Ronex Ahimbisibwe, artist.

In this first article in the series of creative technique, artist Ronex Ahimbisibwe shows you how to use fiberglass and resin-mix to create art. In steps 1-7, he demonstrates how to use fiberglass to make a mould. In the next steps 8-12, he uses the same technique to make a cast from that mould. Finally, in step 13, he paints his piece of art to make it look like a bronze object.

BASICS:

In this creative technique, you will need:

  • The piece of art you want to mould (could be wood, clay, metal etc)
  • Wax (e.g. normal shoe care) to act as a separator
  • Any other kind of separator
  • Resin and
  • Hardener, especially made to mix with the resin
  • Fast-dry spray paint (for autos) any colour you want
  • Fibreglass (which can be bought from Henkel Chemicals)

The following tools:

  • Brushes (disposable)
  • Cutters and scissors
  • Masks, glasses and gloves (since the materials are toxic)

Remember to work outdoors.
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STEP 1: APPLY SEPARATOR

First, apply the wax and the other separator to the piece of art. This helps you to separate the mould from the piece in the end.
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STEP 2: SPRAY PAINT

Then, spray on spray paint as the first layer. This brings out the finer details of the piece. Leave to dry.
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STEP 3: MIX AND APPLY LAYERS OF RESIN

Now, mix the resin and the hardener. Apply the first layer of resin.

When dry, apply a second layer and leave to dry.

This might take some minutes, depending on the weather and the material. It might be a good idea to work on other pieces when it’s drying so neither brushes nor resin are wasted.
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STEP 4: CUT FIBREGLASS

Start cutting the fibreglass. Cut some of them into very small parts. These will be used to get the finer details right.
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STEP 5: APPLY FIRST LAYER OF FIBREGLASS

Then, mix resin and hardener again. Start applying the finer parts of fibreglass to the piece.

Smear the resin-mix to the fiberglass-layer. Pay special attention to the finer details, and take great care to get any air bubbles out.
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STEP 6: APPLY MORE LAYERS

When the first layer is dry, use more resin-mix and fibreglass to create a second layer. This time it is easier to attach the fibreglass and get the details right.

Repeat this procedure two more times, applying in total four layers of fibreglass.
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STEP 7: DETACH MOULD

When the mould is dry, detach the mould from the piece.

Sometimes, you will need to hammer on it to loosen the piece from the separator.
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STEP 8: APPLY SEPARATOR IN MOULD

Now, it is time to make a fibreglass cast from the mould. Sometimes, it is a good idea to start by sanding the piece at the edges with sandpaper.

Then, apply the separator inside the mould.
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STEP 9: SPRAY PAINT

Once again, we start with spraying fast-dry spray paint as the first layer.
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STEP 10: APPLY RESIN

Next, mix some more resin and hardener. As previously, apply two layers of resin only, before you start with the fibreglass.
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STEP 11: APPLY FIBREGLASS

Now, it is time to apply the fibreglass. As previously, use finer parts of fibreglass first and smear the resin-mix to the fibreglass-layer.

Repeat two or three times, depending on how thick you want the piece of art to be.
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STEP 12: DETACH CAST FROM MOULD

Finally, use a cutter or other suitable tools to detach the cast from the mould.

Then, you can fix the edges of the piece using scissors, files and sandpapers.
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STEP 13: PAINT CAST

In this last step, Ronex shows how to paint the piece to give it a bronze look. First, use som black spray paint. Then, add some details using brownish and yellowish colours.
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You have now created a piece of art by using fibreglass to make a mould and cast from the mould.

Congratulations!

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