Face Casting Part 3 – Sculpting and Casting a Silicone Prosthetic

Hi guys! If you missed the previous posts and are interested in looking at the process from start to finish just click the following links!
Part 1 of the tutorial https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/face-casting/
Part 2 of the tutorial:  https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/face-casting-part-2/

ImageSculpt Inspiration:
I really had no idea what I wanted to sculpt at first so to help inspire my sculpt I looked at several different sources in the hopes of finalising my ideas. I first started looking at some of my favourite make-up such as Greg Nicoteros’ zombies from the popular series ‘The Walking Dead’. I then looked at the make-up from the films ‘The Decent’ and of course ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Although these make-ups are very different I think they could motivate me to experiment with different colours, textures and most of all help me think of ways in which I could distort the facial features to create something quite scary.
My final sources of research played the largest part of my design. With it being almost Halloween there are several classic images popping up all over the internet such as the classic Frankenstein make-ups from the film ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’ (1994). I have always been a huge horror movie fan and this is one of my favourites to watch around Halloween! I have also been inspired by the new make-up range by MAC and Rick Baker which has a ‘Frankenstein’s bride’ Make-up as an advertisement. However this is a little too pretty for my liking!
A million mind maps later.. I had finally decided on my concept. I wanted to create a Frankenstein inspired being that has an immortal soul and needs to constantly repair their body in order to live their eternal live in comfort.  The character will go to extreme lengths to find the vital parts it needs to replace it’s suffering organs. Murder is almost always the solution.
So I began sculpting! The material I used was Plasterline which I found really difficult to work with at first. It did get easier the warmer it was and the more I practiced. I didn’t want to sculpt in any stitches as I wanted to add them in at a later stage. I want to experiment with stitching into the silicon prosthetic before applying it to my model. Fingers crossed it will work!

Making a Silicone Prosthetic

Products/ Tools needed:

  • X2 strips of Mod rock
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plaster
  • X2, 12″ by 12″ of Scrim
  • X3 Mixing bowl
  • Access to water
  • Chisel
  • Flat wooden board
  • Silicone part A, B and a accelerate
  • Weighing sales
  • 1/2 inch paint brushes
  • Paper towel

kathren elizabeth makeupWe first began by building a clay wall similarly to before however this time it was twice as tall. We also added a layer of Mod-Roc to provide more strength. Once the wall was complete we then used a cheap 1/2inch brush to paste a thin layer of petroleum jelly all over the exposed plaster on the face cast base. This step makes it easier to separate the top and the bottom part of the mould. I also used some left over clay to fill in any parts of the cast that may catch on the top of the mould.
kathrenelizabethmakeupWe then mixed up a batch a plaster and added a beauty coat over the top of the sculpture. This is to ensure we get a good coverage of the full sculpt. As we had previously applied a light greasy layer of petroleum jelly the plaster repelled at first but it did cover eventually.
scrim combo We then added poured a little more plaster onto the cast and allowed it to dry for a few minutes. We then added a layer of scrim over the top and added more plaster on top. In total we added two layers to add strength.
2013-10-21 10.37.35We then poured some more plaster over the top to ensure none of the scrim was visible. We then left it to dry for 1 hour to ensure it was fully set.
2013-10-21 12.06.04Once set we removed the clay and Mod-Roc wall and gently filed away any rough edges of the plaster with a metal file. This is not only for neatness by for health and safety reasons.
chisel comboWe then used a chisel to gently prise open the two parts. KathrenElizabethMake-upFaceCasting (32)

Next step was to clean out any of the Plasterline. A really helpful trick Martin showed me was to use a piece of left over scrim to rub away any of the Plasterline that was taking forever to come away from the cast.  I then left the white top part of the cast to soak in water for around 10 minutes. This is so the silicone doesn’t absorb into the open pours of the plaster. once soaked I then patted it dry ready for the next step

KathrenElizabethMake-upFaceCasting (31)

I then applied a very light coat of petroleum jelly to act as a releasing agent.

Mixing Silicone 
KathrenElizabethMake-upFaceCasting (35)As this has to be done quickly it is always best to have everything you need lay out ready to start. This can be quite sticky so we opted to put on disposable rubber gloves just for easiness.

