Saturday, July 17, 2021

Using Silicone Ice Cube Trays for Resin

There are a ton of different moulds made specifically for resin. But if you want your resin pieces to stand out from the crowd, then look to the kitchen and to other crafts that use moulds for some unusual mould ideas. 

Moulds are made of all sorts of different materials and whilst not all of them are suitable for resin, many of them are. So what should you look for in a mould? 

A resin mould needs to be 4 things:
  • flexible
  • non-porous
  • non-stick
  • able to take the heat generated by curing resin
Moulds that don't have these 4 characteristics won't be successful. 

Two hands flexing a blue silicone arrow ice cube tray

Because resin cures hard, rigid moulds just won't work. If you can't flex the mould, you won't be able to remove the resin casting from it. 

Likewise for moulds made of porous materials: the resin will seep into the mould surface and bond to it permanently. Plaster of Paris and wooden moulds are good examples of moulds that are both rigid and porous and simply not suitable.

The material that a mould is made from needs to be a surface that resin doesn't stick to. Silicone and polypropylene are prime examples of non-stick surfaces for resin.

Plastic candy and chocolate moulds made from thin plastic generally can't take the prolonged heat that curing resin generates, even though they can cope with the short term heat of boiled candy and melted chocolate. 

So these are moulds that don't work. But there are plenty of moulds that have the 4 essential properties in the list above. Most will be made of silicone. But keep an eye out for Polypropylene plastic (PP) moulds too.

And that means that there are moulds from lots of other crafts that are worth looking at:

soap moulds (both plastic and silicone)
sugarcraft/cake decorating moulds
silicone bakeware
chocolate moulds (silicone)
ice cube trays
plastic plaster moulds

And then there are some less obvious options: kitchen and household items that don't quite fit the criteria for moulds but nonetheless, give you some unexpected, creative options. Take a look at these two silicone gadgets and how you can use them to make totally original resin jewellery:

Silicone Trivets

Can you believe this wrap bracelet was made by filling the square cavities of a silicone trivet with resin?
Lime green, hot pink and white resin cubes strung with silver wire beads on a multi-layered wrap bracelet

Silicone Drink Markers

Colourful textured silicone beer bottle markers on a white surface

And what about using a domed dessert mould like this one:

Blue, white and pink striped resin dome ball necklace with a long, blue suede tassel

To make the sphere, just pour the resin into two cavities and when they're cured, glue them to the front and back of a jewellery bezel to form a ball.

On top of that, there are things you probably hadn't thought of, such as the plastic blister packaging that protects many of the items you buy. The smooth, glossy cavity of this type of plastic can work well as a single-use mould.

Using these less obvious moulds gives you an opportunity to create totally unique pieces that are guaranteed to produce interesting pieces.

But the one type of mould I get asked about all the time is silicone ice cube trays. Can they be used for resin? 

The answer is most definitely, YES!

Sage cube ice tray with a clear resin cube filled with a yellow straw daisy, an orange continents ice tray and a yellow lego brick ice tray

There are so many fun shapes in silicone ice trays and they're generally small enough to use as keychains and jewellery charms.
Faux opal resin kangaroo keychain with flashes of red, orange, green, blue and turquoise on a black background. Inset in the corner is an orange silicone ice cube tray in the shape of a kangaroo with 7 small kangaroo cavities.

Resin cactus keychain filled with green and gold glitter sitting on the edge of a blue cactus shaped ice cube tray.

Generic shapes are quite inexpensive. Licensed designs are more expensive and you have to keep in mind that those shapes are protected by copyright so they can't be used for pieces you want to sell.
pink silicone butterfly ice cube tray alongside a black resin ladder necklace dotted with pink and apricot resin swirls

So if you've found a unique item that you think might work as a mould but you want to make sure it's suitable BEFORE you fill it with resin, you can do a simple spot test on the outside of the mould.

If the resin sticks after it's cured, then it's not suitable. But if it peels away easily, then you're good to go!

And one more thing before I go: Once you've filled a food mould with resin, it should be kept as a resin-only mould and not be used for food again.  

Pin This Idea!
Yellow straw daisy encased in a clear resin cube, sitting on top of a sage-coloured ice cube tray with 6 cavities

Happy Resining!

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