Getting To Know Your Alginate

Alginate is the material of choice for making body molds for life casts. It is easy to use, easy to mix, skin safe and eco-friendly too. You will surely find something suitable given the broad range of options.

Alginate is the most commonly used material for making body molds. It is a natural substance derived from seaweed and is safe for the skin. It is easy to use as well.

Mixing is a straightforward process – take alginate and water in the specified proportions and they will mix easily to form a gel-like substance. A rapid mixing for 15 to 20 seconds will yield a smooth and creamy consistency that is ready to use. Small quantities can be mixed with hand but larger batches require a turbo mixer or speed drill.

The mix ratio is usually 1 part alginate to 3 parts water. However, the ratio changes depending on the formulation and some brands allow a much greater coverage with a mix ratio of 1 part alginate to 7 parts water.

However, care is required over the type of water used in the mix. Always use soft water (opt for distilled water if unsure) for mixing alginate as hard water will make the mix lumpy and ineffectual.

Once applied on the body, alginate will capture excellent forensic detail. The fine body hair, lines, wrinkles and even fingerprints are accurately copied in the mold and can be reproduced in the life cast.

What’s more, alginates are eco-friendly as well. Some of the formulas actually enrich the soil. Therefore, used alginate molds can be easily discarded without worrying about the effect on the environment.

That’s not all either. Alginate comes in a wide variety with silica free formulations available as well. The type of set can vary from regular to soft (for babies) and options of set time are also available ranging from 2 to 3 minutes, 4 to 5 minutes and even 5 to 7 minutes. There is fiber-infused alginate as well that offers improved tear strength and delayed shrinkage.

Life casting artists can easily source the various types of alginates from the EnvironMolds website,

Varied Types of Clay at EnvironMolds

EnvironMolds opens the doors to a wide range of plasticine and ceramic clays to suit varied uses. The options range from Roma Plastilina and Del Milano to pottery clay and include ballistic clay too.

Clay is an important art material that is used by mold makers, sculptors, potters and other artists in many ways. Plasticine clay is especially popular for its non-drying and reusable properties. It displays good flexibility and adhesive properties and is regularly used for mold making, mask making, sculpting, special effects and clay animation.

The EnvironMolds website ( offers a complete range of molding clay to suit varied uses and budgets. The premium grade Roma Plastilina clay is available in varying degrees of hardness – soft, medium and hard - to suit different applications. Del Milano is a budget option, yet on par with Roma Plastilina in terms of quality. This is a non-sulfurated variant that comes in handy for silicone and urethane rubber mold makers as it will not inhibit the setting of these materials.

The industrial grade Chavant clay is also sulfur-free and is available in brown and gray-green colors. The unique feature of this clay is that it can even be melted and poured like other casting materials! Once it returns to room temperature, it will set by regaining the initial firmness.

In addition to this, regular pottery clay – from Dresden and Artware – is available too. These are suitable for ceramic works and prove to be quite adaptable. These clays set to a smooth, brilliant white finish while Stoneware clay is a moist option that turns bone hard when allowed to dry.

Apart from this, there is another variant of molding clay called ballistic clay. Surprisingly, this clay is considered to be of similar density and elasticity as live animal muscle tissue. Therefore, it is used by government agencies to test body armor and even in forensics. In fact, the Roma Plastilina No. 1 ballistic clay is specified by government agencies for ballistics testing.

Therefore, all kinds of clay modeling options can easily be sourced from EnvironMolds, that too at the best prices.