Completing The Fiberglass Moulds

Hi guys! Okay so here is the next steps taken after completing my sculpt! Hope you enjoy, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

So first things first. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Respirator, protective clothing, plastic gloves, protective gloves,  work in a well-ventilated area.

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Now that the sculpt is protected with the releasing agents I was then able to start the fiberglass process. I first began by laying the moulds onto a protected surface as fibreglass is extremely messy and sticky. It is also flammable as it heats up during vulcanisation. Laying a plastic sheet down is a useful short cut as it makes it easier to clean up from surfaces.

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Next I begin cutting up small squares of fibre glass tissue in preparation for the next step. I then mixed half a cup of gel coat with catalyst added to speed up the vulcanisation process.  Once mixed thoroughly I was then able to apply it all over the two positives. I then waited for it to cure until it was tacky to the touch.

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The next step was to apply a generous coat of laminating resin all over the cured gel coat. This would allow the fibreglass tissue to adhere to the gel coat. Whilst the laminating coat was still wet I applied one layer of tissue flattening down each strip with more laminating resin on a brush. I then left it to dry in a well-ventilated room (using the extractor fan). I did not have to cut this layer as I had made sure to lay each piece of tissue down neatly so I was able to skip this step.

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Once that layer had cured I was then able to apply two layers of fiberglass matting (again using the laminating resin and leaving it to dry in between layers.)

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I then left the fibre glass to solidify over night to make sure it was completely cured. The next step was to drill holes through both parts of the mould to allow washers and screws to be used as a way of closing and clamping the mould shut. This is important as the mould needs to be tightly closed to ensure the appliances edges are thin and true to the sculpted edges.

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After the holes are drilled the mould can then be separated and cleaned out. I had problems with this as my mould had fused together in some parts however once the edges had been sanded down the mould was then able to be prised open using metal tools (As I was dealing with sharp metal object I made sure to wear protective gloves).

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I then used a selection of wooden and metal sculpting tools to clean out the Plasterline from the mould in preparation for casting. I also use lighter fluid to further clean the mould as this dissolves the Plasterline easily.

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Then the mould is ready for casting! (I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the finished mould, But I will make sure to post one this week!)

Hopefully we will be able to run it in foam latex however due to time limitations within college is may only be made from latex which may be disappointing. Stay tuned to see the finished look after the 28th of April!

Thanks for visiting! Don’t forget, if you have any questions just leave me a comment and I will be sure to reply as soon as I can!

Katy x

Evaluation/Reflection:
As I have had quite a lot of practice with fiberglass I now feel confident enough with this process. The only troubles I had with this part of the process was the releasing of the moulds as mine had fused together as the fiberglass has overlapped when drying which was unfortunate. However, I am going to be able to solve that problem by sanding off the edges which will free the mould allowing me to open it with ease. Overall I am very happy with quality of the mould however the true test of how good the mould is will be apparent when I come to casting it in foam latex.

Preparation The Sculpt – Flashing / Releasing Agents

Hi everyone! I thought I’d share a great tip I have learned this week during my special effects lesson. A simple method that prevents thick edges on an appliance. A method called ‘flashing’: DSCF0244 Flashing is term used to describe a technique that prevents thick edges during the casting of a mould. A layer of Plasterline is applied to the positive framing the sculpt leaving a gap (roughly just under 1cm) creating a moat like effect around the entire circumference sculpt. When fibreglass is layered over the sculpt the moat will be filled making it tighter allowing the foam latex to drain creating a thinner edge as the mould will be tighter in this area. Flashing also aids undercuts as you are able to smooth out difficult surfaces such as the inner ear and around the nose area. DSCF0228 I made sure to leave the keys clear from Plasterline as this would aid the alignment of the mould when casting. Once the flashing was complete I was then able to move onto the next stage. Releasing agents: DSCF0247 Before applying fibreglass onto the sculpt I had to take precautions to stop it sticking to the Plasterline as this would make it extremely difficult to clean. I first applied a thick coverage of silver vinyl removable coating. Using a coloured vinyl coating helps identify it on the positive as I will be able to see if I have missed out any parts of the sculpt. I made sure to spray the vinyl coating under the extractor fan as a health and safety precaution so myself and my class mates do not breathe in the areole. I then left it to dry for around ten minutes. DSCF0250 Next I added two coats of ‘Macwax’ wax releasing agent as a further precaution – leaving it to dry for ten minutes in between each coat. Now that the sculpt is protected I can now move onto the next step. Completing the fiberglass mould! Stay Tuned! Thanks for reading, Katy x 

Sculpting Onto The Fiberglass Possitive

Hi guys! Hope you found the previous posts interesting! Now the process of making a fibreglass positive is complete I can now finally get creative!

