Making a large hollow figure
Posted in: Tasting Notes
In getting ready for christmas, I've got plenty of smaller figures "in storage" for the time being, but now I need a few "super Santas" for display. Here's the mold, a two piecer, from Belgium. The marks on the rule are in inches, 20 inches is around 42 cm.
First, all of the white coloured features are done--beard, fur trim, pupils. Using an artist's brush for this is ridiculous, waaay too much real estate to cover, I use a cornet.
Next come the dark coloured features--toy sack, eyes, and boots. This means of course that the body will be milk chocolate.
The one and only coloured feature, red mittens. This is almost a must in the city I live in, Vancouver. Red mittens were the trademark of the 2010 winter olympics held here.... This was brushed on in several layers. I always buy my colours--primary colours only--in the powder form and mix my own with cocoa butter. Far cheaper this way....
It does look kind of ugly right now, doesn't it? I've brushed on a layer of milk chocolate over most of the mold. For this I use a silicone brush, found with the BBQ gadgets in the kitchen stores. Best brush for this purpose-- I never loose any hair/bristles and it is easy to clean--just let the chocolate harden and pull it off!
Here we are ready for filling. The mold never came with any clips, and the mold has a heavy rim/frame around it so clips wouldn't work anyway. Last year I used woodworker's "C" clamps (or cramps if you're British...) to hold the mold closed. It was awkward and I was always afraid I'd crack the mold if I applied too much pressure on the clamp.
What I found works best is packing tape. You can get some decent tension on it and really clamp the mold tight.
Now I have to work quick, chocolate shrinks as it dries. What happens with large molds is that I get "bleeding" with two colours. Say for example the the toy sack which is dark, if I'm not careful I'll get milk chocolate creeping in between the mold surface and the dark chocolate feature when I ladle the milk in.
Ladleing in. I usually do two coats, with the final weight around 3.5 kgs. This is sufficient enough for a figure to withstand heavy shaking and transport, and light enough to make the figure affordable.
Here's the final Santa. If you look at the boots, you'll see what I mean about the two colours "bleeding" under the mold.
This figure has a very large stomach and toy-sack, but with small feet, making it very top-heavy and tippy. After casting and cooling, I usually sit the mold on a thick puddle of couverture to give it a heavy "sole" for it's boots and to add a little weight to the bottom. In any case the figure will be packed in a sturdy box and cellophaned up. It can't tip over in the box.
Thanks for looking, and don't work too hard this christmas
updated by @Edward J: 04/09/15 04:53:18PM