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Old 03-21-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
Tinalera
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Liquid Latex and mask molding questions

This question isn't on set per se, but it was suggested as a forum for this question.

I shortly will be attemping my first at a latex mask. Right now I've got plaster bandages as a cheap introduction for a mold-the question, will it be enough? (BTW I know very well to make sure to keep the air passage ways clear via straws or other device.

Note I will be molding a live person (myself) and not clay. I'll be getting someone to help me to do it, and a could use some advice. Is petroleum jelly the best stuff to make sure I can peel it off with little problem? I will probably try a half face first, before for going for full head.

Eventually I would like to get proficient in it enough not only for my own films, but for other people who could use my services in the industry(be they hollywood or be another person like myself who's needs affordable help )

Also, are all liquid latexes created equal? Or should I keep an eye out for certain brands?

Any questions for clarification, please ask!
Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:34 PM   #2
directorik
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Do not, under any circumstances put plaster or plaster bandages
directly on your skin. The plaster bandages are used to make the
actual molding material (alginate) ridged.

All liquid latex is pretty much the same. All of the major brands
will be the same. You will not use liquid latex to make a mask,
however. Well, you can, but it will be of very poor quality; like
those cheap masks you get for Halloween. Foam latex is what is
used to make most appliances.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice I need to make sure we're on the same wavelength here:

What I refer to as "plaster bandages", may be misnamed. They are strips I picked up in a craft store(I think they were called "plaster molding strips") I can't find the label. Anyway, the instructions are to rub Petroleum jelly on the person, wet the strips and apply them. They then harden and you remove them after 20 minutes-are we talking about the same thing?

If not, what "plaster bandages" are you referring to? Also, if I chose to go the liquid plaster route(or whatever the material is), what plaster(or material) is it that I need to apply to the skin(rubbing with jelly before hand)? Like I'm still pretty new at this, it's why I'm asking.

Also, I note the foam latex-is it more/less expensive than liquid(Liquid I was pricing for 20 dollars for 1 L or 30 for 2 Litres). I can understand how foam would be thicked and higher quality than liquid. I'll keep an eye out for it.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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I have very little experience with the plaster molding strips you
get at a hobby store. I assume if the instructions say they are
save to use on the skin, then they are. My assumption is they will
not provide much detail in the mold itself. I suspect the quality
is more for the hobbyist making, for example, a mold of a child's
hand for posterity, rather than a mold for a mask or appliance for
a movie.

There are medical grade plaster bandages - the kind used to make
casts for broken bones - that are used by special efx make up
people. I’ve used these for decades. These, too, are not used for
the actual mold; they are used to strengthen the mold material.
Perhaps a petroleum jelly will assist in keeping these bandages
from sticking, but then the inside of the mold (the negative)
won’t have much detail. Not enough to make movie quality masks
anyway.

Liquid latex is less expensive and much easier to work with. But
it is not typically used to make masks (other then the Halloween
costume style) because it doesn’t hold detail well and needs to be
quite thick to hold its shape.

So depending on what your final product needs to be, these plaster
molding strips are a fine way to begin. Getting to the point where
you can hire yourself out as a pro or semi-pro will take many
years of work. I know you know that.

Making an appliance of the quality needed for a movie takes more
than a dozen steps and more materials then the bandages and liquid
latex.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to get hooked. I ended up
working as a special efx makeup artist for many years and loved
it!
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
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Here's a link to an index of several tutorials, from latex mask-making to full-head life casting, offered by James Rogers of MorphicMotion.

http://www.morphicmotion.com/tutorials/tutindex.htm

HTH
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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Thank you for the link! This will help out immensely!


And thanks Directork. Part of what I'm doing stems from a life long love of masks which I now embracing. I don't doubt I will probably hooked pretty quickly on it. I've even started my own social group(alas I'm the only one so far lol) called Making Faces-masks in culture and in movies.

I'm glad we clarified about the plaster bandages-yes, those are VERY different from what I have- mine is more for children, but I figured it would be a good learning experience. I wouldn't put hospital plaster on me!

I'm understanding more of what you are saying about reinforcing the mold, not being the mold; also offering a surface to grip when actually removing the mold-again though, we were talking about two different things

I want to see where I can go with it. I figure even if I can get good enough to help theatre groups, or dare I say it, people on these very boards with a limited budget, all the better.

Thanks so far for all the advice! I'll be sure to post how I'm doing with it when I get started, and if I have any more questions I'll ask!
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:21 PM   #7
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Okay, so I'm purusing the tutorial with the link(excellent by the way), and my first question comes up.


The gent is using a clay model, whereas I will be using a live one(myself) for molding. When it comes to molding plaster(not strips!), is there a certain type that works better with skin than others? I realise there's jelly involved, but I just wonder what brand I should be looking for to be brushing on a person? Just wonder if anyone has any thoughts.

Otherwise the site is great, and I appreciate the link!

EDIT, nevermind, I just saw the section on headcasting-using Algiform/Alginate

Learned lessons!

Last edited by Tinalera; 03-24-2010 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
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So, one thing I haven't gotten from the tutorials on the link:

Where can I buy Algiform/Alginate? Any craft store? Do the bigger hardware stores carry it? The other stuff, foam latex, plaster bandages, ect, is easier.