After I have completed my design ideas and decided on my final design I can then begin the sculpting process. To do this I began by looking at my models face  to figure out where her face moves – where wrinkles may gather during facial expressions etc.

This would help me sculpt an appliance that would move naturally on the face as it would be able to crease in all the correct places.  I then took a pencil and gently drew on the fibreglass inner to create a guide for me to follow throughout sculpting.

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I then began blocking out my desired shaped by applying small sausage shapes of Plasterline onto the surface of the positive to create a thin layer of Plasterline that was not too far from the face as this would help create the illusion that the appliance is part of my models natural skin. I then gradually blended the small sausages together to create thin coverage over the parts of the face I wanted to cover with the appliance. I was then able to add more sausage shapes on top of this to create height in areas I wanted to build up such as the cheeks and brow bone.

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Once I was happy with the basic shape of the sculpt I was then able to begin texturing the Plasterline to make it more realistic. I tested a variety of methods such as sponging and stippling alongside using various tools until I was happy with the effect. I also experimented with thick plastic wrapping which created a different effect which worked perfectly for any wrinkles and fine lines I wanted to create as it simply made an intend rather than dragging the Plaster line around the surface. The effects of using this method were a lot more subtle. I used this method particularly around the eye and forehead area.

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I also used a loop tool to carve into the Plasterline as this would remove the unwanted Plasterline rather than moving it around the sculpt which would create raised edges.

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To make sure the edges are as thin as possible I used a few different techniques to make sure they were feathered out evenly. I first blended them out with my finger. Then used various rubber tipped tools to further blend the Plasterline outwards. Once I was happy with the majority of the edges then used a soft brush saturated in lighter fluid to gently remove the outer edges. Making sure the edges didn’t drag out too far. To make the edges harder to identify when the appliance is cast I made the edges slightly jiggered as this would trick the eye distorting the lines between the face and appliance. If I create a straight lined edge it would be more difficult to blend into the natural skin during application.

Thanks for viewing my blog 🙂

Katy x

Evaluation / Reflection:
I really enjoyed this part of the process as it allowed me to get creative with the sculpting aspect of the process. It give me a change to try different sculpting techniques which I have never attempted before such as using the plastic sheets in between the Plasterline and the tools. I will be sure to use these new found techniques again as I felt they were really effective and brought new exciting textures to my sculpture.

 

Making the Fiberglass Positive

Hi everyone! Thanks for visiting!

During this post I will be explaining the next steps towards finishing my fiberglass mould. If you have missed the previous posts and are interested in have a look. Just click the following links:

https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/preparing-silicon-inner-for-fiberglass-moulds/
https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/making-the-fibre-glass-outer-part-of-the-mould/

Ok so here we go!

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Once the negative was finished we could then move onto making the positive in which we are going to be sculpting onto. To do this we first had to free the fibreglass and silicone inner from the plaster live cast.

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Using a wooden sculpting tool I gently prized them apart being very careful not to cause any damage to either part. This was quite difficult as it was suctioned together however once air had got in between the silicone and plaster it come away quite easily.

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We then placed the plaster live casts to one side to create more space for the next step.  As precaution we covered the tables with plastic to make any spillages easier to clean up and to prevent any damage to the surfaces.

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Next we then placed sausage shaped of clay onto the front of the negative to ensure it did not roll around the table or get damaged when it was placed face down.

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We then mixed up a half cup of gel coat to begin the fibreglass process. Same as before we used the same ratio of catalyst and applied I layer all over the silicone inner. This would pick up the detail of the silicone giving us a perfect surface to sculpt on top of. We then added a generous layer of fiberglass fibres of the top of the gel coat to pick up further detail.

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Health and safety: Never place the cups and brushes directly into the bin after use – Fibre glass heats up when it cures, meaning it is a fire hazard. It is best to let it cure in sight completely.

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Although the ratio of the fibre glass was the same we decided to experiment and add another element to the mixture. We wanted to change the colour of this part of the mould so we added a metal powder colourant. We mixed a significant amount of the powder into the gel before applying the first coat. This would give us a metallic brass colour which we could polish up later. I also sprinkled a small amount of bronze onto the gel coat to see how it would turn out. This is a useful method to experiment with as I may want to make something directly out of fibreglass in the future instead of only using it as a mould making material.

Once the gel coat was applied we then left it to cure for around an hour. This would allow the gel coat to cure but not become completely dry – leaving the surface slightly tacky ready for the next step.

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We then cut 3inch square pieces of fibreglass matting in preparation as our hands were about to get sticky! We cut around 13-15 pieces just to make sure we had enough. We then laid out another piece of plastic sheeting onto the table to protect the surface.

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Next we measured out half a cup of laminating fibreglass resin (using a new cup – to prevent cross contamination) we also added the catalyst to the resin using the same measurement as before (up to the measurement of ’2’ on the neck of the bottle). We then mixed it thoroughly.

