Difference Between Plastic and Silicone Molds

Which is better – plastic or silicone molds for making castings of resins and other materials? Both options come with their own pros and cons. Generally, silicone ones are preferred by professionals.

The technique of making a cast begins with a mold. The casting artist will either make a mold or use a ready mold for making the cast. The casting material is usually poured into the mold and allowed to set before being demolded. Once it has cured properly, it is finished and is ready for use. How to make a mold for the casting is another story for another day.

However, here we shall take a look at the type of molds to be used for making a cast. Let’s consider plastic and silicone molds for instance.

Plastic molds usually have a lot going for them. They are easily available in the market in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are flexible, reusable and quite inexpensive at that. Being quite easy to work with, these molds are considered apt for novices stepping into the world of casting. Even if the molds get damaged, they can be easily replaced or even discarded if someone loses interest in the hobby.

On the other hand, silicone rubber molds are more sophisticated and top quality molds that are preferred by professional casting artists around the world. They may seem like a substantial investment initially, but this does pay off in more ways than one.

The biggest thing working in favor of silicone molds is that they can be customized as desired. The mold maker can make single or two part molds of any item that is to be replicated as a cast. However, making a plastic mold calls for specialized techniques and equipment for working on vacuum forming sheet plastic around a template. Therefore, making casts from plastic molds can be limiting based on the ready molds available.

Then again, casts made in plastic molds do not turn out glossy enough. The molds tend to get scratches easily, which also affects the quality of the castings. The surface that is touching the mold will have to be recoated with either the casting material or a sealer to make it shiny. On the other hand, castings from silicone molds have a smooth and shiny finish that is pleasing to the eye.

These molds also lend themselves well for making complex castings. Demolding is especially easy even for complicated shapes as silicone does not stick to anything except itself. It should be kept in mind that silicone molds are extremely durable, but only as long as they are cleaned and stored properly.

EnvironMolds offers a range of materials, supplies and equipment including a great selection of high quality silicone rubber formulas that are suitable for both mold making and casting. Indeed, most silicone mold rubbers can double up as casting rubbers too. However, artists should bear in mind that silicone rubber should never be cast in silicone molds as they will tend to stick to each other.

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