When looking to make epoxy resin molds, there are a couple of different groups you may fall into. You might be looking to make a large, flat object, like a table or serving board, or you could be looking for a mold to craft smaller objects like jewelry, ashtrays, or keychains with epoxy resin.
For large epoxy resin molds, you will want to use sturdy, flat materials such as high-density polyethylene, plywood, or melamine. For smaller objects, you will want to use silicone or small plastic containers to achieve the correct shape.
While it is easy to have knowledge of things that can make epoxy resin molds, it is more practical to understand what you should use in any given scenario and why some have benefits over others. To make this more simple for you, I have created a consolidated list below of the 6 best materials to make an epoxy resin mold with benefits for each type of substance. Let’s take a closer look.
1 – Silicone (DIY or Pre-Made)
When it comes to making smaller objects like craftsman pens or jewelry with epoxy resin, silicone molds have a long-standing history as a way to make sure you get the most ideal (or unique) shape possible for your epoxy resin.
Silicone molds are easily the best way to make resin molds for small objects. You can get pre-made molds for most things, or you can buy a silicone mold-making kit in order to make a customized shape of your own.
One of my favorite ways to create small objects is to purchase a silicone mold-making kit and to use an object from around the house. Doing this I can make a small mold in just about any imaginable shape that can turn into gorgeous epoxy resin pieces. The signature customizability of this option is a huge perk for an epoxy resin artist.
Another favorite way of mine to find silicone molds is to look on Amazon (or your store of choice) for silicone molds. Many of these are baking molds but are perfectly fine to use with resin – this is how I have made many figures in the past. (*As a note of caution, you should not use the molds for baking or food consumption after you have used them with epoxy.)
2 – High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) has quickly become one of the most popular materials for epoxy table and serving tray molds. Often, you will find people selling the molds pre-made for certain common sizes of coffee tables and charcuterie boards.
HDPE is best if you are looking for a reusable mold for epoxy resin. If you have plans of making multiple tables or charcuterie boards, you will want to invest in this as it will give you the smoothest surface, and save you money in the long run- although its upfront cost is higher.
Creators who own wood shops and sell for profit benefit most from HDPE, since they are able to reuse it many times to achieve similar, high-selling products. If you are a gifter, this might also be a great option for you, as you can make many serving trays or end tables for family and friends.
Keep in mind that HDPE is going to be one of the more expensive options, but this is because it comes with such a high level of durability that is unmatched by other types of epoxy resin molds. You truly get what you pay for in terms of high-quality when you choose to go with HDPE for larger projects that require a sturdy, flat material.
3 – Melamine Board
A great alternative to HDPE for epoxy resin table molds is melamine. It is still incredibly flat and comes in just about any size you could need. It does tend to be quite a bit cheaper than HDPE, but will likely not last as long.
Melamine is the best way to make an epoxy resin table or board mold that is more affordable than HDPE. It can be used in multiple ways and tends to leave a perfectly smooth underside after curing. Be sure to meticulously use a release agent in order to get the best results.
If you fail to use a release agent when using melamine board as your epoxy resin mold, you may find that the material gets stuck to your epoxy resin and could become quite a chore (or even impossible) to break loose. Obviously, this can be rather costly in time and resources on your project. Still, if you use a release agent, this is a great material that is highly durable and well sought after for a less expensive option than HDPE.
4 – Plywood
As opposed to melamine and HDPE, plywood is incredibly cheap and still works great for making epoxy resin table molds. Plywood is also highly accessible at almost any home improvement store and can be found (or cut) in a variety of dimensions.
Plywood is the cheapest way to make a large epoxy resin table mold. It can be a bit more difficult to make a perfectly flat surface and is more prone to slight bending at larger sizes. You will need to cover it with sheathing tape to ensure the epoxy resin does not bond with the plywood.
My first time using plywood I did not seal the surface all the way and ended up having to sand plywood off my coffee table. This was incredibly frustrating, but I quickly learned my lesson. Since then, I have learned to use sheathing tape on all parts of wood, and to seal the edges with either hot glue or caulking.
5 – Plexiglass
One of the popular, unique substances for making epoxy resin molds is plexiglass. It is commonly used for smaller objects and tends to work well, although it is a bit less customizable considering its more durable surface.
Plexiglass is used by many artists to create small, rectangular epoxy resin molds. This is a great way to make lights, sculptures, or embed precious items into clear epoxy. Many artists use this to encase flowers or toys to be displayed.
When using plexiglass for epoxy resin molds, you should make sure to clean it off well, and seal the edges extra. I like to use caulking on all my edges to ensure that I don’t lose epoxy resin (and ruin a piece of art) when I am working. You can choose another type of sealant, but this is what I have found to be the most reliable and effective.
6 – Plastic Containers
While I know saying “plastic containers” does not give a lot of insight – this is because this is where creativity really comes into play when working to make an epoxy resin mold.
Using plastic containers, like cups or tupperware, can be a great way to get epoxy and other objects into a simple shape. This is a favorite technique for woodturning as well as finding unique shapes for epoxy resin art.
At the end of the day, few people will really venture into this, but I encourage anyone who is willing to do so to do it! If you know how to use a lathe, you can make beautiful bowls, eggs, and other objects out of these simple materials.
Keep in mind, you will likely want to use a releasing agent with this as well to prevent your plastic containers from sticking to the epoxy. If nothing else, this can be a fun way to test out a new trick before working with your specialty items.