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We then used a brush to paste a layer over the tacky surface of the gel coat this will help the next layer adhere. We then placed four pieces of the matting onto the plastic sheeting and saturated them with the resin. Once all four have been coated the first square we painted would have had time to absorb the resin making it softer – allowing it to mould to the shape of the silicone inner. We then applied each square onto the surface of the painted on layer of the resin. We then used a paper mache method by pasting another coat over the top of the matting to make sure it was flat without any air bubbles. We made sure each square overlapped slightly to make sure there was not gaps.

We then left it to dry for around 20 minutes until it goes a green colour. To prevent using power tools we cut the edges of the fibre glass at this time as the fibre glass is solid but still flexible. We then repeated the process – adding a second layer. Then we left it to dry completely over night.

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Once dry we were able to use a variety of tools to separate the silicone from the fiberglass positive.

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Once the two parts were separated we were left with the fiberglass positive! I was shocked to see how much detail the gel coat had picked up.

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Although I was happy with the positive I noticed that it was a little sticky to the touch as the fiberglass had not cured completely so I decided to try and get rid of this texture with wire wool. This would also polish up the colours in the fiberglass revealing a metallic shine.

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Thank you for readying! Hope you found this helpful. Stay tuned for the next steps!

Katy x

Evaluation / Reflection:
During the making of the fibreglass positive it became clear to me why we created the silicone inner and other fibre glass section. The silicone was used to pick up the detail from the plaster face cast. The silicone was then supported by fibreglass (to keep its shape) which then allowed us to remove the plaster life cast.  I was really pleased with how the positive turned out as the first gel coat had picked up even the finest detail (some details that I wasn’t aware of) I have yet to try and sculpt on this type of positive however I like how lightweight and strong it is. It also has a smooth texture which will help me blend out the plasterline.

Preparation Ear Casts for Silicone and Fiberglass Mould

Hiiii again! Another special effects studio update! This lesson we were preparing for fiberglass and silicone moulds, this involved us ‘bedding in’ a ear cast into water based clay. The reason this is a vital preparation stage it to eliminate any possible undercuts in which may lock the mould. So lets get started!

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This is a vital preparation stage.  As I will be using a fibreglass moulding method I need to make sure there is not risk of the mould locking. To ensure this I need to make sure I fill in any undercuts that may prevent the fibreglass from releasing from the cast. To do this I will be placing the ear cast in a bed of clay building up each side. First we made sure to place the positive cast on a wooden board to make it easier to manoeuvre around and build the clay wall. We then secured the ear cast onto the board with clay before building up the sides.

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Tip! At first I struggled to get my head around the idea of undercuts however, Becky (our SFX teacher) told me a really good method of figuring out where any undercuts may be hiding. The trick was to look at the cast from a birds eye view – anything that I couldn’t see from this angle (for example the underside of the ear lobe) needed to be filled in with clay.

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Once I was happy with the bedding in process I was then able to build up a clay and Mod-Roc wall in preparation for silicone.  We then applied a light layer of Vaseline to the ear cast as silicone can adhere to plaster.

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Once prepped, we were then able to begin mixing the silicone.  First we made sure we had all the necessary materials and tools to do this.  We first began by zeroing the scales whilst the plastic bowl was on top to make sure we get an accurate reading as it is vital that the silicone is measured out precisely as it will not vulcanize.  The equation for silicone as are follows:

Part A of silicone:
100%

Part B Silicone:
10%

Accelerator:
1%

For the size of the positive face cast I was covering I wanted to mix up 70 grams of part -A 7 grams part -B and 0.7 grams of accelerator to speed up the vulcanisation process.

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Before mixing we made sure that the tubs of silicone were very close to the scales as it can drip really easily which can be difficult to clean up when not mixed as it stays in its liquid form. To avoid and drips whilst measuring out the silicone we also used a wooden stick to scrape the excess silicone from the sides of the cups. We first measured out parts A and B and then added the accelerator and mixed them together really well to ensure all the silicone would cure.

Tip! An important thing to remember when mixing up a batch of silicone is to avoid cross contamination of each part as this could ruin the full tub of silicone and its isn’t cheap! To avoid this make sure to use different cups and wooden sticks when measuring out each part.

We then poured the silicone into the centre of the positive to allow it to drip over the entire surface. This is only the first layer so it does not need to fill to the top of the clay wall.

Tip! To avoid air bubbles during this process it is always best to pour the silicone from a height as this eliminates the hair bubbles as it pours.

We then set the positive aside on a flat surface to allow the silicone to level out and cure. Due to the accelerator we would be able to come back and add the next layer in around 2 hours.

