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In each episode of DiResta, artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty MoneyHammeredAgainst the GrainTrash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy whips up a mold for a Rodin “Thinker” statue he picked up to make a lamp. Bright idea!–Stett Holbrook

Mold Max 30 Silocone from Smooth-On
Smooth-Cast 320 from Smooth-On
Montana Gold and Brown spray paint
Scrap Plexiglass for mold box

Hot Glue gun
X-Acto Knife
Mixing buckets
Throw-away brush
Band saw
Drill with long bit

Jimmy’s Notes:
On a recent road trip passing through Alabama, I found this plaster casting of Rodin’s “The Thinker” for $1 at a thrift shop. The moment I saw it I pictured it with a light bulb above its head. When I returned to the shop I began to make a mold in silicone. In the video, you see me make a common mistake: the mold box is too big for the amount of silicone I had. The quick fix is to add a “filler” to the mold in this case I grabbed a few pieces of MDF. In the rush to fix the mold I didn’t paint or seal the open grain of the filler pieces and as a result I struggled to remove them from the mold. I was able to recover and make a successful mold without having to get more silicone. If you have an old mold of the same type of silicone you can cut it up and use a filler. This works best if necessary. I molded the figures with SmoothCast 320 and painted it with Montana brand spray paint. I like this paint because of the variety of colors. I used a brown and gold to achieve the bronze look.

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Sustainable/green design
*Young Makers
*Action sports



  1. asciimation says:

    Cool. I did wonder about the squeaky voices when you were cutting the mold off. Never done any molding myself (well, not silicone). Always wanted to try it. You could get some vintage style bulbs for these which would look great. I just discovered somewhere locally that sells them ( but I am sure you can get them in the states easily. They look wonderful, especially dimmed so you can see the filaments really well. One of those would look great in this lamp. I am going to use one in a firelight simulator lamp (using an old tequila bottle) I am making one day.

  2. Laura Cochrane says:

    Cool! I was wondering how he’d tackle the space below and above the arm, but looks like that didn’t make the process much more complicated.

  3. adam says:

    Awesome job. Cool as usual thanks Jimmy for sharing.