Friday, August 8, 2014

Making a Primavera Ficcare Part 1: Making the Mold

The Primavera collection from Ficcare is my long-standing favorite.  I'm lucky enough to have a few, three, specifically, one silver, one silver where I blackened the recesses, and one silver that I gave an olivine enamel and crystal treatment to:

Sadly, they stopped making these clips years ago and they're very hard to come by.  So I wondered, could I make a Primavera top that I could rivet down atop a blank matte Ficcare, thereby giving it a Primavera finish?
Here's my plan:
    • Make a mold of a Primavera
    • Use art Metal Clay to create the patterned top
    • Rivet the metal patterned top down on a blank clip

I have no idea if this will work, but can't hurt to try, right? :) 

Making a Mold

The first step was to make a mold.  To do this I had to take a reverse-casting of an existing clip.  After a bit of research I settled on a composite mold compound.  The short version is that you melt it down, cast something and then can use that to make replicas.  You can watch a video of how it works here.

It was a little unnerving knowing I was going to pour hot resin over a fairly valuable hair clip, so I did my best to protect it.  Using a plastic bag over the lower jaw and taped to the underside of the top of the clip, I was at the very least hoping to keep the goo out of the hinge.

So I had the Ficcare, had the ComposiMold, and then I needed to find a vessel to cast in. I wound up using a craft organizer with one section walled off by a box of toothpics wrapped in a plastic baggie.  This allowed me to set a small size that would enable me to pour the entire clip rather than trying to figure out how to do just the top.  Both the top of the clip and the inside of the casting box were given a mist with mold-release.
I don't have pictures of me pouring, because I needed to hands to do it, but here it is with liquid resin all over it.  At this point I was REALLY hoping I hadn't ruined the clip.

It wanted to turn over like a fish, so I taped down some sticks to help keep it pushed down in the mold, then went back to my day job and hoped I wouldn't come home to a total mess.

After returning, I carefully eased the block out of its casting box, and lo! It seemed to have taken well.   I also felt the need to make a Jurassic Park joke :P

And then I very, very carefully started extracting the clip from the block.  I had to be careful not to cut the patterned bit I wanted, scratch the clip, or slip and cut myself.  It took over an hour just to cut everthing away.  Thankfully I have very steady hands, prompting my high school biology teacher to say during dissections that I should have been a surgeon.  

AHHH.  So much for that not getting it in the hinge plan!
Thankfully after several minutes I was able to get it all out.
But it worked!  I was able to get the clip out totally unharmed AND had a pattened mold with with to try making a metal clay cast from. 
I've got a fire brick and more clay on the way, so stay tuned for making the metal plate.


  1. Greetings!! *wave*

    Wow! I have your blog pinned in my favorites bar so I can check it every day. And I must say, it's so much fun to read. :) Especially about your cute bees!! This post was also particularly interesting to see. You do such a lovely job modding these clip, I'm super excited to see how this progresses. You are a very brave lass indeed, to imbed the clip in resin. But it turned out amazing, and I can't wait to see how you create the metal plate.

    Warmest of Wishes!

  2. Oh wow, you're a brave one! It's amazing to watch your process with your crafts. Looking forward to part II - very excited to see what's next! :)

    <3 Indigo Girl