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Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Hi everyone!  I wanted to share a technique I stumbled on. I wanted paws that looked real and felt real, these are really great...if I do say so myself.

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I used silicone caulk in the big tube you find in a hardware store. You'll also need something to extrude it through, I would use a frosting sleeve but I don't have one so I use saran wrap. And you'll want scissors and acrylic paint the color you want and curved forceps or tweezers and fast drying super glue.

Before I started, I had made my little paw shapes from sculpey clay and baked them, then I pressed them into candle wax for a mold.

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You MUST use silicone I, there is also silicone II, but it won't ever dry in a mold. It actually has an extra reactant that keeps it active so mold doesn't develop: good for bathrooms, bad for paws.

Cut the tip off of the silicone tube and it is easy to push the bottom through to get it going, you won't need a gun. Mix in a  little bit of paint, you really don't need much, but make sure you mix it really well. Then you'll just extrude your mixed silicone into the parts of the mold. You'll need to be careful here, and fill from the bottom up and side to side, bubbles get trapped easily. This is pretty messy so I usually wet a knife or my finger and smooth out the tops, but don't worry about cleaning the mold too much, its easy to snip the excess off.

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The acrylic paint is water-based, and the silicone cures with water, so mixing paint in is actually a huge benefit.  It dries in a fraction of the time. It should be dry in about an hour.  At that point you can use your forceps to pull out the castings. They stick a little to the wax, but it is very stretchy.

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I use super glue to affix the pads to the foot.  It is a little tricky because the hairs sometimes lift up the pad, use a quick drying glue and try to cut down or tweeze out as many hairs as you can.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 20,052

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Very creative, Erin, and thanks for sharing with us!

PlushPuppy Posts: 107

These look awesome, that paw looks so real! I'm going to give this a try as I really want squidgy dog paws for my model. How much silicone do you use? And does it have to be acrylic paint?

tcfolk TC Folk Originals
Tempe, AZ
Posts: 1,553

Great tutorial!

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Thank you!

PlushPuppy, I typically extrude more from the tube than I use, but I usually start with a couple of tablespoons. The tube is enormous compared to how much you'll need. I make my noses this way too now. I have used maybe a quarter of the tube. And I practiced A LOT. I don't know that it needs to be acrylic, I have never used anything else. You could probably use various types of ink... but acrylic is easy to find, easy to use, and it is water based, so it helps the curing process. What are you making now?

koonienett Lüdinghausen
Posts: 302
Website

Thank you so much for sharing Erin. bear_flower I am sure, I'll trie this, if I design my first naturally bear or if I have time to finish my cat (it is unfinished since two years bear_whistle ).

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
Erin Seals wrote:

Thank you!

PlushPuppy, I typically extrude more from the tube than I use, but I usually start with a couple of tablespoons. The tube is enormous compared to how much you'll need. I make my noses this way too now. I have used maybe a quarter of the tube. And I practiced A LOT. I don't know that it needs to be acrylic, I have never used anything else. You could probably use various types of i nk... but acrylic is easy to find, easy to use, and it is water based, so it helps the curing process. What are you making now?

Thank you very much for your info, I like the idea so much I have had a go at practicing these already! Only I couldn't find silicone I this side of the pond, apparently it's either window & door silicone or bathroom one :D. My dad is a plumber and works with the stuff all the time so he told me to try the all purpose silicone sealant he's always using which dries nice and squidgy. I also tried a silicone roof sealant which is already black in color, but it's not quite as soft as the all purpose sealant. I have ordered some acrylic paint which should arrive this week so I'm looking forward to trying it out. I also didn't have enough candle wax or any polymer baking clay so I've improvised with a block of melted leather soap and Polyfilla wall plaster! So far, it's working well! bear_tongue I am making another Pom to improve on my first one, only I'm making two together this time, a cream one that I'm keeping as a demo dog and a orange/red one that I am going to try and sell bear_original .

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

That's so weird. You don't really think of those things... We have to go an hour to get it because we live in a tiny town, but any home improvement store would be likely to have it over here. The sealant your dad recommended is probably very similar. I used candle wax because it was all I had, silicone doesn't stick to much (that's why they make oven pads from it) but it does bond to itself. It seems to bond with the cling wrap also.

Very cool! Glad to hear you're going to sell, I hope you get some good bites! I'd love to see pictures of your toes and the poms they belong to when you get done!

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

Thank you Erin for the great tutorial. I have been meaning to try this technique for some time now....I normally sculpt my paw pads with Apoxie clay, but I like the idea of the soft feel. I'll give it a try!  bear_thumb  bear_thumb
Do you think I could make the cast out of Apoxie clay instead of wax? Or would maybe the silicone stick to it?

PlushPuppy Posts: 107
Erin Seals wrote:

That's so weird. You don't really think of those things... We have to go an hour to get it because we live in a tiny town, but any home improvement store would be likely to have it over here. The sealant your dad recommended is probably very similar. I used candle wax because it was all I had, silicone doesn't stick to much (that's why they make oven pads from it) but it does bond to itself. It seems to bond with the cling wrap also.

Very cool! Glad to hear you're going to sell, I hope you get some good bites! I'd love to see pictures of your toes and the poms they belong to when you get done!

