With the holiday season just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to make glow in the dark holiday ornaments. We found a cute metal reindeer that we used as a master to make our mold and then cast the mold with resin mixed with our glow in the dark powder to create our unique decorations. These ornaments can be used indoors or even outdoors and hold up well to extreme weather conditions.
Through a process of trial and error, we streamlined the process of making a mold and casting the object. We have divided the process into two segments; the first is how to make your mold and the second is how to mix and cast the glow in the dark resin object.
Everything you need to make your own molds and glow casts is available for sale here at Techno Glow.
Making the Mold
What You Will Need To Make Your Mold
Mold Putty – For this project we used the Amazing Mold Putty. We also offer Easy Mold Silicone Putty that works the same, is purple instead of yellow and available in various sizes. Be sure to keep mold making materials out of the reach of children.
Master Object - An object that you will use for your mold. For this demonstration we are using a metal reindeer.
Works Surface - A clean work surface free of contaminants. Mold making putty will stain porous materials so be sure to protect clothing and carpeting from potential spills.
Scale (optional) - A scale for precise measurements, however it is possible to get a proper mix of the material without one.
Calculate the Amount of Material Needed
The putty comes in two parts side “A” and side “B”; one side is colored yellow and the other side is white. Take one of the sides and pretend to cover half of your master. There is no need to press it on, simply lay it on so that you get an approximate volume of putty.
Pay special attention to the high points on your master. For example, on our reindeer, one of the legs protrudes more than the others. It is essential that there is enough material to cover the high points of the master so that the mold will be the correct thickness. When you have half the master covered, roll the putty into a ball.
The mix ratio of the putty is 1:1 by weight or volume. Measure an equal amount of putty of the other side. If you want to be precise, you may use a gram scale. However, it is possible to achieve the proper mix simply by eyeballing equal amounts of both colors.
Mixing and Work Time
Knead the two putties in your hand until they are completely blended and no swirls are visible. This MUST be completed in approximately 45 – 60 seconds. Quickly roll the putty into a ball making sure to press while rolling so that there are no creases. It is extremely important to eliminate all of the creases otherwise they will be visible in your mold and will transfer to your cast object marring the surface.
The putty is now ready to be applied to your master. Lay the master flat on your workspace. Beginning at the highest point of the master, lay the putty ball on the master and begin to roll it around. Rolling the putty in this way ensures that the putty is pressed into every detail of the master and that there are no air bubbles. You must work quickly as the open time of the putty is from 2 – 3 minutes from the moment that you begin mixing it together; this means that you now have 1 – 2 minutes to cover your master. Continue applying the putty by rolling it onto the master until you have achieved the correct depth of your mold. Please note that warming the material even just in your hands prior to mixing SHORTENS the work and mold times, as does a humid and warm environment. We would advise handling the material as little as possible prior to mixing it.
We found Amazing Mold Putty easy to use with a few caveats:
Make sure that you mix enough material to cover the entire master. If you find small holes in your mold after it has cured or where the putty is too thin, it is possible to patch the mold with additional small pieces of putty. Just mix up a small amount of putty, smooth it over the hole and leave it to cure. If your master is relatively flat as in the case of our reindeer, you may be tempted to roll out the putty to the general size of your master, lay it flat, and then push the master into the putty. That method is not advised for several reasons:
- As previously mentioned, it is important to note the high point of your master. If you simply pushed the master into a rolled out piece of putty, you may have incorrectly estimated the depth of the putty. This could lead to an increased chance of your mold developing holes.
- The details of your master may be lost, smeared or dragged.
- The edges of your mold will not be flat and even thereby increasing the chance of spillage during the casting phase.
There are some materials that will inhibit or prevent silicone putty from curing properly so it is important to know what your master is made from. These materials include vinyl, sulphur (clays) superglue, latex, neoprene and natural rubbers. If you are not 100% sure if the master material you are using is compatible, we recommend testing a small area prior to making the entire mold. That way you can avoid wasting molding material.
After you have successfully made your mold you can move onto the really fun part and make a glow in the dark resin cast from your mold.