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The next later of silicone was of a different consistency to the first as we used a different product – Thixo Additive. We carried out the same process as the first layer however we mixed the Thixo at the very end. There was no precise measurement for this ingredient as it was simply to thicken the silicone up to a state I was happy with. The consistency I was looking for thick paste which I would be able to apply generously over the first layer of silicone. If the first layer is still a little tacky that doesn’t matter as it will help the next layer adhere better.  Once the past was mixed we then used another wooden tool to spread the mixture around (Some may fine using a brush easier – but keep in keep in mind it will damage the brush – so think cheap and cheerful!). We then left it to cure for a further 2-3 hours.

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Once the second later had cured, we then added another liquid layer over the top (same process as the first layer) this smoothes over any lumps and bumps from the second coat

Then you are ready for the fibreglass outer casing!

I will be posting the next step very soon, so stay tuned ,

Thanks for visiting my blog,
Katy x

Preparing Silicon Inner For Fiberglass Moulds

HI! Just another up date about what we have been getting up to in the special effects studio. Last week we were making a start on a different type of mould –  Fiberglass outer and silicone inner.

First we had to make the silicone part of the mould. To do this we used life casts of fellow class mates we had made last semester. If you would like to have a quick look of how we did that just click the following link: https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/face-casting/

So here goes!

You will need:
– Clay
– Mod-Roc
– Vaseline
– x2 cardboard cups
– Silicone part A and B / Accelerator (optional)
– Measuring scales
– Wooden sticks (lolly pop sticks)
– Gloves Optional)
-Plastic bowl

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First began by applying a light layer Vaseline to the already shellaced face cast. This ensured the silicone we were about to apply would not adhere to the surface of the plaster. Next we placed the positive onto a wooden board to be able to build up a clay and Mod-Roc wall around the positive. This ensures the silicone would not spill out over the table. To make it easier to make a neat clay wall we used a clay block to flatten out the clay so we were then able to cut it evenly to fit around the plaster. As an extra precaution I blended the clay onto the wooden board. We then added a few layers of Mod-Roc around the clay.

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Once prepped, we were then able to begin mixing the silicone.  First we made sure we had all the necessary materials and tools to do this.

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We first began by zeroing the scales whilst the plastic bowl was on top to make sure we get an accurate reading as it is vital that the silicone is measured out precisely as it will not vulcanize.  The equation for silicone as are follows:

Part A of silicone:
100%

Part B Silicone:
10%

Accelerator:
1%

For the size of the positive face cast I was covering I wanted to mix up 100 grams of part -A 10grams part -B and 1gram of accelerator to speed up the vulcanisation process.

KathrenElizabethMake-upFaceCasting (35) Before mixing we made sure that the tubs of silicone were very close to the scales as it can drip really easily which can be difficult to clean up when not mixed as it stays in its liquid form. To avoid and drips whilst measuring out the silicone we also used a wooden stick to scrape the excess silicone from the sides of the cups. We first measured out parts A and B and then added the accelerant and mixed them together really well to ensure all the silicone would cure.

Tip! An important thing to remember when mixing up a batch of silicone is to avoid cross contamination of each part as this could ruin the full tub of silicone and its isn’t cheap! To avoid this make sure to use different cups and wooden sticks when measuring out each part.

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We then poured the silicone into the centre of the positive to allow it to drip over the entire surface. This is only the first layer so it does not need to fill to the top of the clay wall.

Tip! To avoid air bubbles during this process it is always best to pour the silicone from a height as this eliminates the hair bubbles as it pours.

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We then set the positive aside on a flat surface to allow the silicone to level out and cure. Due to the accelerator we would be able to come back and add the next layer in around 2 hours.

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The next later of silicone was of a different consistency to the first as we used a different product – Thixo Additive. We carried out the same process as the first layer however we mixed the Thixo at the very end. There was no precise measurement for this ingredient as it was simply to thicken the silicone up to a state I was happy with. The consistency I was looking for thick paste which I would be able to apply generously over the first layer of silicone. If the first layer is still a little tacky that does not matter as it will help the next layer adhere better.

DSCF0118Once the past was mixed we then used another wooden tool to spread the mixture around (Some may fine using a brush easier – but keep in keep in mind it will damage the brush – so think cheap and cheerful!).

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We then left it to cure for a further 2-3 hours.

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Once the second later had cured, we then added another liquid layer over the top (same process as the first layer) this smooths over any lumps and bumps from the second coat.

Then that is it for the silicone inner! I’ll be posting  the next step very soon!