I would prefer to try and find something in a store, though if I have to hit internet-does anyone here have a link(or maybe even sells it and could give me a deal? )
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinalera View Post
So, one thing I haven't gotten from the tutorials on the link:

Where can I buy Algiform/Alginate? Any craft store? Do the bigger hardware stores carry it? The other stuff, foam latex, plaster bandages, ect, is easier.

I would prefer to try and find something in a store, though if I have to hit internet-does anyone here have a link(or maybe even sells it and could give me a deal? )
I'm not an effects person, but I bet if you email James, he'd be more than happy to refer some contacts. I know he produces and sells something called visco-morphic gel (think Alien-like slime~lol), not sure if he stocks algiform. Otherwise, I've seen this site come up on google:
http://www.pinkhouse.com/Algiform.html
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bird View Post
I'm not an effects person, but I bet if you email James, he'd be more than happy to refer some contacts. I know he produces and sells something called visco-morphic gel (think Alien-like slime~lol), not sure if he stocks algiform. Otherwise, I've seen this site come up on google:
http://www.pinkhouse.com/Algiform.html
I tried emailing him, and got one of those "Daemon" errors-didn't like the email address for some reason . Thanks for the link, have an idea of how much it costs (I don't have a regular Visa, but I can buy one of those "Gift cards Visas" that are essentially the same thing).

I was hoping that maybe hardware stores or something nearby may have it-I don't do much shopping online....may be the only way to go here though.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinalera View Post
So, one thing I haven't gotten from the tutorials on the link:

Where can I buy Algiform/Alginate? Any craft store? Do the bigger hardware stores carry it? The other stuff, foam latex, plaster bandages, ect, is easier.

I would prefer to try and find something in a store, though if I have to hit internet-does anyone here have a link(or maybe even sells it and could give me a deal? )
Alginate is used by dentists. You won't find it in a
hardware store, but you will find it in any dental
supply store. Contact any local dentist and ask
where they get it.


http://www.burmanfoam.com/estore/home.php
http://www.cinemasecrets.com/
http://www.accu-cast.us/?gclid=CKGi1...FQJZiAodu1t5sg
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
Alginate is used by dentists. You won't find it in a
hardware store, but you will find it in any dental
supply store. Contact any local dentist and ask
where they get it.


http://www.burmanfoam.com/estore/home.php
http://www.cinemasecrets.com/
http://www.accu-cast.us/?gclid=CKGi1...FQJZiAodu1t5sg
Wow, to think those Dentists I fear have something I can really use!


Thanks for the links! Now at least I have a direction to go in and where to look. (Who'd have thought some of this stuff would be so hard to come by? )
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:40 AM   #13
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Well...

Special effects is a speciality occupation. Unlike carpentry,
plumbing and cooking, there are very few people doing it
so fewer people needing the supplies. The supplies aren't
hard to come by on the web or in a city where there are
a lot of make up people doing efx.

I envy those of you starting now. You have so many recourses.
And so easy to find. When I was starting there wasn't the
internet. I couldn't look up a webpage with step by step
instructions, I had to figure it out pretty much alone.

I can remember getting a cast of my teeth for braces at about
15 and asking the dentist what that goopy stuff was. She
gave me some of the Alginate - just enough to make a cast
of my finger. It was SO less painful than using plaster (that
was one hell of a story) that I thought I was the first person
in history to figure it out.

I spent a lot of my allowance for the next few years buying
that stuff and making a mess of the kitchen.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
Well...

Special effects is a speciality occupation. Unlike carpentry,
plumbing and cooking, there are very few people doing it
so fewer people needing the supplies. The supplies aren't
hard to come by on the web or in a city where there are
a lot of make up people doing efx.

I envy those of you starting now. You have so many recourses.
And so easy to find. When I was starting there wasn't the
internet. I couldn't look up a webpage with step by step
instructions, I had to figure it out pretty much alone.

I can remember getting a cast of my teeth for braces at about
15 and asking the dentist what that goopy stuff was. She
gave me some of the Alginate - just enough to make a cast
of my finger. It was SO less painful than using plaster (that
was one hell of a story) that I thought I was the first person
in history to figure it out.


I spent a lot of my allowance for the next few years buying
that stuff and making a mess of the kitchen.
Well, I'm not going to ask about ages here, but I'm not a young chick myself(somewhere between 30-50 )
I'm starting this at a later time in my life, and I'm wishing I had figured out what I wanted to do with myself a decade or so ago

My challenge is more about buying on internet. I don't have a credit card, and that has made my online purchase stuff close to non existent, and paypal has been a poor experience so far That's why I was overjoyed the Visa has these gift cards now that act like an online credit/debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted just like a credit card. That's why I was trying to find somewhere around where I live. I know of Dentists around here though, I live in a small town. Find out where they get their stuff.

What can I say though? I finally found what I want to do and am pursuing my passions(and allowing myself to do so). I may not make it to Hollywood or anything, but making masks for my own interest, and maybe get some contact with local theatre or helping out people on these boards who are, like me, "Financially challenged" would be just as good. I'm just happy that there are so many GOOD people on these forums-I must say I haven't found such an absence of negativity anywhere else, and that's good
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:32 PM   #15
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So, the local dentist in town is willing to work with me, and will let me order stuff through him! That should make things easier. They were pretty helpful, and showed me a catalogue-alot of different types of Alginate to choose from(including one he showed me that turned colour as it hardened from a grey to a pink).


I guess my next question is-is there a certain type or active ingredient I should be looking for? Or are most Algniate powders similar, just different in respect to drying time?
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