The fiberglass mold process begins with an object known as the plug or buck. This is an exact representation of the object to be made, and can be made from a variety of different materials. Certain types of foam are commonly used.
After the plug has been formed, it is sprayed with a mold release agent. The release agent will allow the mold to be separated from the plug once it is finished. The mold release agent is a special wax, and/or PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol). Polyvinyl Alcohol, however, is said to have negative effects on the final mold's surface finish.
Once the plug has its release agent applied, gelcoat is applied with a roller, brush or specially-designed spray gun. The gelcoat is pigmented resin, and gives the mold surface a harder, more durable finish.
Once the release agent and gelcoat are applied, layers of fiberglass and resin are laid-up onto the surface. The fiberglass used will typically be identical to that which will be used in the final product.
In the laying-up process, a layer of fiberglass mat is applied, and resin is applied over it. A special roller is then used to remove air bubbles. If left in the curing resin, air bubbles would significantly reduce the strength of the finished mold. The fiberglass spray lay-up process is also used to produce molds, and can provide good filling of corners and cavities where a glass mat or weave may prove to be too stiff.
Once the final layers of fiberglass are applied to the mould, the resin is allowed to set-up and cure. Wedges are then driven between the plug and the mold in order to separate the two.
Advanced techniques such as Resin Transfer Molding are also used.