When you’re working with resin, one of the questions you’ll soon come to wonder is how to take care of your silicone resin molds.
Proper care from day 1 is going to be important for making sure that you get your money’s worth out of your investment, and also making sure that the resin molds work as advertised. Spoiler alert: proper care of your resin molds isn’t going to take 3 hours. It’s actually very simple and easy, and these tips will guide you.
Not so sure? It’s okay. Proper cleaning of your silicone molds is one of those things that looks complicated, but really isn’t.
I’m a 5-year resin artist that has learned how to make the cleaning process as simple, accessible and as easy as possible. I’ve used that experience to put together this guide for you so that you can get the proper support you need on all things related to cleaning your molds properly. Below, you’ll learn including:
- how to take care of your molds when making resin crafts
- how to clean your molds thoroughly and safely
- how to clean molds with uncured resin, and;
- top tips on storing your molds.
First, let’s tackle taking care of your molds while you’re actually making your resin crafts, since that’s likely to be your first situation. Not cleaning them properly while you’re crafting can lead to damage to the mold, or, worse, a creation that doesn’t look as you planned it due to the mold being dirty.
Mold release agent for easier cleaning
You’ll want to invest in a mold release agent for easier cleaning. This is a spray (or a liquid) that goes onto your mold and helps to ease the resin out of it without damaging the mold or the creation you’re making.
This is especially important for those intricate molds. Apply a thin, thin layer of it over your mold about 10 minutes before you pour your epoxy in for best results. When you are done that, clean as normal (even if the mold looks clean to the eye). More on that in the next section!
Avoid using lighter, flames or heat to remove bubbles
Despite what you may have read online, make sure that you avoid using lighter, flames or heat to remove bubbles. Sure, they may remove the bubbles from your resin, but your silicone molds are not built to withstand it!
They may buckle, warp or degrade in quality and you’ll end up having to replace them sooner rather than later. Take proper steps to remove the bubbles from your resin before it pours into your mold.
Don’t over-stretch the mold when demolding
When the time comes to demold, you’ll want to take extra care to do whatever you can to protect the mold, rather than just do “whatever it takes” to get your creation out.
Firstly, don’t over-stretch the mold in order to clear the project. This will weaken it and will put it at risk of permanent damage much easier and faster. To avoid the need to over stretch, here are some details to keep in mind to make it easier on both your mold and your stress levels!
Make sure that the resin has cured properly. If you cut it short, it will ruin your project and stick to the mold, too. Be patient and wait a few minutes if it’s still sticking to the mold.
Secondly, really make sure you’re familiar with how to use the mold release agent. It’s your best friend when it comes to saving your molds and making this admittedly stressful part of the mold creations so much easier.
If you’ve done all that and it’s still sticking, put the mold in hot soapy water and let it sit there for a minute or two. This will help you safely pull the edges back and free the epoxy resin without weakening the mold.
When you’ve finished your project and you want to make sure that you are cleaning the mold properly so that it’s ready for your next creation, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s deliciously simple.
Use cheap baby wipe remove resin scraps and glitter
Firstly, use a cheap baby wipe to help get a head’s start. Gently rub your mold all over, especially the crevices and use gentle pressure to work all resin scraps and glitter, etc, off so that it looks clean to the eye.
Wash mold with water and soap
Then, fill your sink full of hot water and just a small amount of soap. Gently wash the mold around and use only soft microfiber cloths in the mold itself. Avoid scrubbers, harsh detergents, or anything that may scratch the surface of your mold and damage it.
Rinse it thoroughly with fresh water and then let it air dry somewhere warm. Don’t store them until they are completely dry, even in those tiny crevices!
Are you in a situation where you need to remove uncured resin from your mold? Don’t worry it happens to the best of us! You have two methods available to choose from:
- Nail polish remover
The freezer method is the most common because it’s the easiest. Put your mold into a Ziploc bag and then into the freezer. After 2-3 hours, take it out and, wearing disposable gloves to protect your hands, gently peel the mold back.
The now hardened resin should be simple enough to peel free and get rid of. If the resin is still sticky and doesn’t want to come out, put it back in the freezer and try again!
Once you’re done with that, you can clean as usual with hot and soapy water. It’ll be good as new after that!
The nail polish remover option starts with you scraping as much resin out of your mold as possible first. Then pour nail polish remover (aka acetone) over the mold and let it sit for a few hours.
Remember to work in a ventilated area, as this has a strong and harsh odor! Then, wearing disposable gloves, scrape at the softened resin again and get as much as you can off. Once again, you can then wash as normal in hot soapy water and dry completely. This method does take longer, so keep that in mind!
Now storage time! Proper care of your molds includes thoughtful storage, and there are a few things to keep in mind.
We’ve talked already about details like avoiding lighters and heat, and overstretching. We also touched briefly on waiting for your molds to air dry, but let’s dive a little deeper into that.
When something is stored with water still in its crevices, it can grow mold that is notoriously difficult to get rid of. It also weakens the silicone and creates breakages and rips, not to mention it makes it harder for you to get the resin out! So, really pay attention to making sure it’s completely dry before you store it.
Now the actual storage itself. You’ll want to store it with a cast in the mold (for shape retention). Put the casted mold into a plastic bag and take out as much air as possible. Place it in a drawer or a shelf that is level and totally flat. It should be a shelf or drawer where it doesn’t need to be moved frequently or shifted.
Your resin molds are undoubtedly where the magic is when it comes to crafting, home decor, or making jewelry. So, do your part to protect these well-made silicone molds by understanding how to care for them during use, after use, and in storage!