PArt one of combinations page

  • Place the empty plastic bowl onto the scales making sure it is still on 0 (This is so we don’t include the weight of the bowl as the -measurements have to be accurate in order to get a good batch of silicon)
  • Add 500grams of part A of the rubber silicone
  • Add 50grams of part B (Silicone catalyst)
  • Add Desired silicone colour a little at a time

part two of page combination

  • Mix the pigment in thoroughly to ensure an even colour throughout the silicone
  • Add 5grams of the accelerant. This allows the silicone to set much quicker cutting the waiting time down dramatically.
  • Mix well
  • Once mixed thoroughly then pour into the top part of the mould

part 3 of combo

  • Once you are happy with the desired about of silicone immediately sandwich the two parts of the moulds together using the drilled dents as a guide to line it up correctly. You may need to use a clamp at this stage to tighten the two parts together.
  • Allow any excess silicone to drain out. This is a good sign, it shows that the mould is completely filled.
  • Then leave to dry completely for around 30-45 minutes. A good way to tell if it is complete set is to pour a small mount of silicone on the top of the moulds as this will act as a visible guide.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaOnce the silicone was completely dry we then used a chisel to gently prise open the mould to reveal our silicone prosthetic. The next stages will be cutting it down to size, applying and painting. Can’t wait!

Thanks for visiting my blog 😀 

Katy x

Reflections / Evaluation:
Overall I enjoyed this part of the process, I felt like I had a really productive day in the studio. At first I was a little stuck for idea’s but carrying out the research really helped me. I now feel confident in my concept and sculpting abilities after having the chance to practice with the Plasterline at home before sculpting my final design.
I didn’t particularly find the casting process difficult as Martin  walked us all through it step by step which gives me a chance to see how it should be done and allows me to make plenty of notes for future reference.
If I was to mix up another batch of silicone I would perhaps like to mix some different colours together to see what I could come up with. I am however extremely happy with the first attempt of creating a fleshy toned prosthetic. I am a little nervous about the cutting, blending and applying the prosthetic as I have never worked with silicone before. I am also unsure how to go about pointing the piece as I want to do the best I possibly can and not ruin my sculpt with a dodgy paint job. As we have made two casts today I will get the opportunity to have a practice run at painting and applying which puts me at ease a little.


Knotting hair – Facial Postiche

In our first postiche lesson we were taught the basics. This included pattern making (see previous post) and knotting hair. We also gained knowledge on the different types of materials used to create facial postiche.

What is ‘postiche’?
Postiche is a term used to describe false hair pieces which vary from wigs to hair pieces and facial hair pieces such as: mustaches, beards and sideburns. Postiche is used in stage and screen but often has to be adapted to suit each category. For example different nets and hair types are used to create the most believable pieces fit for the specific purpose.

The process of making postiche can be painstakingly repetitive and takes skill and concentration. It involves knotting strands of individual hair onto a net like material in order to create realistic looking hair pieces.

The material used to knot hair onto can vary from an organza like material to a tough durable net. All of the different types of lace have their own advantages and disadvantages, as some are only suitable for stage productions as they are highly visible therefore not be suitable for the television and film industry. Some of the thinner lace however may be too fragile to be reapplied for each stage performance etc. Picking which net to use is vital. There are several aspects which you need to take into consideration such as: You clients or characters hair colour, hair type and skin tone, whilst keeping in mind what look you are hoping to achieve in the long run. For example if you need to create a thick beard out of yak hair you may need a stronger net which can hold a great deal of course hair.


Kathren Elizabeth make-up

First we set out all the materials and tools we would need. This included:
-Small hammer
-Wooden board roughly 1cm thick
– x40 Block points (small nails)
-Small sqaure of black card
-Chosen lace
-Sticky tape
-Hair of your choice
-Knotting hook

We first used two strips of sticky tape to attach the square of black card on the centre of the board this is to make the net more visible on the board. This step may not necessary if the board you’re using is darker or a contrasting colour to the net you are using. At this stage you would usually transfer the pattern onto the card or board before the next step.

Kathren Elizabeth make-up

We then used the block points and the hammer to pin the lace to the board. I left just under 1cm in-between each point as we wanted the net to be secure but not too tight on the board as this would be harder to work on. I found it easier to pin down each corner and then fill in each side afterward. After each block point is hammered into the board I made sure to flatten the points down for health and safety reasons as they are quite sharp and could course some damage.

