Tried and tested techniques to make your own chocolate moulds at home
How would you like to be a chocolate magician? Judging from the interest these life size chocolate light sabers got when I shared a sneak peek of them, I think quite a few of you would. May the force be with you then. Just kidding. Over the years I have tried 3 different techniques to make your own chocolate moulds at home and here’s all I’ve learnt.
By the way, those light sabers were a request for wedding favours, for one of the coolest wedding I worked on. I did manage to grab a sneak peek live video moment with those giant chocolate gifts (they are solid Belgian chocolate and each weight 450g) before they got picked up. If you’re a Star Wars fan or simply someone who’d not totally grown up and still believes in a little magic in life, I reckon you will like this.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand…
Why could you want to make your own moulds?
Quite simply put, because you either Can’t find the moulds you want, or they are extremely expensive (either the moulds themselves or the postage, if they are coming from the United States for example. Chocolate moulds, in particular the larger silicon ones are very heavy, postage could cost you an arm and a leg).
Can’t you buy ready moulds?
Of course you can. There are plenty of places where you can buy ready made moulds including a large selection of easy to use ones at the Home Chocolate Factory (I use these a lot), if you can find the exact item and shape (and size) you’re after.
There are generally 3 types of moulds you can get to cast your own chocolate items:
Polycarbonate chocolate moulds
These are the professional type of chocolate moulds. They are quite expensive but very durable if you look after them well. They also provide a great grip when you hold them upside down to pour out any excess chocolate. They give tempered chocolate a brilliant shine and they won’t buckle when full of chocolate either.
As these polycarbonate moulds are an investment, here’s how look after them:
- Clean them thoroughly in hot soapy water after each use
- Only use a gentle cloth to clean them (you don’t want to stratch them)
- Dry them well then buff them using cotton wool
- Finally, to have them ready to use for the next time you want to cast chocolate items, wrap them in cling film.
It’s a very simple but effective tip I learnt from Mark Tilling the first time I trained with him. (He’s won the UK Chocolate Masters and came 7th in the World Chocolate Masters so he’s no rookie to the world of chocolate).
These moulds come in lots of shapes for making small hand casted chocolate or casting your own chocolate bars.
You can also find larger ones like semi spheres ( I used these to create my chocolate teapot cake topper when I took part in the Ideal Home Show “Best of British” cake decorating competition at Olympia).
Flexible silicon mini moulds
You find these moulds in most kitchenware places including Lakeland . They generally cost under £10, so a great idea to first practie making your own chocolates to be honest. One of my favourite is the teapoon silicon mould. You can serve your edible teaspoons with your dessert, and even dust it with edible gold , silver or pewter colour lustre …and wait for them to realise those are not precious metal heirlooms.
Easy use plastic chocolate moulds
A great alternative to professional polycarbonate moulds are the everyday plastic moulds you can buy from Home Chocolate Factory i mentioned earlier. Most of them cost under £5.00 each. They also come is a lot of shapes and sizes from football lollipops to giant 3D animals (There’s a wicked giant rubber duck chocolate mould which looks amazing if you use it with tinted white chocolate).
I use these moulds to cast a lot of the pieces we paint at my chocolate art classes .
Making your own moulds – 3 tried and tested techniques
So, you’ve looked at all the optoins above but none are exactly what you need. In this case you really want to have a go at making your own chocolate moulds. It’s not as difficult as you might think. As always, set aside time to read about the different techniques and plan well ahead to give your moulds time to set before you can use them.
I have tried all 3 methods for various bespoke cakes commissions and chocolate sculptures.
Best for small items – Silicone putty
Silicon putty is really easy to use and durable. Its perfect for capturing items with lots of small intricate details. Doesn’t take long to dry and be ready to use. And it’s not to expensive either as long as you are casting small items. I find it best for creating small moulds for cake topper decorations for example.
Silicon food grade putty generally comes in 2 parts of different colours (blue and white, purple and white…).
How to use silicon putty:
- Weight an equal amount of each of the 2 components
- mix them together really well, kneading them like you would with bread eough or Play-Doh.
- Make it into a ball slighty bigger than the item you want to cast
- Press the item onto the ball, making sure it’s cast all the way to the edges
- Leave the mould to harden with your item inside it
- Remove the original cast and your mould is ready to use.
If you are going to use it with sugarpaste or chocolate modelling paste, it sometimes help to dust it lightly with a little cornflower to avoid it sticking.
You can generally buy silicon food grade putty in various sizes from 200g, 400g or 1 kilo kits. Prices vary a lot, from £5.00 to over £30.00 for the same quantity. Probably best to check reviews from other users about the quality of the putty you want to buy first.
Curing time is quite quick- generally 30 minutes for small items, an hour or 2 for larger ones.
Best for one off use – gelatin moulds
Home made gelatin moulds are great to make as they are rather inexpensive. You can get a kilo of gelatin for about £22.00 . I used those to create bespoke chocolate pine cones for this 5 tier winter wedding cake;
and also to create life size tinted white chocolate lemons and oranges for a surprise dessert.
here’s the mould I made using the gelatin method:
I then poured inside some white chocolate (tintd yellow) , let the excess drip back out by turning the mould upside down. After leaving it to set for a few hours….voila! (I also made chocolate sastumas using the same method). On the picture below, 2 of the fruits are real, 2 are chocolate ones. I am sure you can tell the difference if you study them a little, but for a bit of gelatin and chocolate that’s not a bad result I think.
There are lots of recipes and methods to make those moulds online. I use this gelatin mould technique from Callebaut.
The downside of gelatin moulds is that they don’t kep very long. A couple of weeks if you keep them well in the fridge.
They can also crack more easily than the silicon or putty moulds.
But they are rather cheap and easy to make so worth trying.
Best for durable moulds and larger or intricate items – professional silicon mould
Those are the bad boys of silion mould. The compounds come again in 2 bottles which you mix in equal quantity.
You’ll have a silky smooth translucent mixture that you can pour over and around any object you’d like to cast.
Just beware to:
Use a box or container that fits your item snuggly so you don’t use any more silicon than you need – this silicon is really expensive (to give you an idea, casting the chocolate light sabers costed about £80.00 in silicon alone)
Try not to froth the silicon (if you mix it too hard or too fast, you can trap air bubbles in and those might affect some of the detailing of the cast)
secure objects to the bottom of the container by mixing and pouring just a couple of inches of silicon first and leaving it to set. It adhere to itself so it’s fine to pour more over. THat way you’ll also avoid your object floating around once surrounded by silicon.
Comparing this method to the other 2 aboe, it goes give you amazing results in terms of the quality and durability of the mould…but it’s not cheap so perhaps best to keep for casts that you’ll know you’ll use a lot in the future.
Fourth method – making hand made moulds with card
If you haven’t got any of the above, for some items you can simply use flexible and strong card to create simple moulds on top of baking parchment. I did this when I wantedto create a large and thick horse show as a cake topper for this cake:
There you have it. Lots of tips, advice and ideas to hopefully encourage you to have a go at making your very own chocoalte moulds. If you have any question, leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter @lauremoyle or by email through the website.
Now go and unleash the chocolate artist in you!