Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Silicone moulds - uses tutorial and tips

Silicone moulds, some love love LOVE them, and for others they are the bane of your existence. They look great in the pictures, but when you try to un-mould them they suffer distortion or they stick and break. Don’t panic this is for you and hopefully will help solve some, if not all of your problems. There are three different moulds used with the basic process being the same. Each mould has different areas where problems can occur. Please be aware though that we all have troubles at times it's natural but it's also fixable!

Step 1 Get your silicone mould, fondant and CMC/tylose. I mix at a ratio of around 1 tsp of CMC/tylose per 250gms of fondant, to make a suitable modelling paste. Weather and colour can affect this though so the best way I can describe the finished texture is like blue tack. If you pull some blue tack from its paper holder its quite stiff but elastic. You need a paste that is stiff like that with an elastic quality. If your modelling paste is to soft you will have problems, so add more tylose. If it's too stiff add a small amount of fondant to loosen it up.

Step 2 I dust my moulds with cornflour, make sure you get into every little corner and then tip the mould to expel any excess

Step 3 Use a piece of stiffened paste that is a little bigger than what you require and start pushing into the mould. Its best to start at the larger portion of the mould or in this case with the flow of the detail. I am pushing it in in the same direction as the leafy side details flow.

Step 4 Keep pushing it into the mould gradually filling it and pushing well to ensure you get all detail

Step 5 When you get near the end tear off the majority of the excess paste and finish filling up the mould removing the final excess

Step 6 If your mould has a little too much and you have made the back lumpy then you can trim with a sharp knife in a sawing action. If you just slice you may drag the paste out of the mould. Make sure all detail is showing and that you haven't got any paste overflowing the mould edges, use your finger or a small tool to ensure the edges are clean and the paste is pushed back into the mould

Step 7 Gently flex the edges of the mould…all around ….from every angle. This ensures the paste is loose and isn't going to grab into the moulds nooks and crannies as you try and remove it. If you have a small part that doesn’t want to move you can use a pokey tool to get it out. This is one of my favourite all time tools from LVCC.

Step 8 Finished moulded paste will just drop out…truly!

Step 9 Some moulds like this fabulous pukeko have quite small details. Start at the larger body part and fill that cavity first heading towards the skinny legs. I always push away from myself which is why this is upside down!

Step 10 Remove most of the paste and push gently into the small channels. If you remove too much make a thin sausage of paste and press into the gaps. A little pressure at the join will meld it together and you wont see it when it unmoulds. This also works the same way with the strap of a handbag mould

Step 11 Flex to loosen at the main body and gently at the legs. The body is the part that will be unmoulded first. If you try to get the legs out they will stretch and distort. You should see that it is all moving away from the mould.

Step 12 Remove body from mould, the legs may stay depending upon the angle you unmould it but a little flex in a different direction should  loosen them. If it doesn’t the pokey tool will gently flick them out.

Step 13 Reposition legs in correct place to dry if they move when they come out

Step 14 Some moulds like this pohutukawa one have a lot of detail and also vary in depth. This is quite deep around the flowers and very shallow at the leaves and stalk.. Make sure you brush it well with cornflour

Step 15 If you have hollows once you have pushed in your paste make sure you even out the surface with added paste balls pushed flat so the end result will sit cleanly on whatever surface you want to stick it to

Step 16 Loosen the paste at the thicker part. If its slightly stuck in the nodules you may be able to flick it free with a paintbrush dusted with cornflour

Step 17 If you have removed the paste from the mould and have a distorted part somewhat, push that part back into the mould to reform. Here I squashed the stalk a little and a leaf fell off. The stalk I reformed by pushing back into the mould at that point. The leaf I dealt with after

Step 18 Shows the stalk all reformed and the leaf I have pressed gently back onto the mould with a small hard tool.

If you have sticking and stretching as you unmould add more tylose to the paste as its likely too soft, if it feels sticky you will have issues!
Also make sure you dust the mould well, if you push paste in and it sticks in an area unmould and redust. You may be able to resurrect the unmoulded part by gently pushing it back in to reform.
If you are struggling to push the paste into the mould then loosen it up a little with some fondant, you will get the feel for what works. Don't give up you do need to play a few times to get the feel for the paste and using a mould
There are also release agents that you can rub a little onto the mould - I don't use them but they may be what you prefer
If none of the above helps you can put the mould in the freezer until firm. You should also be able to unmould easily. You should unmould onto baking paper or a dusted surface as it will sweat as it comes to room temperature before it dries out and may stick to the surface you have placed it upon if you don’t. All the best 

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