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Making Chalkware from Chocolate Moulds

Monday, April 10, 2006

In March, when I bought one of Penny McAllister's paper mache pieces (which I'm still in love with) I started looking on the internet at how things like that are made. Many people use chocolate moulds (or chocolate molds) to base their design on, by pressing the paper mache mixture into the sides of a mold. When I did a search on eBay for a chocolate mold I could play around with, I saw that some people were selling chalkware that was made that way - that you could take plaster of paris, pour it into a chocolate mold, and a few minutes later you would have a 3-d model of whatever shape it was.

I bought these three chocolate molds from some very nice people in Belgium, and received this little chicken family in less than a week!
Making Chalkware

First, I'll start with what I used:
chocolate mold(s)
plaster of paris (and water to mix it in)
disposable cup or little bucket to mix the plaster of paris in
a chopstick or something else to stir it with
newspaper to help stabilize the upside-down molds
clips to help hold the mold shut
cups (or anything) to help hold the mold upside-down
paint (I used the cheapy folkart paint at Michael's)
foam brush for the paint
pearlescent paint

I found these cups that were about the right size for the molds (the purple ones were presents!):
Making Chalkware

Next, I put the clips all around the closed mold so there hopefully wouldn't be any leaks. My plaster of paris box said to just briefly run some water inside each mold to make it easier to get the finished piece out of the mold, so I did that:
Making Chalkware

I stuffed paper underneath and around each of the molds in the cups so they would be steady and even when the plaster of paris was poured in.  Then I just mixed the plaster of paris. It really does set in 20-30 minutes, so have everything ready to go.

I just poured the plaster into each mold right up to the top (if it goes over, it's not bad - you can just pull it off the outside later). Pour it a little at a time and try to pop or avoid any bubbles. The important thing here is to make sure it's even:
Making Chalkware

After an hour, they were all ready to come out of the molds. Here's the first one out - the little chick-a-dee:
Making Chalkware

They were all really easy to pop out.

Now you can either take sandpaper and sand down the mold line, or do like I did and just make them even. For this time, I decided I liked them looking a little more 'industrial'.

Before painting, at least 24 hours needs to go by after unmolding to make sure the pieces are completely dry.

I just super-watered-down some of the folkart paint, and applied one color to each of the chickies:
Making Chalkware

Once the first coat of paint was dry, I applied some pearlescent paint. They look really different now, stalking Krispy Kreme:
Making Chalkware

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