Animal Vegetable Finial

I am obviously into sculpture of all types, besides being not good at it. So last summer when I built a small fence at the house, I had the idea to make custom finials for it.

The kids and I took on this project together: we each chose an animal to model first in clay.

After those dried, I made a rubber mold for each one using this silicone mold product, Mold Star 30. Two of those…. more or less worked. On Felix’s, I failed to properly mix the product and it never cured into a solid. So we had to remake that one!

On mine, the positive form was too tall, and I didn’t have enough liquid rubber material to cover the clay form. So I scrambled to fill the volume of the mold with other objects, shoving rocks into the areas around the edges to occupy some volume. It more or less worked, but this is not advisable.

After the mold material sets, you can pull out the clay original. Our definitely broke apart in this process.

Animal Finial Process

When that’s dry, I mixed up concrete to fill into the mold. The dowel rod is how I plan to mount these into the fence posts; just drill a hole into the column and then mount these with silicone.

Animal Finial Process

This was also a mixed success; the objects took, but the aggregate was so rough that it screwed up a lot of the fine details. I also think I mixed the concrete incorrectly, and should probably try again.

Animal Finial Process

The concrete is so rough here. You can see how all the detail in the clay model is lost, even though that detail is present in the mold. I was bummed that this was going to be so gritty.

But then! We did a concrete mold project at work (for fun, as part of our Final Friday get togethers), and for this we used countertop concrete. We also mixed the concrete much more carefully, so I’m going to try this again before I settle on installing these.

An update from 2021! We finished this project with countertop concrete, which was much smoother. I molded my gorilla, Felix made a cool turtle, and Trudy made a smiling starfish. It’s not high sculpture, but it’s a nice touch of handmade art in a small place in the house. I love it. Two years later, they’re still holding up great out in the weather, and look like they’ll outlast the fence.

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