Faux electroforming

I’ve been on a bit of an electroforming jag lately. Here’s a new link from Tavostia in Russia and some experimenting from Cynthia Blanton.

For those of you who, like me, are trying to resist the urge to impulsively invest in more equipment, I’ve come up with a faux electroforming trick that may help.

First I made silicone molds of some bumpy unidentified berries from a neighbor’s tree and cast white polymer beads from the molds and fired them. Then I pulled out my alcohol inks, colored the white clay and let the inks dry.

To give the berry beads a metallic/electroformed look, I pulled out my secret weapon – gilder’s paste! Sue Sutherland and Ellen Prophater let us try theirs at a conference and I was hooked. The paste reminds me of the old-fashioned shoe polish that comes in flat cans. A swipe of a paste-coated finger over the top of a design highlights it with a metallic sheen which becomes permanent in a few hours. Gilders paste can be moved around or wiped off in the first few minutes which I find a big benefit over Rub and Buff or paint.

Copper-colored highlights would have passed for electroforming so I’m adding that to my supply. Sue and Ellen are building their site over at Filigree and More and you can email them to order.

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  • reply Ellen ,

    What a wonderful surprise! Thanks for mentioning us.

    • reply Lynda Moseley ,

      Wonderful! I think the faux electroforming is the way to go for me. Thanks so much for the substitute method, Cynthia!

      • reply JeannieK ,

        What a great alternative. The beads are spectacular!!

        However, I’m a big fan of Rub N Buff, but now I have something to compare it to. I’ll definately give it a go.

        • reply Ronna ,

          I’m a bit embarrassed commenting two days in a row, but … I came home from Synergy II with a bunch of different colors of guilder’s paste from Ellen and Sue. I’ve been using it for some polymer journal covers I’m making, and having lots of fun combining colors. Since it’s wax rather than paint, combining the colors is a little unpredictable, but there’s something about wax that is very visually resonant, so it’s worth it. I’m particularly enjoying the heavily-pigmented bright colors, especially when I texture the flat sheets so the pigments pick up and highlight the texture. I’ll have some pictures to share results in a few weeks.

          • reply marcia ,

            I’m lovin’ this one! I had been thinking about trying this but hadn’t run into anyone who used it on pc. I will definitely give it a try for some ideas I have in mind. Thanks to Cynthia B. for sharing, and thanks so much for this post! Have a great holiday!

            • reply alisa R. ,

              Is there anything polymer clay can’t mimic??? I’ve seen so many creations that really, truly trick me!
              I love the huge selection of colors for the gilder’s paste. {Must add that to my must-have list now!} But yeah… I AM trying to resist the urge to buy more and more equipment. So thanks!!

              p.s. the bumpy berry shapes are great!

              • reply claire maunsell ,

                Right up my alley – thank you so much!

                • reply Janice ,

                  I love how you jumped right in, took a technique and made it so faux real! Genius! Thanks for sharing!

                  • reply Amy Crawley ,

                    Brilliant idea, Cynthia! Love the Gilder’s Paste. Oh boy, looks like something fun to play with during the holidays.

                    Are the berries from a dogwood tree? Our dogwood produces bumpy red berries. Once picked, they shrivel as they dry and make nice texture molds.

                    • reply Cassy Muronaka ,

                      Go Cynthia!

                      • reply laurie prophater ,

                        Fabulous, Cynthia. I will second the high fives on the gilder’s paste. I’ve been playing with it in mokume gane and will use it instead of gold or silver leaf from now on.

                        • reply Lindly Haunani ,

                          The other nice thing about these pastes is that they may be mixed together using the palette knife to make custom colors and then stored in small metal tins to use in the future.

                          • reply Peg Harper ,

                            Works for me! Thank you, Cynthia.

                            • reply Gaina ,

                              I tell you what else gives interesting effects – bake your piece then ‘pat’ it with a clear embossing ink pad and brush on a metallic embossing powder, then blast it with a heat gun. You can also brush the dry powder onto your raw piece before baking it, which gives a slightly more textured result than the heat gun :).

                              • reply Beverly Jane BJ ,

                                Oh my…I am hooked just looking at those yummy colors. After the holidays I will be having a wee purchase of these, I can tell. Great looking.

                                • reply Helen Breil ,

                                  Those berries look just like metal clay! I have to try the guilders paste. Cynthia what colour paste did you use on those berries? Thanks for introducing us to a new interesting product!

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                                  • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

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