Maskmaking question. Need help please.

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Plane Crazy

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I certainly hope this is in the right area and doesn't come off as too creepy or anything, but here goes...

My wife had done a bit of theater work in college, and when her father passed away a few years ago, she was able to make a mask of his face immediately after he passed. She used gauze and plaster to make the mask. We are wanting to cast it more permanently, but do not want to mess up what she has. (Obviously we cannot redo it.)

We have thought of using latex to make a mold out of it, but would rather have something a little more rigid.

If any of you would be willing to share any ideas or knowledge, we would greatly appreciate it.
 

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robstyle

Master Member
So you have a positive, that you want to make a mold out of, then cast parts from? Is that correct? There are many routes you can take from cheap to expensive and all between. The issue you may run into is how porous your original part is and if it can be sealed proper to cast it up without losing too much detail. Without seeing or handling the original part, I cant make a recommendation on materials to use but check around for basic life casting tutorials on google and youtube for ideas. You already have the lifecast, now you need to make the mold and produce parts.

There is no guarantee the original will remain undamaged no matter what route you take. This is why its important to make the proper investment and not cheapen out.
 

fettster

Sr Member
Hi there.

Depending on how much the face has been cast, they mould should be easy enough.

DONT use latex, it will shrink and slightly distort. You need to use silicone to get the best result. You won't need a lot so it won't be too expensive but depending on how strong your original cast is, you want to do it right first time!

If you can load up a picture, I'll happily walk you through exactly what to do .
 

Plane Crazy

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
OK. Here are a few pictures of the mask.













I hope those are helpful. The inside is not the smoothest surface, so I don't think there will be a tremendous amount of detail there. We also might try to make a similar mask of my face and use that for practice and see how it turns out...:confused

Thanks for the suggestions guys. This is something very foreign to me.

BTW, we are in northeast Oklahoma.
 
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robstyle

Master Member
The quick and cheap way and how I would do it is to make sure you have a good mold release coating and do a brush up of Burmans TC1630 to get your hard master positive.
BURMAN INDUSTRIES :: RIGID CASTING URETHANES  ::  RIGID FILLED & UNFILLED URETHANES :: BJB TC-1630 (A/B) 1 GAL

1630 is great material for making masters and is simple to use being a 1 to 1 ratio mix with near zero shrinkage. Its forgiving, can be heated or used in direct sunlight to speed its cure and cut its working time. You dont want to dump the material and let it set but do a couple hundred gram batch brush ups. In other words, mix 200 grams, brush it in and work it around to get a good skin coat, once it gets tacky let it set for about ten minutes and do another coat...

Once you have that positive master you can now make a silicone mold and then castings. Bonus is you will now have enough 1630 to make more castings if you do indeed make a silicone mold.

It is possible the 1630 positive could be your final part skipping a silicone mold all together. If this is the plan you will want a thick surface of the material. Again, this is how I would go it but the chances of the original life cast being unharmed are near zero. Reality is, once you have the hard positive, that life cast has served its purpose. One major issue I see right off is its very thin and only one layer on some sections especially the forehead. You may need to back it with clay to help keep its shape and not break.

Get a few other experienced opinions before making any investment in materials. But thats what I would do.
 

fettster

Sr Member
Robstyle is right, the first thing to do is make a positive cast.

Fist thing I would do is get some more mod rock bandages and thick up the outside edges of the mask to prevent distortion as it looks pretty thin.

I would then liberally coat the inside with vasaline, getting a thin even coat.

I would cast my master out of plaster rather than resin, it's cheaper plus its very easy to work with is you decide to sand the surface smooth to get rid of the bandage texture. You can also cast it sold so that you have a nice flat back will will make remoulding it easier.

Unfortunately, the original is gonna be scrap. Only way round it would be to cast a urethane rubber copy but that would start adding up cost wise
 

Plane Crazy

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
fettster
...I would cast my master out of plaster rather than resin, it's cheaper plus its very easy to work with is you decide to sand the surface smooth to get rid of the bandage texture. You can also cast it sold so that you have a nice flat back will will make remoulding it easier.
OK, I have the mask reinforced and I would like to use plaster to make the master. (hey, that rhymes... :confused ) Is there one type of plaster that is better than others as far as minimal shrinkage goes?

Thanks again for all the great suggestions and help...
 

robstyle

Master Member
The downside with plaster is its a material that uses water as part of its base. Shrinkage will happen regardless. People tend to stick with what they know. Ive used plaster but not on my own jobs. I just dont like it. Again, thats just my personal opinion, do what you feel is right for the part.
 

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bweapon

New Member
Hey I hope as a noob to the forum my '2cents' doesnt come across as patronizing. I think the advice so far is all perfect for what you asked.
Looking at it though, It seems the inside is fairly rough as you mentioned. I think what i would do, seeing as apull from this mould would require lots of work is avoid resin or plaster altogether. Maybe, and again this is just me making suggestions based on personnal experience, If you 'skimmed' a thin layer of latex into the inside of your mould, that'll dry quickly and fill all those tiny holes. Then once dry you'll have a slightly smoother inner surface and added a little flexibility to the mould to the point that if the piece cracks its less likely to break apart (giving you a fighting chance of making a good repair anyway!). Then using softened clay, carefully and evenly push pieces around the entire inner so that you end up with a layer of clay about a 10mm thick. Onced thats had a day or so to air it should have stiffened slightly, enough to easily be lifted from your mould in once piece. As long as it isnt allowed to dry and only allowed enough time to firm up shrinkage wont be noticeable at all.

Then, TA DA! you have a really good clay sculpt base start to be able to refine, smooth or even add to to be able to create something great in remembrance of your father in law.

I understand this kinda takes you back to square one of needing to then make a mould and pull from it, but starting with a decent clay form will allow modifying it with so much more freedom than anything 'hardened' plus I was really trying to think of something you can have multiple attempts with and hopefully leave you original mould untouched.

Sorry if ive ranted lol, I'd just be very weary of putting anything that sets solid into that mould because if the mould release fails you at all, and you cant free even part of the cured material from the mould then you gonna risk losing the lot!
 

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