Products used in this How To:
Molding Climbing Holds
are many different ways to make rock climbing hand holds. We
are going to show you a very common and efficient method for
practically anyone to make their own holds. Start by creating
your own holds. We do not recommend making molds off of other
people's rocks due to design infringments. Its more rewarding
to make your own anyway! The rock on the left was created by
Brian Maynes and the one on the right I created myself - proving
anyone can truly do this. The holds were carved out of floral
foam but you can use anything you want to make your originals
including higher density foams, actual rock, clay, or wood with
sand glued to it. Whatever you make your holds out of, fasten
the holds down to a piece of plastic using hotmelt glue. Then
make mold boxes around the holds to contain the silicone rubber.
One trick of the trade is to spray the foam originals with Pam
cooking spray to aid in the release of the foam from the molds.
This will eliminate a lot of the foam transfer to your first
couple of cast pieces (will explain this more later in the process).
can see for the hold on the right we just used a plastic container
with the bottom cut off and then flipped upside down. For the hold
on the left, we used corrugated plastic and scored through one
half of the plastic to enable us to bend the plastic around the
hold to keep the mold box nice and tight to eliminate the need
for excess rubber in order to make our mold. Ideally, the wall
thickness will be 1/4'-3/8' around the outside of the hold. This
will be your mold wall thickness. Any wider thickness will result
in wasting your silicone rubber.
the your mold boxes around the holds using hotmelt glue or modeling
clay. Make sure it is a perfectly tight seal to contain the liquid
rubber. If there is any gap in the mold box and the bottom, the
silicone will leak out creating quite a mess.
next step is to mix and pour your silicone rubber in your mold
box encapsulating the holds to make your molds. We use Dow Corning's
HS III silicone moldmaking rubber to make the molds because of
its incredible flexibility and tear strength. With the HS III you
are able to make molds of rock climbing holds with severe undercuts
and negative drafts and simply flex the mold to remove your holds.
The rubber is extremely tough and works perfectly for making many
holds out of each mold.
have made two different types of rock climbing hold molds here.
On the left we have placed a bolt in the hold to give us a bolt
hole in the finished mold. After the mold has cured, we will mold
release the bolt and put it back into the mold and cast the hold.
The bolt will act as the center stem which will replace what would
normally be a silicone stem that makes the mold able to yield more
parts. The mold on the right is a conventional style mold that
most people use. It will have a silicone stem creating the bolt
hole in the finished hold. The stem is usually the first part to
fail in the mold and therefore by using a bolt in place of the
stem, the mold will last longer if you are looking for the largest
yield of parts out of your molds.
the silicone cures (overnight), remove the bolt from the cured
next step is to remove your mold boxes.
putty knife will help you remove the hotmelt glue and also help
you get underneath the holds to pop them off the mold base.
last step is to remove the floral foam master. Because the foam
is so fragile it will not come out in one piece. So just break
out the bigger pieces and rub the mold with your hand to break
any smaller pieces of the foam that are stuck in the mold. You
now have beautiful rock climbing hand hold molds that will reproduce
your exact foam hand hold out of resin. The texture and detail
will be exact to your original!