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/
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
-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
-x2 Paper cups
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.
We 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.
I 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.
I 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.
Next 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.
I 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.
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.
Once 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 🙂
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.