Thanks for reading 

Katy x

Casting Hands in Alginate

Hand Casting

You will need:
– x1 empty  2 litter bottle
– Scissors
– Vaseline (Not a necessity)
– Access to water
– Power drill
– Squirrel piece to fit onto drill
– x2 Flexible bucket
– Alginate (roughly one and a half bags)
– Plaster
– Flexible bowl
– Metal filing tool

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First we prepared the mould casing. To do this we cut the top off a 2 litter bottle using a pair of shape scissors (be careful! Keep your fingers well out of the way). We made sure there was no shape pointy bits as this could scratch our models arm during casting. If you want to cast both hands at a time you need to find a large mould casing so you can fit both hands in without touching the sides. Once we had cut the bottle to size we needed to place it correctly so that our models hand could hang freely into the bottle without touching the bottom.

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Next we mixed a batch of alginate. As it was a large batch we used a flexible bucket and a power drill with a squirrel mechanism attached to the end to mix it better. To make sure we didn’t make too much alginate we measured the amount by filling up the cut up 2 litter bottle leaving around 1-2 inches at the top. We made sure the water was tepid and not hot as this would boost the curing time giving us a shorter working time. We added the water to the bucket and gradually sprinkled in the alginate whilst drilling. Once the mixture was similar to a lumpy custard texture it was ready to pour.

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We only have around 3minutes to pour the alginate before it starts to vulcanise (set/cure) so we had to pour it instantly after mixing.We asked our model to dangle her hand comfortably into the bottle so I was able to pour it down one side to eliminate bubbles. Hannah (our model) wriggled her hand ever so slightly to get rid of any air bubbles attached to her hands. The alginate set pretty quickly however we left it for a further 5 minutes to ensure it was completely vulcanized.

Tip! If your model had dry skin or suffers from eczema you can add a light layer of petroleum jelly to the hand and wrist prior to mixing the alginate, this may trap extra air bubbles however.

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Once cured, we then asked Hannah to gently wriggle her fingers to allow air into the mould. This is a really important stage as if the air didn’t gradually work its way down the cast the fingers would suction together resulting in tears in the alginate. We made sure to release Hannah’s hand slowly and steadily to prevent any tears as alginate is a flexible but fragile material.

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Once Hannah’s hand was free this is what we were left with!

We then mixed up a batch of plaster to pour into the hand cast (the negative) to make the positive. To do this we began by adding a cup of cold water to a plastic (easy bendable) mixing bowl then gradually sieved handfuls of plaster on top of the water until the surface looked like wet cracked sand. We then left it to stand for a few seconds and then mixed it with our hands to make sure there were no lumps or air bubbles as this will affect the quality of the positive. (The plaster should be of a similar consistency to double cream).

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We didn’t pour all the plaster in at first as we wanted to do a light coating first to make sure we got as much of the detail caught by the alginate. To do this we poured plaster into the finger tips only and then picked up the mould and rolled the plaster around to make sure all the edges we covered (If anyone has ever rolled glazed pottery it is pretty much the same method). Once we had done that we then slowly filled up the rest of the mould. We continued to fill the mould up to the top to create a base so the hand could stand up once set.

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We then left the plaster to cure for around half an hour. (If possible leave for longer as the plaster was still a little damp and fragile when we took it out). Once set we then began to remove the negative.

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First we gently cut away the cup being careful not to dig the scissors into the alginate underneath.

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Once the plastic bottle was removed we then began to chip away at the alginate piece by piece with a wooden tool. We had to make sure we were really careful when doing this as we don’t want to damage the plaster as this will eliminate vital details if scratched, details such as the small lines, creases and the texture of the skin is vital when creative a silicone hand for example as those little details make the piece look more realistic.

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Once all the alginate it removed you then have your positive! If there is any air bubbles or imperfections they can easily be filed down gently with a metal tool. When filing away imperfections it is important that you try to follow the natural lines in the skin as this is more forgiving if you accidently scratch the plaster.

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Then you’re done!

Evaluation / Reflection:
Overall I thought the process was quite straight forward and a lot easier than expected. If I was to do this process again I would perhaps make sure our model has all her fingers separated as Hannah’s little finger was touching her ring finger. However it is hard to judge the positioning of your hand when you can not see it due to the Alginate. A way of overcoming this problem is to use a larger container so our model doesn’t have to be so careful not to touch the edges of the bottle – this may result in using a larger amount of alginate however it will give a better result.

Thanks for visiting my blog! If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Katy x

Ear Casting using Alginate

Hi everyone! So, I thought I’d share with you what we have been taught this week during the Special Make-up Effects lesson. This week was very exciting as I got to work with a product  I have hear a lot about but unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to work with yet. Alginate.  From my research I found out that Alginate originates from a brown seaweed that grows in cold waters. Sodium Alginate is a natural polysaccharide product that is extracted from the cell wall of the seaweed. The natural function of alginate is to give flexibility to the seaweed, which made perfect sense as I have read that is is a very flexible casting medium.

Casting an the ear was loads of fun to do and really wasn’t as difficult as anticipated if you’d like to see how we did it please continue reading, If you have any questions I will try and answer them ASAP!

So here goes!

