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Pour a Poreclain Doll Mold

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Here's how to pour liquid slip into a plaster mold to create porcelain greenware. Porcelain greenware can then be fired into a kiln to create a doll head, arm, body or leg.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 20 to 60 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Stir and strain your slip.  Do not stir up air bubbles, which cause pinholes in greenware. 
  2. Let stirred slip sit overnight--close the slip container so it doesn't dry out!
  3. Open mold and use soft brush to clean debris from inside. Band mold together firmly using rubber bands or mold bands.
  4. Pour the slip into a pourable container.  
  5. Pour slip slowly but steadily until mold is full.  Pour smoothly, or you will get hesitation marks in the greenware (ugly lines that show up in the greenware stage and may show up when the doll is fired).
  6. As the slip settles, continue to "top off" the slip to the top of the pourhole.
  7. Time to drain a mold varies GREATLY from under 1 minute for tiny dolls in dry locales, up to 20 minutes for large dolls in humid locales.  To see if your mold is ready to drain, check the thickness of the slip at the pourhole wall.
  8. When the slip is as thick as a nickel for an average size doll, you may drain.
  9. Drain the mold slowly and steadily.  Don't let the slip "glug" out, because it will collapse the head. To assist drainage, gently blow air into a straw inserted into the mold.  
  10. When the slip has drained out, set the mold pourhole down on a rack so that leftover slip doesn't pool in the head.
  11. Most molds set up from 15 minutes (small molds) to 1 hour (large molds).  To test to see if your mold has set up, unband the mold, and lift the FACE side of the mold.  Don't force it!  If it doesn't come off easily, the head isn't ready. 
  12. Let the head continue to set up inside the bottom 1/2 of the mold.  You can cut off the pourhole "spare" now using a feather knife.
  13. Remove your completed doll head!  
  14. While the greenware is in the 'leather-hard" stage, cut out the crown of the head with your feather knife and make earring holes (if desired).
  15. You may cut out the eye sockets fully or partially at this time.

Tips:

  1. If the doll is very small or large, directions vary.
  2. Don't drain molds into your sink--slip can plug pipes.
  3. When you get good at timing molds, you can pour several at one time, staggering pouring.

What You Need

  • porcelain slip (clay)
  • doll mold
  • rubber bands
  • feather knife
  • stirrer
  • large soft brush
  • drainage rack
  • pourable container

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