Paper Mache Recipes, Tips, Techniques, and Experiments

Gelatin and Glycerine Mold-Making Recipe, Cheap and Reusable

Gelatin and Glycerine Mold Material Recipe

I spent the last several weeks playing around with recipes I found online for this cheap and reusable gelatin and glycerine mold-making material. The recipe you’ll see me making in the video came from Sharon Giles’ website. She uses it to make gelatin plates for printmaking, but it works just as well for molds.

I liked Sharon’s recipe because her process for mixing the ingredients was easier than some other methods I found. Ken, over at observationsblog.com, explains the chemistry of the mixture, but his mixing method takes a lot longer when you make a big batch.

In the next video, I actually make a mold over a partial face that was made with Sargent’s Plastilina, and it worked well. Any oil-based modeling clay would probably work. A film of petroleum jelly isn’t a bad idea, though, just to make sure it doesn’t stick.

But I’ll be going over all that in the next video – in this one, I show you how to make the material itself. Then in the next one you can see it being used to make a mold.

If you want to make more than one quart, you may want to get the larger containers of glycerine and gelatin. A full-sized mask mold would probably take three or four quarts of the material, and the recipe in the video is enough to make one quart.

If you try this recipe and come up with a really good use for it, be sure to let us know! And to see the next video that shows the material in use, click here.

28 Comments

  • Hi there, the discussion is a bit older, but I’ll try anyway:
    I am trying to get my shopping list together. Is the sorbitol a powder or a liquid?

  • Can I use this to make fondant molds for cakes? How long will they last? And how can I clean the mold without destroying it?

  • Yes I did. So I waxed the underside too.
    The sculpture lifted out of the mold eaily. Now I am trying to figure out what to cast it in. I’m trying plaster of Paris right now, and maybe epoxy next. I have to make several trophies so I am trying to figure out a way to mass produce. Thanks so much for your expertise.

  • Hi Jonni
    I am in the process of making a mold right now and was wondering if there is a certain temperature that the mold mixture should be? I’m making a relief sculpture of a dog head with WED clay that I coated with turtle wax and vaseline as per your instructions, and am hoping that it’s not too hot. Are there any rules? I used a meat thermometer and the temp was about 140. Any recommendations?

    • Hi Stephanie. I skimmed Ken’s article again, and it looks like 140F should be just fine. The gelatin/glycerine material should have been completely melted at that temp, and will solidify again if you leave it at room temperature. It will get stiff faster if you put it in the fridge.

      • I should mention that you want to make sure it can’t seep under your WED clay model, but you probably already figured that out. Let us know how it turns out.

  • Any ideas on how or IF this gelgoo will work with concrete? The silicone rubber stuff is so darn expensive and I have a large bowl/urn I’ve sculpted out of clay that I wish to cast 12 of in concrete for a pair of cascading fountain walls. Thank you Jonni for all the videos. You have inspired so many.

  • This is interesting and very cool stuff. I have a question for you though, what about cleanup? If it dries to a plastic, might that not happen in your pipes if you clean your bowl and spoon in a regular sink? Is it like plaster in that you should not do it?

  • Jonni,
    Thanks so much for doing the videos and showing us this awesome method! It’s probably the first easy and viable method I’ve seen for reproducing some of our creations; even easier than the silicone method I think, and probably better results.

    • I doubt that it will ever be better than the Smooth-On silicone, but it is a lot easier to use than the silicone and soapy water method (which, it turns out, is rather expensive here in my little town.) I do think the firmer molds made with Aryea’s recipe hold a lot more promise – I’ll be taking a short trip this weekend, but I hope to order the supplies she mentions as soon as I get back.

  • Jonni, funny you should mention this. When I was doing theatrical makeup for a local theatre guild, we used to use gelatine to a great extent. First and foremost was that it didn’t require a lot of the equipment that foam latex required, a great benefit to our cash-strapped organization. Another nice thing is that gelatine can be remelted over and over. (Another nice benefit.) One disadvantage is that it can rot. The simple addition of sorbitol can prevent this. It also serves to firm it up. The strength of gelatine is rated by the bloom scale. The higher the number, the stronger it is. Most makeup is made using 300 bloom or so gelatine. Although in a pinch I’ve used Knox instant from the supermarket and it worked okay. Knox is rated at around 225 bloom. Sorbitol is a commercial food sweetener that’s usually sold in 30-55 gallon drums. But you can sometimes find it in health food stores in smaller amounts. The standard formula we used for makeup was:
    1 part gelatine
    2 parts sorbitol
    2 parts glycerine
    This makes a fairly stiff composition that takes detail well. One nice thing about this is you can make it up in advance and store it in an airtight container in a cool place for later use. To store it, you can pour the hot gelatine into a flat pan and allow it to cool. Later you cut it into cubes. I’ve used gelatine made this way up to six months later. You just measure out what you need into a microwave safe measuring cup and heat it until it melts.

