Six shortcomings of using molds for polymer clay

Silicone molds are a popular tool for polymer clay enthusiasts looking to save time. But using them for your creations also has its drawbacks.

Using molds with polymer clay has a lot of wins and I use them for various projects but before you splash out for your next creation, consider the following six shortcomings and problems you may encounter with using them.

  1. Limited Design Options: The designs are limited to the shapes available, and customizing the design is often not possible meaning your work will look like that of others, doesn’t stand out or lacks variety.
  2. Manufacturing mishaps: Some molds may be made of low-quality materials or have poor production, resulting in difficulty releasing the clay or poor detail in the finished product.
  3. Trouble getting the casts out: with some molds, intricate details or deep recesses can be difficult to fill with clay leading to missing details in the finished item. Equally, some have shallow recesses that do not provide enough space for the clay to be pressed into. Use liquid clay to overcome this problem.
  4. Difficulty removing finished pieces: If the material is poor quality, the clay may tear or break up when pushed out. Read the reviews before buying and apply a light dusting of cornstarch to the form before pressing the clay into it.
  5. Risk of creating identical pieces to those made by others: Using commercial molds means that you are limited to the design with the risk of your work looking like that of many others. Some products may also have restrictions on what you can do with work produced from it. Check the description of the product for limitations. For variation, I place small resin shapes in recesses and cavities to subtly change the casts.
  6. Restricting your skill development: When starting, using molds will allow you to make good quality creations quickly and easily. However, using molds can limit your polymer clay sculpting skill development and you never progress. If you do use molds, try making each creation without the mold to improve your crafting capability.
While molds can be a useful tool for polymer clay projects, it’s important to be aware of their shortcomings. Understanding these limitations will help avoid potential problems and create unique creations that showcase your skills and creativity.
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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