I was going to follow your lead and use candle wax but there simply wasn't enough lying around the house and whilst looking for more I remembered the leather soap and thought I'd improvise. I live in a tiny town that nine and a half times out of ten either doesn't have anything you want or everything but what your actually after so I'm well used to improvising and finding alternatives for stuff :D. I remember when I was younger watching art and craft tv shows and the presenters would say stuff like "you'll get this in any craft store" and I'd think not around here you wouldn't as there is no craft store, and even if there was they wouldn't have it in :P. Thank goodness for the invention of online shopping!!

Thank you , they are coming along nicely at the moment and shouldn't take too long to finish as I've had more free time to work on them. I will definitely post pics whe their ready, and the paw pads when I've had a go at one to see how it comes out!

Kirstie_DDB Posts: 85

I was wondering how you made your squidgy paws! I've used sculpy clay previously but I want to give this a go! The idea of using wax for your mould is a great idea too, never thought of that. Do you just melt down a candle for that?

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Francesca, I'm sure clay would be great too! You may want to use bakeable clay that's been baked since the silicone might take up some of the clay in curing otherwise. As long as the clay isn't able to lose water it should be fine!

Kirstie, I had one of those hot plate melters and melted little tea lights in it until I had enough wax. I let the wax harden and then reheated the wax for pressing each piece.

I have thought about putting all five pieces onto some sort of handle to keep them all in the right place, and that would also make it easier to press, I think you could press something like that into the wax while it was still melted.

Caroline D Posts: 150
Website

Oh, I do like this idea! Definitely going to try this, just need to get clear silicone first(only have white around the house), then probably start with noses of different sizes. Have you tried putting a wire in the back whilst it's going off to make a loop for attaching?

Caroline D Posts: 150
Website

Okay, first lessons learned. Tea light wax is too soft, so trying candle wax next time. And cheap transparent silicon is no good, it sets like rock! I don't know what silicon 1 and silicon 2 is. I might need to go  into one of the  specialist plumbers places rather than somewhere like B&Q and ask them for what I'm looking for. I did try the  professional stuff that I had, just to see what would happen and the answer is, it doesn't! It did Not want to mix with the acrylic at all, went all weird and seperated. Must be water based.

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Hi everyone!
So a few updates:
1: I tried using some bakeable sculpy clay for a mold on a smaller kitty paw. It didn't work, the silicone just stuck in the mold. If you really wanted a good hard mold in clay, you can buy release agents for silicone casting.
2: The silicone is really quite hard if it isn't mixed with acrylic. When I mix the acrylics in, the paint sort of turns powdery, keep mixing!
3: I finally figured out how to add different colors to the paws. I just took them out of the mold and added layers! Duh!

Wax really gives the paw a special texure, it is softer when it comes out of the mold and less shiny. Adding layers makes the surface shiny and less squishy.

Lhearn Critters Creations
Alberta
Posts: 1,303
Website

Does the glue hold the silicon on for ever? I would be afraid that it will come off down the road.

Caroline D Posts: 150
Website

I did manage to find a silicone that stays soft when it's dry, but, once I added acrylic paint to it, it changed texture completely and went all crumbly and never quite dry, so back to the drawing board!

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31
Lhearn wrote:

Does the glue hold the silicon on for ever? I would be afraid that it will come off down the road.

I don't know if the glue will hold. I've only been making for about a year and a half, so I haven't had the chance to time test it. I wouldn't give or sell for children until I knew the longevity was at lest a few years.  There are other problems than choking if the glue doesn't hold though, mostly, because the texture of the fabric changes with super glue, it'll be hard to reglue. I thought about other ways of affixing, but sewing will really just pull through the silicone.

Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31
Caroline D wrote:

I did manage to find a silicone that stays soft when it's dry, but, once I added acrylic paint to it, it changed texture completely and went all crumbly and never quite dry, so back to the drawing board!

Caroline,
This happened to me too! I kind of just kept mixing until the crumbled turned more creamy, also, it changes the intensity of the color you mix. You may want to try using Less paint? If it didn't dry, that seems like more of a problem. Usually the paint mix dries faster than silicone alone. But I did buy a bottle of silicone 1 once and it never dries. Had to get silicone 2.

SvetBears Posts: 1

Hello ! I'm from Belarus, MINSK. artist Teddy, dolls. I would add .At the exhibition in Moscow ,I talked with colleagues and I really liked the silicone pads made of jewelry resin.. And still a lovely material from silicone, " for fishermen, create baits for fish ....YOU have a wonderful forum .was glad to find it .THANK you !...ВСЕМ   Привет ! Я из Беларусь МИНСК. художник Тедди ,куклы. Я хотела бы добавить .На выставке в москве ,Я общалась с коллегами и мне очень понравились силиконовые подушечки лапок из ювелирной смолы.. И еще прекрасный материал из силикона ,используемого для рыболовов ,создания приманок  для рыб ....У ВАС прекрасный форум .рада была найти его .СПАСИБО !

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 51

Bait or jewellery silicone? I never thought about that! Finding the right silicone is hard and I managed to get some... But my husband got to it first xD I so desperately want to try this!

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