Kathren Elizabeth make-up

Once all the block points are pinned and flattened down you are then ready to start knotting hair onto the net. There a a few good videos on Youtube to teach you how to knot hair as it is very difficult to describe it as it is quite tricky. But i’m going to try and explain anyways!
-Separate roughly 8 hairs and make a loop near the top of the hair, not near the tips of the hair as this could course knotting later on as the hair follicles rub up against each other and stick.
-Slide the hook under 1 of the bars of net.
-Run the loop of hair over the tip of the hook and collect a few hairs.
-Pull the hook back under the bar of net and bring the hair with you. Make sure to keep the hair taught and not let go on the hair.
-Slide the hair that is caught on the end of the hook further up into the curve or bend in the hook
-Wrap the hair that you have in the opposite hand to the hook around the tip of the hook once or twice.
-Then turn the hook away from you
-Pull the hair that you have just wrapped around the tip of the hook through the loop you had previously made.
-Pull the knot tight by pulling the hook away from yourself keeping the hair taught.

Kathren elizabeth makeup

This does take time to get it write. Practice makes perfect.

Thanks for readying 

Katy x

Reflection / Evaluation:
I found this really tricky and it look me a while to grasp the concept. I think the only way to improve is to practice as much as possible. I also need to improve on the neatness of my knotting as the hair can be quite spread out and stick up in different directions which does not give it a realistic look. I’m going to keep practicing until I am satisfied with my knotting as it is vital that I improve in order to achieve a good grade for this task. I also think this is a technique I would have to utilize in the industry as I would like to be a special make-up effects artists and postiche is a key part of this.

Basic Pattern Making For Postiche

In today’s Postiche lesson we were taught the basics. We started by making a pattern using plastic wrap (cling film) and sticky tape. This was really cheap and easy to do.


First we began by cutting strips of sticky tape in preparation for the next step. We then laid a piece of plastic wrap under the models nose making sure not to obstruct the nostrils. I then asked my model to hold it in place so I was able to place strips of tape over the plastic wrap to strengthen it. This would also help the plastic take the shape of my models face.

2013-10-09 15.41.50

Once I was satisfied with the strength of the plastic I then used a black marker to draw out the shape of my models lips. I also drew on two dots to locate the position of the nostrils. I then roughly drew out a mustache (as this was only a practice, I’d be a bit more precise in future).

2013-10-09 15.43.57

This technique then allows you to cut around your design and use it as a guide when making your prostiche.

2013-10-09 15.57.44

Thats it, its done.  Told you it was easy!
Stay tuned for my next post on making a start on hand knotting hair for a postiche pieces.

Thanks for visiting! 

Katy x

Reflection / Evaluation:
This technique ran smoothly however if I was to do this again I would perhaps use more strips of tape the strengthen the pattern before removing it from my models face. I would have also drawn on the mustache a little neater but as this was just a practice it didn’t matter too much. To get it more symmetrical I could draw one side of the mustache and then fold the pattern in half and copy it to the other side as the cling film is see through.

Face Casting Part 2


The other day in the special effects studio we were taken through the next steps in finishing our own face casts. It was loads of fun although it was a bit messy! (so if you are going to be making your own I would advise wearing some old clothes).
Here is how we carried out the 2nd part of the process!  If you are interested in creating a face cast and missed my first section of the tutorial just click the following link which will take you right to it! https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/face-casting/

Enjoy! 😀

You will need:
-Plaster enough for 2-3 batches
– x1 roll of Mod-Rock
-Wax Parting Agent
-x2 Scrim 12″ x 12″
-Power or hand drill with 1/2″ drill attachment
-Cheese wire
-Shilack releasing agent
-Access to water
-Access to a well ventilated area or extractor fan
-Wooden board approximately 12″ x 12″ in size.
-Metal sculpting tools and files
-x2Mixing bowl
-x2 Paper cups

Image Here we go! So first we began by placing our face cast on a flat wooden board. We then used a black marker pen to draw a rough circle approximately 2 inches away from the face cast.


Next we used a small amount of plaster powder to dust over a wooden block (to prevent the clay from sticking). We then cut large pieces of clay (using cheese wire) and placed a large amount of clay over the board making sure to overlap over each edge. Once we had covered the board we then had to compress the clay onto the board to eliminate any air bubbles. To do this we used our firsts to hit the clay into all the corners. This took some force and did start to hurt my hand after a while so take turns if you have a person helping you, if not just switch hands or take a break.

