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Alginate molds of small birds

Discussion in 'Molding and Casting' started by crich, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. crich

    crich Guest

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if anyone knew the best way that i could make complete body castings of small birds (from finches up to about the size of a jay) - getting the best detail with least distress to the bird specimen. I would like to make castings of the dead birds that i find in my yard- and i am afraid using something like plaster would end up ripping the bird apart when i go to remove it from the mold.

    I was thinking alginate would be the easiest solution- as i don't think it would stick to the feathers - but can i even make a 2-part alginate mold? And how would i address the legs?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. BIGUN

    BIGUN Member

    You can make a one piece alganate mold and then use a molding parting knife to cut it into as many pieces as necessary. A mold parting knife makes a mold orientation groove with every cut so the pieces will line back up. The alganate mold will start shrinking so you need to get your casting right away. You will have trouble with the legs if you need to keep them intact- they are so tiny and hard to "hit" with the knife. the ideal cuts are ones in which the very tip of the knife just barely touches the model so tiny legs will be tough. Dave

  3. Niki

    Niki Guest

    You can do a 2 part alginate mold, that would be easier than trying to cut those tiny legs. That would be the best for the tiny legs. www.artmolds.com might help. Another route you could take is a soft fast setting silicone. PlatSil Gel-10 might work for you too. www.polytek.com That would give you a permenant mold. Just a few thoughts.
    ~ N
  4. BIGUN

    BIGUN Member

    Sorry to be contradictory, but two part alganate molds are usually bad idea. The alganate shrinks so fast that by the time the second half is cured and demolded, the first half may have shrank a slight amount. If you do it in one pour and cut it apart, both halves of the mold are exactly the same age and hydration. I agree silicone is a good idea, but NOT a platinum based silicone- definitely tin based or else the cure could be inhibited. Dave
  5. CRICH, in the future you may want to leave the part out where you mentioned Jays, and uless they are game birds, any oither little birdie you may find in your yard. Most of them will be federally protected, Robins, Jays, any songbirds, ect ect. Just thought I would mention that as some people just dont know
  6. Judysan

    Judysan The Roadkill Queen

    I think you're talking about casting a bird with its feathers still on. Alginate will flow into every nook and cranny. You won't be able to get the bird out of your mold in good shape. You could try coating the bird with something like vaseline, but you'll loose the feather detail. Try alginate on one feather, useing different mold releases, until you get the look you want. Then try it on a whole bird ... after you get the permits.