Casting the Mold
What You Will Need For Casting Your Mold
Resin or Epoxy – we used the Amazing White Casting resin, as the set-up time is only 10 minutes and we couldn’t wait to see the final result of our glow in the dark reindeer. Techno Glow now also offers FastCast that works exactly the same. As with the putty, please make sure that the product is stored and used out of the reach of children.
Any Mold – for this demonstartion we will use the reindeer mold we made in the previous step.
Glow Powder – all of our glow powders at Techno Glow works great in most resin epoxy products. Make sure you also check out our resin epoxy dyes and fluorescent uv powders for tinting resin epoxy.
Clean Work Surface – make sure that porous materials such as carpeting and clothing are protected from potential spills.
Optional Products – graduated measuring cups (no styrofoam); a scale; stir sticks; utility knife, self-healing cutting mat. We also recommend having a rotary tool on hand for cleaning the mold edges.
Most resins comes in two parts, side “A” and side “B” that are mixed together in equal parts. There are some other resin products that get mixed at other ratios. We used white casting resin because the set-up time is only 10 minutes. However, resin and epoxies also comes in clear, which takes 24 hours to cure. We would highly recommend using the clear resin for a better and brighter glow.
The resin manufacturer recommends mixing at least ½ an ounce (14.174 grams) of each side to ensure that you have a proper mix ratio and that the resin will cure properly. For example, the preferred method of mixing is to pour side “A” into side “B”, which reduces the amount of air introduced into the mixture. If you were to mix only ¼ of an ounce of each side of the product, the residue left in the “A” cup would be enough to throw off the mix ratio and would affect the resin’s ability to cure. This level of precision is less critical in batches of resin over ½ an ounce.
For our glow-in-the-dark reindeer we estimated that we needed 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of side “A”, 10 grams of side “B”, and 5 grams of glow in the dark powder. As we used less than the manufacturer’s recommended amount of the casting resin, our first reindeer was extremely slow to cure. We would definitely recommend mixing a minimum of ½ an ounce of each side of the product in order to avoid a similar problem.
Measure equal amounts of side “A” and side “B” into separate cups. Add the glow in the dark powder into side “A” and stir it vigorously with a stir stick. Make sure that the cup is large enough so that you can stir without the materials spilling over the side of the cup.
Once your have thoroughly mixed side “A” with your choice of glow in the dark powder, pour it gently and slowly into side “B”. Smooth sided, flat bottom cups are best for effective mixing. The mixed resin becomes hot and sticky to the touch so it is crucial that you allow enough space in the mixing cup to avoid spillage. DO NOT USE STYROFOAM!
After you have poured all three components together, stir vigorously for approximately 15 – 25 seconds. Make sure that the stir stick is in contact with the bottom of the cup as this reduces the amount of air that is introduced into the resin. It also helps to distribute settling glow powder.
Tilt your mold sideways as if you were pouring a beverage into a glass, and slowly pour the resin into the cavity of your mold. This will help prevent unwanted air bubbles from forming.
The resin is ready to be removed from the mold in 5 – 15 minutes depending on the mass/volume of the material that is being cast. Our final reindeer was ready in just 10 minutes!
After removing the cured cast from the mold, trim off any small excess pieces with a utility knife on a self-healing cutting mask. If you do not have a self healing cut matt, perhaps you have an old unused cutting board. For a completely smooth finish, touch up those areas with a small rotary tool.
Overall, we were delighted with how easy it was to use glow in the dark powder with resin epoxy to create our own simple but unique holiday ornament. We think our glow in the dark reindeer looks great hanging in the window! In fact we love him so much we will soon have an entire herd as we have been making them in different colors. The glow in the dark christmas tree is now hanging permanent in the guest bedroom. It almost looks like one of those tree shaped car fresheners. People just love it glowing all night long.
There are so many things that you can make with glow in the dark powder, and resins. Use your imagination and have fun creating your own ideas. We would love for you to post your pictures on instgram and tag us with #technoglow.