ImageWe used the cheese wire again to cut the rough surface off the top of the clay. To make sure the surface was smooth and as even as possible we rested the cheese wire onto the board and dragged it under the clay until we reached the end. This was harder then it looked as the clay is quite thick and heavy. We then removed the top layer of clay which left us with a smooth and even thick strip of clay.

ImageI then used a shape molding tool to cut the clay into 2 inch thick strips and placed it onto the guide line I had previously drawn. I made sure that the were no gaps in the clay as this would cause the plaster to leak out. I then removed the face cast from the center and placed it into a bowl of water to soak slightly for around 10 minutes.

ImageI used the same sculpting tool to blend the clay on the outside onto the board to make sure the plaster didn’t have anywhere to escape once it was poured (You could also use your thumb for this part). I then added layer of Mod-Roc over the outside of the clay to provide further support. To do this I dipped 2 foot long sections of Mod-Roc into a bowl of warm water. I then squeezed out the excess water and then quickly smoothed it out around the clay making sure it overlapped. Once dry it sets as a hard yet tear-able material.

ImageI then used a half inch brush to paint a thin layer of wax parting agent into the center of the board to act as a lubricant so the plaster will come away from the board easily.

ImageI then cut two squares of scrim (a net hessian material) ready for he next step. I made sure they were roughly the same size as the board.

ImageNext I mixed a large batch of plaster (To see how I done this please visit previous post) I then filled the center of the board with around 2cm of plaster. I then added a square of scrim and pressed it into the plaster ensuring all the edges were tucked in. Once that piece was submerged I added the next layer of scrim. When adding this layer I made sure to put it in on a different angle so it was all evenly supported and covered by the scrim. I then added more plaster making sure no scrim was peaking through. It is vital that you are working on a flat surface for this step as you don’t want it to set on a angle. I then left the plaster for a minute or so to dry.

ImageI then removed the face cast from the bowl of water and placed it into the center of the plaster. The reason for soaking the face cast in water first is to make sure the wet plaster can stick to the cast as wet plaster sticks to itself. If we were to skip this step the face cast would not be as secure in the plaster base. We then left this to dry for around 20 minutes. As the plaster was setting there was a layer of water resting on the top which is normal. The plaster also heats up slightly during the setting process. Once the plaster was almost completely dry  were able to remove the clay around the edges and Mod-Roc as the plaster is at the stage where it is able to hold its own shape (This step also allows the water to run off the surface).


I had noticed there were some small gaps under my chin and on the top of my forehead. These need to be filled as this would cause a lot of problems later. To fill the gaps in I used a thicker consistency of plaster  and smoothed it out with my fingers. This took patience but it is a necessity. I then left the cast to set for a further 30-40 minutes.Image

The next step is to use various metal sculpting tools and files to scrape away any unnatural imperfections on the face for example, around the nostrils. This took time and patience but will be worth it in the end as it will give you a smooth and clean surface to sculpt on top of.

ImageOnce I was satisfied with the smoothness of the face cast I then used a power drill to drill in 4 large shallow holes in the plaster. It is important to keep health and safety risks in mind at all time so please be careful when handling power tools as they are extremely dangerous. These shallow holes are vital when molding your sculpt as they act as a guide allowing you to line it up perfectly. Finally I used a half inch brush to apply several layers of a shilack like substance to act as a releasing agent as the plaster is quite porous. This takes a while to build up as the plaster soaks the product in almost instantly. But keep going until you have a shiny surface.

Then that is it! You can start sculpting and create some crazy prosthetic pieces! I’ll keep you updated on the next steps so stay tuned 😀

Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 

Katy xx

For part two of this tutorial click the following link.. 

Reflection / Evaluation:
Overall I am extremely pleased how the final face cast turned out. Considering I have never made anything like this before I felt the process ran quite smoothly. I would now feel comfortable carrying out this technique without the help of a tutor. I am really pleased we have had the opportunity to learn skills like these as it allows me to be able to start sculpting my own pieces rather than sculpting directly onto the face using products such as wax and latex. If I was to make my face cast again I would perhaps make the face cast a little bigger by covering a larger surface area of my face in the first stages of casting. As this would allow me more space to sculpt onto.
I am really excited about the next steps of the prosthetic making process as it is something I am really interested in doing.