Faux Gem mini-tutorial

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#1 alliebeth on 8 years ago

First of all, for those of you who know how to cast resin, don't bother with this. This is for people who can't or don't want to deal with chemicals of any sort, or deal with glues or any other type of molding compounds that get hot and/or have fumes.

So, this started because I'm making a Magic Knight Rayearth cosplay. For those of you who don't know, there are a boatload of shiny happy gems of medium size on these things. I can't resin cast in my tiny apartment, and frankly don't want to. So, what's a girl to do? For the larger gems, I'm using half-cut christmas ornaments, so that's taken care of, but for the medium sized gems I figured this quick, easy method out. Hope it helps somebody.

I say mini-tutorial because there are no pictures, but it's pretty easy to explain the process. PM me for questions:

- Cling wrap/Saran wrap/plastic wrap...whatever you call it
- Paint tray. Like [URL="http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/357422/2/istockphoto_357422-painbrushes-on-mixing-tray.jpg"]This or similar[/URL] Don't worry, we won't be ruining it.
- Fine-to-medium grit sandpaper(s)
- Crayola model magic clay. Any air-dry clay would work, I guess. I use MM.
- Acrylic or spray paint, gloss, paint brushes, etc.
- A few days for drying/painting

1. Take your paint tray and a piece of plastic wrap large enough to more than cover 1 of the circular holes. Place plastic wrap on top of hole.

2. Roll a ball of model magic out. Squish into paint tray hole, on top of plastic wrap. For a nice size gem, make sure the model magic is all the way to the top of the mold.

3. Remove by lifting up plastic wrap. Don't worry about the little creases on the clay. Shape if desired (rounding, pointing, etc). Let dry at least 24-48 hours.

4. Sand edges and creases away. Wipe off with damp cloth. Paint. Gloss. Done.

Oooo...pretty and shiny. Although not near as accurate and pretty as a resin gem, it's a cheap and easy method that gets the job done well and looks pretty darn good if you use enough gloss. Also, they are light and easy to glue onto surfaces. You can do this with pretty much any mold, I assume.


#2 KnightJeran on 8 years ago

Thank you very much for this idea!

I have tons of airdry clay around and I'm in dire need for gems for my Seth cosplay (over 200+ gems!). My endless search is over! Though they're not going to be faceted or see through, gloss works wonders anyways! Unless you get faceted molds... hmm....

#3 alliebeth on 8 years ago

Hm..come to think of it you could probably use resin molds with this methods. It might not work with facets though because you have to sand out creases caused by the plastic wrap (if you don't use the plastic wrap, good luck getting the clay out in a coherent shape!)

I'll try to finish up some gems I just made and post pics tonight to give an idea of what the finished product looks like.

#4 WARPAINTandUnicorns on 8 years ago

If you but a thin layer of luqiud soap in and plastic or metal shape/mold you want you can use air dry clay and let it dry int to mold or use Fimo or Sculpey to tap them out after your done building the shape you want.

I make press molds all the time with clay work.

The fleur de lis are all press mold clay glued to cameo backs.

Gand painted gems look better in photos if you paint the with a highlight and low lights to give them a rounded look.

Sarcasm-hime MAPS coplay are all hand painted. (kicking it old school 2002! :rockon:)

#5 alliebeth on 8 years ago

Ooo..I hadn't thought about painting in the highlight and lowlights. I wasn't sure if it would look good, but yours looks GREAT, so I think I will have to do that! do you have any tips?

Does the soap leave a gross residue on the gems at all? I will have to try it!

Another thing that makes the gems look more...gem-ish is to first paint them in an opaque darker color and after they're dry, to brush them with 1-2 light coats of a lighter color (dark green and light green for example). It makes them look more interesting and less flat.

#6 alliebeth on 8 years ago

Here's my final result! Love em' for how easy they were.

#7 Flora88 on 8 years ago

You could just get a bouncy ball and cut it in half. >_>

#8 alliebeth on 8 years ago

[QUOTE=Flora88;3541326]You could just get a bouncy ball and cut it in half. >_>[/QUOTE]

That's harder than it sounds, and the end result is also heavier. Plus, when a bouncy ball is cut in half, it tends to flake and not be a smooth surface at the bottom, making attachment difficult. And, you can't control the exact shape or nuances you might want in it. And painting rubber is annoying.

#9 WARPAINTandUnicorns on 8 years ago

Polishing a bounce ball would be impossible. >_< youe would end up with a frosted backing at the most.

[QUOTE=alliebeth;3537628]Ooo..I hadn't thought about painting in the highlight and lowlights. I wasn't sure if it would look good, but yours looks GREAT, so I think I will have to do that! do you have any tips?[/QUOTE]

I didn make her's but it a bit of trial and error. Can thin out the paint with water as you go from the solid dark or colour to the base colour you've already painted to add gradation.

the soap sould not leave a residue if it thin and you let it dry first. If it does most air dry clays after they dry can be washed with cool water and left to re-dry.

#10 Sarcasm-hime on 8 years ago

When painting artificial highlights and shadows on gems your best bet is to study the way they're shaded in anime and illustrations; you're basically replicating those tricks to make something look 3-D. And yeah, do a base coat and then shade with watered-down paint.

This technique works great on lots of things, not just gems - painting in fake shadows and highlights really makes pretty much any prop look more realistic.

#11 Devil Lista on 8 years ago

I have problems with gems! This helps so much.