Things to remember:
-Abide by the health and safety regulations over each product used.
-Make sure the model is comfortable throughout the process. – Ask if they’re okay and talk them through the process while you are doing it so they know what to expect (cold fluids etc).
-Be fully prepared with all products and object you will need to
-It helps to have someone to help you (I will explain why later)

You will need:
x2 plastic mixing bowls
x2 paper cups
Paper towels
Cotton wool
Clear plastic bag / clear plastic / cling film
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
Alginate
Access to water
Plaster
An extractor fan (for health and safety reasons)
Clay
x2 long strips of plaster bandage (Modroc) Roughly 30cms in length

Before starting the casting process we split into groups of three to make sure we all had someone at hand to assist when needed. We also cut the paper cups in half in preparation. During the casting process we made sure to wear overalls to prevent our clothes from being damaged (old clothes will do just fine).

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First we asked our model to plug up her ear with cotton wool to prevent the products seeping down into the ear canal. We then asked our model to lay down on the desk top -making sure their head was supported and lying as flat as possible.

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It is vital that the model is comfortable in the position they are laying in as the Alginate needs to be left to cure for up to 5 minutes, which requires the model to sit still.

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Next we then moved any stray hairs away from the ear – smoothing it down by applying a small amount of petroleum jelly with our finger tips.

Tip! If the top of the ear is touching or very close to the head – push a small amount of cotton wool under the fold to prop up the ear slightly. This will allow the alginate to manoeuvre around the ear better giving you a clearer cast of the entire ear. Make sure you don’t distort the ear shape by putting too much cotton wool under as this will cause problems later on. For example, when it comes to sculpting on top of the ear cast you will not be sculpting on a replica that is true to the natural shape of the models ear. Possibly resulting in an ill-fitting prosthetic.

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Next we cut a section off the plastic bag out to act as a protective layer between the skin and hair around the ear and the Alginate. We then cut a split in middle of the plastic to expose the ear. We then used a little more petroleum jelly to stick it down on the skin around the ear. Always keep health and safety in mind so don’t place the plastic over the models face as this could obstruct her airways. You do not need to add any releasing agent when using Alginate as it has a watery feeling exterior once cured which prevents it sticking to surfaces. It is also really flexible so you can easily bend the product away from what ever you are casting.

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Once the plastic was secure we then were able to use to top half of a paper cup as a wall around the ear to prevent the alginate from leaking. This is when you may need a little help! To prevent the alginate from leaking down onto our models head one of us held onto the cup tight, slightly pressing it down onto our models head. Remember keep asking if your model is okay to ensure you are not applying too much pressure. As another precaution we also wrapped paper towel around the lip of the cup.

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The next step was to mix up the alginate! Alginate comes in a powdered form which you need to mix with water to begin the vulcanization process (setting/curing). To mix up a batch of alginate it is always best to use only tepid/room temperature water as the warmer the water the quicker the alginate will solidify. When the alginate is mixed you only will have around 3 minutes of working time before it begins to set. First we poured a cup of tepid water into a plastic bowl. We then began to sprinkle in the Alginate directly into the water using our hand to mix it until it was at a ‘runny/lumpy porridge’ consistency. Once we were happy with the consistency we were ready to cast!

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Before pouring the alginate make sure someone is holding the cup firmly onto the head to prevent any alginate running under the lip of the cup and onto the models head and hair. When pouring it is always best to pour it either behind or in front of the ear making sure it fills up gradually and doesn’t create air bubbles. Once you have poured in the alginate you then need to use your finger to move it around the ear. This makes sure there are no air bubbles preventing the alginate from reaching the surface of the skin. Again, remember to constantly reassure your model and tell then what is going on.

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Once poured a the cup must still be held firm until the alginate has set a significant amount. The curing time may differ depending on the type/brand of alginate you are using. Our casts took around 5 minutes to cure completely.

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Tip! If you are unsure if the alginate has set take a look at the alginate left over in your bowl and see if that is completely set, chances are it has vulcanized enough ready to be removed. If unsure I’d recommend leaving it for another minute. Better leaving it on for too long rather than taking it off too soon!

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Although alginate is a flexible product once dry it is still susceptible to tears if not removed correctly. Once cured the next step is to remove the mould from the model. To do this you need to follow the direction of the each and gradually peel away the edges – reaching your fingers gently underneath the mold. Then once lifted from the face, gently swipe it towards the back of the head following the ears natural shape. Then remove the plastic bag from the surface of the mold.

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Once the ear is free from the mold you can then sit your model up and prepare for the next step. Now we have made a negative it is time to make the plaster positive. To do this we cut another paper cup in half and placed it directly on top of the cup the mold was in. We then used clay to attach the two cups together.

