Face cast disaster (again) help!

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by freezen2001, May 13, 2012.

  1. freezen2001

    freezen2001 New Member

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    So this is the second time I've attempted to make a plaster cast of my girlfriends face using alginate and plaster bandages. Still messing up!

    first, put on the bald cap.... layed some plastic out like it was Dexter's kill room, and put a few old couch cushions under it all to make her comfy. Had her put some vaseline on eyebrows and eyelashes, and nivea cream on face to keep things from sticking!


    Put 7 lbs of water (70 degrees) in a container and added 1 lb blue alginate powder and mixed and attempted to cover her face. Again... it was so runny that it all ended up in pools on eiter side of her. I kept scooping it up and putting it back on top to watch it run down again. Not until it started to set up after 7-8min that it would make a 1/4 inch depth without running down like water.


    Then covered it with plaster bandages. Covered her face and neck hoping to get a cast of both connected. Did about 3-4 layers and let harden about 20 min.

    Then for the moment of truth! It was horriable... the alginate was too thin around the edges, it tore from the chin down... had tears in it... had to use clips just to hold it up against the plaster bandage outer shell thats spoused to hold its shape!

    Finally..... drumroll please..... the anticlimactic ending... a lifecast that looks like sloth from Goonies! Arrrrrh! I've noticed lots of videos for lifecasting online that use a much thicker type alginate. Am I adding too much water? I've weighed everything out on a digital scale that goes down to ounces. Anyone have any advice or suggestions for me?
  2. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

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    First off, how old is the alginate you are using?
  3. Cbstudios

    Cbstudios Active Member

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    Experiment with your weights, I tend to mix my aginate by feel rather than by calibrated weights. Try using a little more powder, making it thicker, paying close attention to building the thickness up around the edges.

    One downside is the thicker you mix it, the quicker it'll cure, so you'll have less working time. You can also do more than one layer, try doing a second coat to build it up before you do your plaster jacket.
  4. fire10

    fire10 New Member

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    More importantly what did your girlfriend think of it LOL
    I have tried a couple of times aswell it is very tricky to get right
  5. Eopie Herder

    Eopie Herder Sr Member

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    Sound like too much water, also, she seems to be reclining to much. It may not be too noticeable while she is lying there, but her skin is going to sag some pulling away from the center of her face. You should have her sitting in a normal position. If you are making appliances, that is the natural position of her face, and they will fit better with less distortion that way.
  6. Indigogyre

    Indigogyre Well-Known Member

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    Well, I will reiterate what others have said. The most sever problem you are facing is that the alginate is way to runny.

    Since you said Blue Alginate, I am making the assumption you are using Accu-Cast 880. If this is not the alginate you are using my information might be less useful.

    Accu-Cast 880 is named to so that it will take roughly 8 minutes to setup with 80 degree water. Warmer water will make it setup quicker, colder water will delay the setup of the alginate.

    Your water to alginate ratio is beyond the documented ratios which are between 1:1 and 5:1 water:alginate. A good suggested ratio is considered 3.5:1 of water to alginate. Once you lower your ratio you'll have an easier time of it.

    You might not want to use vaseline at all as a release agent on the eyebrows. While slim there is a possibility that the vaseline can carry over into the final casting and contaminate silicone appliances. The Nivea cream should be enough for the eyebrows since the alginate only creates a mechanical bond. Alginate will not stick to flesh, regardless of it being coated or not.

    To help between your alginate and plaster create keys or small raised sections to help locate the alginate mold back into the plaster jacket. You can also use cotton balls pressed lightly into the outside of the alginate before it sets up. Once the alginate sets up pull ou tthe large clumps so that you just leave a layer of fiber that the plaster can then bond to.

    Also, as was mentioned before you should have your girlfriend sit up in a normal position if you plan to make any sort of facial appliance.

  7. freezen2001

    freezen2001 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys! The alginate i'm using is called "Moldgel silfree"... and its a little over a year old. Do they have a shelf life? I've kept it in the plastic bag it came in and had it sealed ever since. I do think I'll try a different brand next time with a much thicker consistancy.

    @ Fire10.... my gf didnt mind it much, but by the time it was ready to come off she was ready to be done with it! At least this time we used a bald cap... the first time was a little more messy with alginate stuck in her hair!

    I'll try it again with less water. Glad to know that sitting upright is also another thing I need to have her do.

    I'll post new pics the next time we do it! It might be awhile before she lets me attempt this again!

    Thanks for all the input!
  8. daMilkman

    daMilkman New Member

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    Hey man, I am a dental technician and we work with alginate, I also dabble in special fx and have done many face casts. As other have stated, your mix is way too runny...

    What works for me is to get a mix where the consistency is slightly runnier than toothpaste. Although it might set a little quicker, with it being more paste like it doesn't end up running all over the place.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  9. Vitriol

    Vitriol Member

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    Like others have said. Have her sit upright in a normal comfortable position.
    And mix your aliginate. A lot. It looks really clumpy and not at all combined. Make sure it's not clumped.
    Good luck.

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