    Regards, Aryea

    • Thanks, Arylea! Can you tell us where one can buy the 300 bloom gelatin? I will mix up a batch with your recipe just as soon as I can find the supplies – my mold worked, but it would have worked even better if it was stiffer, but still pliable, closer to the density and strength of silicone molds.

      • Unfortunately Jonni, 300 bloom gelatine isn’t sold just anywhere. We were lucky to have a theatrical supply store in the town I used to live in, but outside major cities they’re a little hard to come by. Sometimes beauty supply shops carry it. Or restaurant supply shops may carry it in the form of sheet gelatin. Sheet gelatin is rated in silver, gold or platinum. Silver is around 75 bloom, gold is around 130, and platinum is around 270 bloom. If you don’t have any of those locations in your city, the next best (or perhaps the best) is the internet. I looked up a few for you:
        http://www.fxwarehouse.info/
        https://motionpicturefx.com/
        http://www.monstermakers.com/
        Those were a few sites I had in my bookmarks. I’m sure if you look about you’ll find more. One thing though. Since gelatine has to be poured hot, it has the potential to melt anything it’s poured over, such as oil-based clay. In makeup the clay was removed before the gelatine was poured in the plaster mould, this wasn’t a problem. When I did have to pour hot gelatine over oil-based clay, I first froze the clay for several hours and poured the gelatine immediately after removing the sculpt from the freezer.

        Regards, Aryea

        • Hi Aryea. Thanks again for sharing this info. I really like the idea of freezing the oil-based clay before pouring the gelatin over it. The hot gelatin over the oil-based clay was one thing that really worried me – I was a bit surprised that it actually worked! I think it would be way safer to freeze the clay first, and that’s what I’ll do next time.

          I did some online searching and I found some gelatin on amazon that is said to be 300 Bloom Type A. Is that the kind we should be using? It’s a little more expensive than the Knox, but if it works better it would be worth trying. They sell the sorbitol, too. If you think these are the right products for you recipe, I’ll go ahead and order some.

          • Jonni, those look like the thing. I couldn’t see on the images of the packages where it said 300 bloom, but if the referring page said it was the stuff, then that’s it. Go for it. And sorbitol is sorbitol. I’m just glad you won’t have to buy 5 gallons of it like I did. Luckily it doesn’t go bad. Neither does gelatine if it’s kept in it’s hermetically sealed original pouch (or canister). If you order a large quantity and don’t plan on using it up within a year, get some silica gel and oxygen absorbent packets (iron powder) to toss into the open container. It’ll last much longer that way.

            • Hello Aryea, sorry for piggy backing on this comment but what did you add to the gelatin mix to create a foam gelatin prosthetic?

      • You can buy it on eBay! 🙂 (although you wrote this in 2015 so I’m sure you probably got some by now xD) ps. I followed your recipe and tips from your YouTube video earlier, just done it and came out perfect! Thank you!

  • Jonni, this looks amazing. I am on holiday in North Dakota right now but when I get home I am gonna try this for sure. Thank you clever lady.

  • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you… When is premier for Part deux? This is really important addition to the arsenal of macheable tools – and silicone molding materials are “so expensive” and these materials are “so cheap”… I believe that if you want to use an existing paper mache model for pulling a gelatin/glycerine mold, that a couple of coats of exterior varathane would save the day. I will let you know the results of my tests with sculptors clay to see whether or not I need a release barrier – since the clay is water soluable…

    I was going to go down in the shop and make another mask, but now I think I will cover the dog with vaseline and see how well he molds – he’s such a good sport!!! 😉

    All in the best of humour, Robert

    • Yes, I’m sure any paper product would have to be well-sealed before pouring this stuff over it (A YouTuber thinks we should call it GellGoo – I like that!). You may even want to throw the container in the freezer right after pouring the mixture over the model, to get it to gel as fast as possible. Don’t try this on something that took you a week to make – experimentation is the rule, at least until we find out how this stuff works.

      The new post is up: https://www.ultimatepapermache.com/how-to-make-a-mold-with-gelatin-and-glycerine-part-2

      And send my sympathies to your dog. 😉

      • I had everything on hand to make a pint of this new “GelGoo”. It works great on sculptors clay and because I was too impatient to wait for the clay to harden, I lathered it up with a layer of vaseline, poured my mold and put it in the freezer.

        I then vaselined the new mold and proceeded to fill it with Hydrostone plaster. I was a bit worried that it was going to melt the mold because it gets quite hot when it cures however, it would have been fine anyway because it doesn’t get really hot until it has gotten really hard. This is going to save me so much trouble making “positive forms” to copy and modify. Reuseable is a “HUGE” bonus…

        Thanks Jonni

          • It better than worked – It pulled without incident, in fact the mold was otherwise unblemished and clean as a whistle. I would upload a picture (model was a nose with severe undercuts) but as you might have guessed, the batteries in my camera are dead too – hmmm am I detecting a pattern here or is it just me???

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