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Tip! This can be quite difficult as the cups are flimsy and may bend when you try to blend the clay out. To help attach the two I found it easier to create 3 or 4 anchor points rather than rolling out a long strip of clay and trying to blend it on. I then filled in the gaps.

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Another reason for using the clay is prevent the plaster from leaking out of the joining of the cups as that could be messy! Once the joins are completely covered with clay we went on to using plaster bandage (Modroc). Gathering a bowl of warm water we then dipped each strip of Modroc and removed any excess water. Quickly, we then applied the Modroc directly over the top of the clay and smoothed it out to further prevent any plaster spillage. Once I was happy with the joining of the two cups we then left it for a few minutes to solidify.

Once dry, we mixed up a batch of plaster under the extractor fan (to prevent any plaster dust floating around the work room as this is not good to inhale).

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To do this we began by adding a cup of cold water to a plastic (easy bendable) mixing bowl then gradually sieved handfuls of plaster on top of the water until the surface looked like wet cracked sand. We then left it to stand for a few seconds and then mixed it with our hands to make sure there were no lumps or air bubbles as this will affect the quality of the positive. (The plaster should be of a similar consistency to double cream).

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We then poured the plaster directly into the mould. (This is why a bendy bowl is handy as it allows you to use to funnel the plaster in with little or no spillage) Make sure the cast is completely full and then continue pouring to create a good base for the positive to stand on. Once poured give the mold a few short sharp taps on the table to encourage the air bubbles to rise to the surface – as this will give you a smoother effect. We then left it until next lesson because we ran out of time however if you have the time to run through the full process leave it for around an hour to cure completely before moving onto the next step.

As we had left our ear casts for a long period of time we soaked them in a bucket of water for around half an hour to soften the cup, plaster bandage and Alginate to make the removal process that much easier. You may not need to do this depending on how long you leave the plaster to set for. You may get away with soaking it only for 10 minutes or less.

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Once we had soaked the casts we then removed them and began to peel away the cups, plaster bandage (mod-roc) and clay to reveal the the Alginate and plaster underneath.

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Once that is done I then began chipping away at the Alginate with a wooden tool to reveal the plaster positive underneath. I had to be extremely careful during this stage as the plaster is also damp making it more susceptible to damage.

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Once all the Alginate is cleared we can then see how well cast come out. Here is what my ear positive looked like!

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Evaluation / Reflection:
Overall I felt the process ran quite smoothly however we did unfortunately get a small amount of the Alginate in one of our models hair however once it was dry it combed straight out due to it’s flexibility.
Unfortunately there was some air bubbles that restricted the Alginate from getting a clear cast of my ear however the general outline is still there. I would not feel comfortable sculpting on top of this cast as it isn’t strong enough as I think the top of the ear (the scapha) would easily break with minimal pressure. If I had the time I would do the cast again making sure the to move my finger around the entire ear making sure to eliminate any possible air bubbles.
However I was impressed by the amount of detail the Alginate picked up for example; the holes where I have had my ears pierced.
Overall I was a little disappointed about how my cast turned out however, I now feel confident in making a second attempt to try and perfect this skill.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I will also be going through the next few steps such as sculpting casting, colouring and applying the appliance at a later date.

Next week we are going to casting our hand too, so stay tuned!

Thanks again, Katy x

Special Effects Silicone Prosthetic Final Assessment

Hi! Here is a general summary of the process of creative and colouring my final prosthetic piece.

During this semester we were asked to carry out several tasks in order to create a custom fit silicone prosthetic piece. At first I was unsure of what category I was going to base my prosthetic on. I finally decided to base it on a fantasy Frankenstein’s monster themed character. However I didn’t want to simply copy so I decided to change my characters story. Once I was completely happy with my character profile I then sculpted my design and completed the casting process to create my prosthetic. I was initially pleased with how it came out however; I noticed that my feathered smoothed out edges that I had previously sculpted were redundant as the cast come out as a full face and did not separate the two separate pieces. To combat this next time I would create a clay barrier around my sculpted pieces allowing the silicone to drain evenly creating a thinner edge for me to blend away on the skin.

KathrenElizabethMake-upFaceCasting (79) I had no other option but to cut the two pieces out with scissors and work on blending the edges directly on the face. Before cutting I used oil paint and silicone to pre-paint the piece. This wold save time and also makes the colour permanent.

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Once I was happy with the pre-painting of the piece I was then ready to begin the next process. As I had sculpted over my models natural eye brow I wanted to punch one in using the techniques I had learned with Sue Day. I was really pleased with how this looked as I had previously practiced on spare pieces of silicone. I had looked into how eyebrow hair grew naturally and noticed there was a strange pattern which made the hair grows almost in a pointed ‘V’ pattern.

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It was important that I punched the hair previous to applying the piece as this is a health and safety risk as the punching tool is quite sharp. Another effect I wanted to try was stitching into the silicone. This would create a more realistic effect rather than simply sticking stitches directly onto the prosthetic. It was surprisingly easy to stitch through the silicone which I was pleased to find.

