THE LONE PINEAPPLE: DIY DUPLICATION
I’ve spent the past month up in Scotland completing my fabric walling training, and to finish off my room I’m after a special curtain pole. More specifically, a golden one with a pineapple at each end.
This is going to sound like a complete fib as it was such a ridiculous bit of luck, but having had the pineapple idea, I discovered that my grandparents used to have beautiful pineapple ended curtain poles and we had one of said pineapples at my parent’s house. It’s a real stunner, but sadly this is a lone pineapple and I need two.
And so the idea of duplication sprang to mind … Can I mould and cast two brand new pineapple finials? Let’s see …
The hero of this month’s project is this amazing stuff: Composimold.
It’s not the cheapest at £32 for 480ml BUT the beauty of Composimold is that you can re-melt it up to 35 times so it can be used again and again for all sorts of projects. It’s also food safe, so you can make your own chocolate moulds and loads more too.
Very simply, you place the object you’d like to take a mould of into a container, melt the Composimold (it arrives in a hard jelly-like form), pour it over the object and leave it to set. You then slit the mould down one side, remove the object and tape the mould together again before pouring in your preferred casting material. Sounds simple enough … here’s what actually happened …
Some things to consider before you start…
In theory, you can make a mould of anything, but some objects will be more simple to work with than others. You ideally want an object with one flat surface and not too many 3D elements that might be hard to extract from the mould. Luckily, my flat bottomed pineapple is the perfect man for the job.
There are also a whole host of things you can use for casting depending on what you’re making; epoxy resins, putty, clay, silicone, plaster/concrete, soap, waxes, chocolate, fondant and loads more. I’m going for plaster of paris although I’m sure a chocolate finial would be delicious!
FOR THE MOULD
Vegetable Oil (to act as a mould release)
Plastic Container (to hold the object you’re moulding)
Hot Glue or Clay (to fix the object to the bottom of the container)
Microwave or Oven (to melt the Composimold)
Craft or Kitchen Knife
Plaster of Paris
STEP 1: PREPARING THE MOULD.
Find a plastic container that is slightly larger than the item you’d like to mould. I used a fizzy water bottle.
Coat the inside of the container and the object you’re moulding with vegetable oil. This allows you to release the object from the Composimold once it has set.
Using glue or clay, fix the flat surface of your object to the bottom of the container. As my pineapple annoyingly has a screw sticking out of the flat surface I rigged up a snazzy arrangement which let me suspend the pineapple in the container instead. i.e. I screwed the screw into a plastic soup lid which then sat on top of the container.
STEP 2: MELTING THE COMPOSIMOLD.
The Composimold instructions state that a microwave is the safest place for melting, or that if you don’t have a microwave you could try a double boiler on the hob. I don’t have a microwave and the double boiler didn’t work, so I threw caution to the wind and stuck it in the oven at 130 degrees…
I watched it like a hawk, checking it every couple of minutes as I was worried that the Composimold container would melt, but it didn’t and after about twenty minutes the Composimold had melted to a rubbery soup.
STEP 3: POURING THE COMPOSIMOLD.
Molten rubber is obviously quite hot, so wear oven gloves for this part! Carefully pick up the Composimold and pour it into your container until the object is covered. Now tap the mould to get rid of as many bubbles as possible. You can also buy a spray called Bubble Buster, but being a Scot I plumped for saving the money and using the ‘banging it on the table’ method instead. You can also use a toothpick to draw the bubbles away from the object.
Now leave it to set. For those of you who are impatient, stick it in the fridge to speed up the process.
STEP 4: CUTTING THE MOULD.
Depending on the shape of your object / container, you might get away without cutting the container. In my case, not so. I cut down the side of the container with a pair of scissors to release the mould holding the pineapple and then using a knife, made a slit down one side of the mould to release the pineapple.
STEP 5: TAPING UP THE MOULD.
Tape up the slit you made to release the object so that the casting material won’t escape when you pour it in. I’d forgotten to tape the bottom of mine and ended up with plaster pouring out the bottom … not ideal! Luckily, as you can re-melt the Composimold, you can always start again.
STEP 6: CASTING.
On the Plaster of Paris bag it calls for 4 parts plaster to 3 parts water.
I mix these together in a jug and pour the mixture (it’s a pancake batter consistency) into the top of the mould. You’ve got to work quite quickly as the plaster sets fast. It’s also important to keep bumping the mould on the table as you go so that every area of the mould has been filled and that there are no bubbles.
Once you’ve filled the mould, leave it to dry. Mine was ‘dry’ in about 2 hours.
STEP 7: RELEASING THE CAST.
After 2 hours (I think I could have done with leaving it a little longer as the plaster wasn’t quite set) I whipped the tape off the outside of the mould to release the cast.
I’m not going to lie, it’s taken me three attempts to cast a pineapple i’m happy with!
From left to right: Take 1 | Take 2 | Take 3 | The Original
I didn’t bump the mould on the table while filling it with plaster, so some bits of the pineapple were missing…
I didn’t tape up the bottom of the mould properly and the plaster started flowing out the bottom … it then started to dry as I tried to scoop it back in the top, and I ended up with not enough plaster to fill it.
I LOVE! There are still some imperfections – some holes and bumps where there have been bubbles, but once it’s properly dry – I’m going to leave it for a couple of days to really dry out – I’m going to fill and sand it ’til it’s perfect. I’ll then prime it and spray paint it gold.
If you’ve got something you’d like to duplicate, I’d so love to know how you get on with this project! Tag images of your casting success using the hashtag #MadeWithMolly so that I can see.