How to Buy a Ceramic Mould on eBay

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How to Buy a Ceramic Mould on eBay

An art which dates back nearly 27,000 years, ceramic crafting is a rich and fulfilling hobby practised by many amatuer and professional artisans in the 21st century. However, there is far more to ceramics than making a pretty plate. Indeed, through the use of ceramic moulds, items can be made for a great many purposes which leads a diverse group of people to search out ceramic working materials on eBay.

Because of its prices and selection, many buyers interested in ceramics, specifically ceramic moulds, use eBay. But there is more to buying a ceramic mould on eBay than conducting a simple search. Buyers must know the history of ceramics and understand its different applications in order to find the right moulds for their purposes. It is also important, especially amongst newcomers, to additionally understand the proper way to select and use ceramic moulds at home. Finally, there are also important strategies and tips to keep in mind when shopping on eBay for ceramic moulds, which can help save time and money in the long run.

Understanding Ceramics

The term 'ceramic' can be used as both a noun, usually in the plural, or as an adjective. It is derived from the Greek word 'keramikos' which literally translates to 'of pottery' or 'for pottery'. Physically speaking, ceramic is a nonmetallic, inorganic solid. It is created through the process of heating and cooling. Technically speaking, ceramic material can be crystalline, partially crystalline, or amorphous (glass-like). This last iteration of ceramics is highly uncommon however, leading most ceramics to be classified as crystalline, nonmetallic, and inorganic.

Ceramic materials can be used for a variety of purposes. There are four major designations of ceramic products. They are outlined, along with some additional, unclassifiable, ceramic products in the table below.

Ceramic Product Type

Examples

Refractories

Kiln linings, glass and steel-making crucibles, gas fire radiants

Structural

Pipes, floor and roof tiles, bricks

Technical or Advanced

Gas burner nozzles, biomedical implants, missile nose cones, disc brakes, turbine blades

Whitewares

Cookware, tableware, wall tiles, pottery products

Unclassified

Knife blades, ballistic armoured vests, balls which replace steel ball bearings, dental implants, watchmaking

Most at-home ceramics that are made fall into the whitewares category which includes everything from earthenware and stoneware to porcelain and bone china. The use of ceramic moulds can be helpful in all of these applications, specifically when the creator is looking to produce uniform products such as plates or bowls. Indeed, these are the moulds most likely to be sold on eBay.

Finding Quality Ceramic Moulds

Although the history of using moulds in ceramics is as old as the craft itself, modern day ceramic artists have a variety of materials easily available for use with moulds which range from porcelain to plaster. This makes the choice of mould important. The purpose of ceramic moulds is to create uniform objects so that an artisan can create a set of an item or add symmetry in a larger work. Certain moulds may work better for certain ceramic materials. Therefore, artists should understand the process through which moulds are made before beginning the eBay search process. It is also important to check the quality of the moulds by assessing a number of key features.

Making Ceramic Moulds

Ceramic moulds are created through a painstaking process which involves first creating the desired object to be moulded in clay. Next, plaster or a similar casting material is poured onto the clay. The plaster is to surround the object and then allowed to dry. At this point, the plaster is divided in half and separated from the clay object through a chipping process, using a chisel designed to slowly and carefully remove the clay object. Two plaster pieces are left with the impression of the original object stamped into them.

Quality Ceramic Mould Features

It is extremely important that ceramic moulds are durable since they will be subject to multiple castings during their lifetime and are useless if they break. A high-quality ceramic mould is made to ensure tight-fitting seams for good reproduction. Make sure to check the photos provided in eBay listings for this feature. In addition, many manufacturers like to offer a locking device, such as a key, which helps keep the ceramic mould's pieces in place during the casting process.

It is also important that a mould be made of high-quality plaster that is at least 1 centimetre thick throughout. This ensures the mould's integrity through multiple uses. An alternative to these plaster moulds, which is often used in artisanal ceramics, is synthetic moulds.

The Proper Use of a Ceramic Mould

When used for artistic ends, most ceramic moulds are filled with clay to a certain thickness and then allowed to cast for a specific period of time before being set, painted and glazed and then set in a kiln. The process of doing this, though seemingly simple, does take a bit of skill, however. New users of ceramic moulds should take time to review three important tips before committing to buy a ceramic mould on eBay.

The Importance of Securing the Mould

A typical ceramic mould is comprised at least two and sometimes several pieces. Proper results rely on one's ability to tie or otherwise bind these pieces together. This can be done with thick rubber bands, nylon mould straps, or a lock-and-key device which is built into the mould itself, as described in the section above.

The Importance of Slip Preparation

It is important to prepare the slip, or ceramic casting material, often clay, correctly. This means stirring the slip thoroughly, making sure that there are absolutely no air bubbles in the liquid. Also, be sure to strain the slip to make sure that all lumps are out; otherwise these lumps stick to the sides of the piece creating a less-than-uniform look at the end. When pouring the slip, tapping the sides of the mould with the palm of the hand or rubber mallet further ensures that no air bubbles are present in the mould by allowing any air trapped in the clay to rise to the surface.

The Importance of Timing

The final tip to remember when using a ceramic mould is the importance of timing once the slip has been applied to the mould itself. Indeed, the age of the mould, its quality, and the relative moisture level within the plaster or synthetic material all determine the amount of time it takes for an object to set in a mould at the desired thickness before the remaining slip must be poured out. Drier moulds take a shorter time to set, whereas used, moister moulds take longer. Setting a timer is not always accurate, but a good rule of thumb is to allow 10 to 15 minutes for dry moulds and 20 minutes or more for more moist moulds.

How to Buy a Ceramic Mould on eBay

The process of buying a ceramic mould on eBay is pretty simple once buyers understand what to look for in terms of mould quality. The eBay site is set up for easy use while also offering buyers the ability to quickly assess several items from different sellers fast, saving time and money.

Searching eBay

Buyers can sign in to their existing eBay account or quickly register for a new one before beginning the eBay search process. Use the main search bar at the top of any eBay page as a launching point and then type either "ceramic mould" or a more specific term that identifies the type of mould you want, such as "vase ceramic mould". From there, many results can easily be narrowed according to price restrictions or buyer preference.

Choosing the Right Seller

In the event that several viable options for a ceramic mould are offered, buyers are advised to make a decision on which to buy based on an evaluation of the eBay sellers offering it as well as the price. eBay makes this process simple through two, related tools. The first is feedback stars. These are prominently displayed on every eBay seller's page and on each of his or her listings and give buyers a quick assessment of a seller's experience. The next option is reading a seller's detailed feedback which is written by former buyers and gives a more detailed account of the seller's strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusion

Learning how to buy a ceramic mould on eBay is a multi-step process that starts with the details of ceramics itself. An art with a rich history dating back tens of thousands of years, ceramics can take several forms including typical artisan pieces known as whiteware as well as other forms including refractory, structural, and advanced ceramics.

As an art form, ceramics rely heavily upon the use of moulds to create uniform pieces that can be used as parts of a set or individual pieces used on a larger artistic work. These moulds are carefully made and have several aspects that make them of a higher or lower quality. Finding quality moulds and using them is important, as is taking care to recognise the importance of securing the mould, preparing the slip, and timing the set of the mould.

Once ready to buy a ceramic mould on eBay, buyers can quickly locate what they want through a simple search. However, deciding on the best mould to buy often involves assessing the sellers offering the mould and finding one with both a good price and a good reputation. This is the best way to save money, time, and hassle when buying a ceramic mould on eBay.

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