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How To Pour A Mold

Pouring slip in a plaster of Paris mold is called slip casting and is a widespread ceramic technique that is used for making multiples of a ceramic piece.

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It may not seem like there is much to pouring mud in a mold, but there are a few things that one must know.
I will try and give you all the tips and tricks that I have learned through the years on how to pour a mold.

Pouring a Ceramics Mold

If your mold has several pieces, be sure and tie them together with thick rubber bands or nylon mold straps that ratchet tight and are suitable to the mold size.

Stir your slip thoroughly with a clean stick making sure that you don't get air bubbles into the liquid.
Clay and plaster do not mix -- make sure not to get plaster into your slip!

If you have a very large bucket of slip it will be easier for you to pour a mold if you put some into a smaller container.
When you do this make sure that the smaller container will hold enough slip to fill your mold.

Be sure and strain the slip to catch any lumps from getting through, because they will stick to the wall of your piece.
You will be able to see the slip sticking to the mold and thickening.
At this stage you can gently knock the sides of the mold with the ball of your hand or with a rubber mallet to free any air bubbles which may be trapped in the clay.
The bubbles will rise to the surface.

As the clay wall thickens, water is absorbed by the plaster mold and the level of the slip will drop.
Continue pouring small amounts of slip into the mold to bring the level to the top edge of the pour hole.

When you think that the correct wall thickness is reached, pour all the slip out of your mold back into your bucket.
It is possible to time the period the slip stays in the mold, but this will vary in subsequent casts, depending on the moisture content of the mold.
If I have a very dry mold, I would usually let it set for ten or fifteen minutes, but if the mold has been poured before and is somewhat wet, I will let it set twenty minutes.
If you don't let the slip set in the mold long enough, your piece of greenware will be very thin and usually will break while cleaning.
If you want a very thick piece, you can leave the slip in the mold thirty to forty five minutes.
Turn the mold upside down on a rack so that the excess can drain out.
Now, depending on the thickness of your clay walls and the moisture content of the mold, you will have to just keep checking to see if your ceramic object is dry enough to remove.
The way I check is to feel the inside of the piece through the large pour hole and if it feels fairly hard, it should be good to take out of the mold.
As it dries, the clay will shrink but the plaster mold will not and the ceramic form will shrink from the mold and pop out if the clay is dry enough.

Releasing and Pouring Mold After you have taken your piece out of the mold, place it somewhere that is safe from being knocked over or hit and let it dry.
You don't want it to dry too fast, because it will crack on you.
When you check to see if it is dry enough, touch it with your hand and if it feels cold, it is still wet.
If it feels warm it is dry.
The most important thing to remember is, make sure that your piece is completely dry before it is fired, because if it ain't it could blow up in the kiln and destroy it or even the whole kiln load.

At one time I had thought I would start pouring my own greenware, but soon decided that it would be cheaper to buy greenware than buying all the equipment and molds, which ain't cheap, not to mention the mess created during pouring a mold.
The best bet if you want to pour your own ceramics, have a building separate from your house to do it in.

The ceramic stores today carry a huge selection of greenware, paint and tools.
I go in them to buy one piece and I can spend hours just looking around and usually come out with four or five pieces.!!!

Every path has a few puddles.

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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