T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

Composimold is a composite molding material. The details are a trade secret. It’s biodegradable, food safe (but don’t ingest), honey coloured, rubbery at room temperature and melts in the microwave. It’s designed for mold-making, and can be melted and reused at lest 35 times. I got mine from Aldax in Sydney (http://www.aldaxstore.com.au/), and there’s lots of information (except for composition) on the Composimold company website http://www.composimold.com/.

Sample p3-8

Sample p3-8 in progress

Sample p3-8 in progress

In my first experiment I used a silicone egg ring on a smooth plastic cutting mat as a base. Plasticine was used to create a seal around the bottom. The tub of composimold was put into the microwave for three bursts of 30 seconds, until it melted to the consistency of runny honey. A pool was poured into the ring, then a half skin from a sumo mandarin put on top. No mold release was used.

I waited for around an hour for the composimold to set (ambient temperature around 18° C).

Sample p3-8 Backlit

Sample p3-8 Backlit

The backlit view gives the best idea of the level of detailed texture captured. Where the mandarin rested the material is thinner, but there are no breaks.
Sample p3-8 Flexing

Sample p3-8 Flexing

The mold is delicate, ethereal. Variation of depth causes colour change, enhancing our perception of the textured surface. Tiny air bubbles bring vitality and light into the surrounding material. What would be a flaw in a mold for casting becomes a positive here.

The photograph on the left demonstrates the flexibility of the material. The disc will fold right back on itself with no apparent damage. I feel this could be useful, although I don’t have a particular application in mind yet.

This image also shows the “splash” effect of the molding material moving up around the mandarin skin as it was placed in the ring.

Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

The material is almost totally transparent. On the right a piece of indigo dyed paper has been placed behind it and detail of the patterning is clearly visible, green through the gold of the composimold.

The surface of the composimold is very slightly tacky to the touch. The samples I saw in the store had picked up dust and lost their gloss and some of the transparency – something to consider when presenting and storing work if those properties are significant.

Sample p3-8 side detail

Sample p3-8 side detail

A closeup of the splash effect shows the energy and dynamic interest created. The delicate tracery around the edges is moderately strong but I suspect would not withstand prolonged or rough handling.

Sample p3-8

Sample p3-8

A final, full view of the sample. A very exciting result which left me keen to explore more. I have however noticed the pace of experimentation has slowed still further. I like to see the results of one sample before deciding on the next step, and setting time is becoming significant. I will probably need to adjust my process when working with the casting materials or I won’t be able to meet the assignment deadline.

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9 in progress

Sample p3-9 in progress

A computer circuit board was used as the source of texture in this sample. The same egg ring and plasticine were used, but this time the base was the circuit board itself, propped up to be roughly level.

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9 side view

Sample p3-9 side view

The composimold was able to capture the detailed connections on the card. There is interest and variety but also order in the impression obtained.

The photograph to the left demonstrates the impact of different angles of viewing. The colour of the material is much richer where we are looking through the full width of the mold. In sample p3-8 the best photographs had the molded surface showing and the smooth surface on the table. This allowed appreciation of the depth of texture. In the current sample the best photographs had the smooth surface uppermost. When the molded surface was on top visually confusing and blurring shadows muddied the image.

Sample p3-10

Sample p3-10 in progress

Sample p3-10 in progress

Sample p3-10 was molded on a warp-faced synthetic luggage strap and a loose round braid of synthetic yarns. Egg ring and plasticine were used to contain the molding material, and once again I didn’t used a mold release or prepare or pre-treat the base materials in any way.

Sample p3-10

Sample p3-10

Some composimold adhered to the surface of the strap and it had to be very carefully peeled away. A small amount of material found its way underneath the strap, but it was a simple matter remove it. However the braid was basically encased in the composimold. I cut through one side and was able to extricate the braid, but it has created a thin and weak area across the mold.

Despite or because of those difficulties, the fine details of the texture have been captured and the result is pleasing.

Sample p3-10 backlit

Sample p3-10 backlit

The backlit view allows one to appreciate the intricate impression. This material is very effective in capturing texture. The transparent honey is pleasing to my eye. Being a one part material that is simply heated in the microwave makes it easy to use – and reuse. The major constraints are low tolerance to heat (of course – it melts!) and possibly picking up dust, degrading the appearance.

P3-e1 group of samples - polymorph and composimold

P3-e1 group of samples – polymorph and composimold

I also find the combination of materials, polymorph and composimold, of great interest. Above we see the same three subjects captured in the two materials. I would like to find a way of joining these elements in a way that can take advantage of different lighting conditions.

Sample p3-11

Sample p3-11 in progress

Sample p3-11 in progress

Looking again at sample p3-8 while writing up this log led me to make one final sample during this work session. The delicate splash effect on the earlier sample made me wonder about a full mold catching that dynamic lift. The composimold site shows the possibility of painting on the material, and this seemed a good fit to the task.
Sample p3-11

Sample p3-11

This sample is a delightful, delicate bowl that beautifully records the mandarin’s texture and shape. The appropriate colouring is a lucky happenstance of the combination of materials.

Sample p3-11 Inside out

Sample p3-11 Inside out

The flexibility of the material makes it a simple matter to turn the textured side out, in the photograph highlighting the glossy surface of the painted side.

Sample p3-11 Backlit

Sample p3-11 Backlit

The backlit view visually flattens the bowl, creating a flower-like look.

On this first experience I am very taken by the possibilities and ease of use of this material. I have a few days of other activities scheduled, which will give me some time to think about next steps.

T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 1: Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

10 Responses to “T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold”


  1. 1 Lottie August 26, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for all the details. Love this. Must look to see if composimould available in UK as this has added extras from the resin I have (flexibility). Have you played with putting stuff into the medium like dyes or might that be a chemical too much? Watching with eager anticipation as this progresses.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Sketchbook and change of plan | Fibres of Being Trackback on August 30, 2015 at 8:39 am
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding with Joining | Fibres of Being Trackback on September 1, 2015 at 7:40 am
  3. 3 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Sketchbook, refocus | Fibres of Being Trackback on September 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm
  4. 4 T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding continued | Fibres of Being Trackback on September 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm
  5. 5 T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm
  6. 6 T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm
  7. 7 T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage blocks | Fibres of Being Trackback on December 13, 2015 at 9:11 pm
  8. 8 T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage block extension | Fibres of Being Trackback on December 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

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