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Once my prosthetic was fully prepped I was ready to begin. I adhered the prosthetic to the skin using pros-aide which I applied directly onto the skin and onto the back of the prosthetic leaving out the edges. It stayed in place really well allowing me to then glue down the edges separately to get a better fit. Once the pieces were glued onto the face securely I then used Cabosil which I had previously mixed with Pros-aide in the special effects studio. Whilst mixing the Cabosil I made sure to take all the health and safety precautions including wearing a respirator to prevent the light fibres from entering my lungs. I also made sure to place the tub of Cabosil under the extractor fan as an extra precaution. I then used a metal spatula to smooth it over the edges of my prosthetic. This worked really well however I found I had to reapply the product to some places as the Cabosil had shrunk whilst it was drying. Once that had completely dried I was then able to start applying paint over the top to further blend the edges. Unfortunately I only have greasepaints in my kit so I used a small amount of castor oil to make the greasepaints easier to work with as it allows the paint to glide smoothly over the silicone easily almost like the rubber mask paint. I also used Skin Illustrators to give the effect of different skin tones. I used a stippling and splashing technique to give a variation of tones in a more natural looking way; to do this I trimmed down a tough bristle brush and gently flicked the product onto the skin and prosthetic. This was really effective and made the piece look more realistic.

I had also made a cloak for my character to tie in with her back story or lurking in the shadows. This too was really effective as it only cost roughly around £3.00 to make. To find out how I made the cloak just click the following link for a tutorial
https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/making-cloaks-for-character-assessments/

Overall I am a little disappointed about the final look although I did get good feedback from tutors. If I was to do this again I would make my prosthetic out platinum silicone encased in Glatzan to make it easier to blend onto the skin thus creating a more realistic effect. I would also create a clay boarder around my sculpt and clamp my cast tighter to ensure thinner edges. However I now know what to do to overcome thick edges and have learned a great deal over this semester.

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Thanks for reading,
Katy x

Painting Silicone Prosthics

Hiii! Just though I’d do a post to update you on my special effects project I’m working on at the minute. For our final assessment we have been asked to create apply and paint a silicon prosthetic. This was a daunting task as I have never worked with silicone before. If you missed the previous stages of the making of the prosthetic just click the following link which will lead you to the beginning…https://kathrenelizabethmakeup.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/face-casting/

A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to be taught by Sue Day a hair and colour specialist who had previously worked for Madam Tussauds for over 20 years! It was a really great opportunity and we learned loads!

2013-11-11 11.08-horzWe were asked to work on some sample casts of well know faces such as Jack Nicholson eye and David Beckhams mouth area. The samples were coloured pieces of silicone which gave us great start for a natural flesh tone. We first used a natural turpse brush cleaner called ‘Zest It’ to clean the surface we were working on. We then placed the sample piece down and cleaned that with ‘Zest It’ too. We had to be vary thorough to eliminate any dirty or grease as this may repel the paint. 

2013-11-11 11.44-horzWe then used a disposable palette to set out some oil paints down one side to ensure there was enough space to mix the different skin tones.  I then began to experiment with different colour to build up a skin tone I was happy with. I have previously studied A level art which was a huge help in mixing the desired flesh tone. 

2013-11-11 11.21.47Once I was happy with the skin tone I had mixed I then added silicone rubber compound and mixed it thoroughly. The more silicone you add to the paint the more permanent the paint will be. To give me a little more time to work with the paint I added a small amount of ‘Zest It’ to thin it out slightly. I then used a stippling brush to apply the colour onto the silicone cast.

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2013-11-11 11.38.33Once I was satisfied with the base colour I then began to mix a slightly rosier colour to stipple over the cheeks to make it look a little more realistic as there is several different tones and shade to the human skin which is why it can be really difficult to paint a believable skin tone.  

2013-11-11 12.03.50Although I was happy with the colour of the cheeks the paint had repelled slightly due to two possible reasons. 1, I didn’t leave the base coat to set for long enough. Or 2, I didn’t add enough silicone to my base colour. To combat this problem next time I will make sure to leave the paint to dry completely before adding the next coat of paint. I also would like to experiment further with the silicone compound and paint. 

Thanks for reading! As always if you have any questions, just let me know!

katy xx

Evaluation / Reflection:
Overall I found this quite difficult as I struggled using the oil paint as it dried extremely quickly on the palette. I was never a fan of oil paints as I much preferred to use acrylics when painting canvas as you could always go back to using a previous colour. Painting silicone is extremely different as you have such a short time to work with the product. I would like to experiment with using different products such as skin illustrators and greasepaint to see what I can achieve with them as I really dislike this permanent method of painting.