|Cost :||£20 ish|
|Time Taken :||1 week|
|Important read first! - PLEASE do not use this as a tutorial without consulting other more informed people/tutorials first, for your own SAFETY. It cannot be stressed enough that body casting can be literally fatal if you don't follow safety guidlines!|
This is more to ducument my progress at making my own head cast. The head cast will be a valuable aid and will help me make some of the more unusual pieces for costumes with special construction needs. e.g. First use will be to help me sculpt a set of custom fitted horns for my Darth Maul costume.
Head cast - method
I am doing this pretty low budget. All I need is a fair reproduction of my head contours, extreme detail is not really neccesary for how I intend to use it.
I decided to use a plaster bandage face mould kit to make the mould for my head cast. The mould is made in two parts with a separation join roughly at the mid point, where a cardboard flange is incorporated. So the mould covers the back of the head, and the front of the head, in two seperate pieces.
The plaster bandage mould pieces were then strengthened with an additional layer of plaster/filler.
Using the mould I layed up car body filler inside to produce a full head casting with a tough exterior surface - Since I will re-using the head cast to sculpt different things for different projects I want to be able to strip off the sculpted extra's without damaging the actual head cast.
The inside of the head cast is hollow, though I did back up the car body filler cast on the inside with a thick layer of plaster of Paris (in case I dropped it or something) So this thing is now Really strong!
Progress pics and more in-depth descriptions are written in Journal..
Plaster bandage kit £8
Car body filler £10
DIY filler £2
Wooden base offcuts
Stage 11 (Posted 24th November 2010)
Pic taken during final knifing putty application. After it dried I sanded the surface nice and smooth.
1st stop Darth Maul horns..
Stage 10 (Posted 20th October 2010)
Filling the cracks.
To make working on the cast more practical I mounted it on a wooden base..basically a piece of timber stuck inside the hollow cast and filled around the neck with plaster. The wooden support is mounted onto a round wooden base with a couple of screws through the bottom.
At this stage I have started filling all the small crags and imperfections in the cast using 'Knifing Putty' - This is another car bodywork product. It is an air drying filler paste. Not too smelly.
Stage 9 (Posted 9th October 2010)
Finally got some Plaster of Paris and so I could back up the casting. I didn't fill the mould completely - Man, Plaster of Paris is so heavy! I layed it inside about a couple inches thick. The cast seems very tough now.
pic - With the cast set rigid I started de-moulding. ..it's fair to say the mould did not survive :) just look at the mess, that is all that is left. In hindsight I should have Vaselined inside the plaster mould before I started laying up inside it. Becasue the car body filler stuck well to the plaster mould. I had to rip it off the cast in chunks. And also used the chisel a lot to scrape down to the grey of the casting. ..I felt like an archaeologist carefully picking out dirt to reveal an unearthed relic. :)
Stage 8 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Here the two mould halves are brought back together. The location pins (cocktail sticks) make sure the two mould halves are aligned exactly, and the spring clamps are holding the mould flanges tightly together.
Then I mixed up more car body filler and layered it around the remaining seam on the inside of the flange. Access is through the neck hole (now you can see why I did stage 7 first).
So now a complete cast is formed inside the mould. But the car body filler layer is only about 20cms thick, ie as it is the head cast could break just like an easter egg. So one further stage I will back up this tough 'skin' layer with some more substantial plaster paris layers inside before I demould.
Now waiting for the shop to get the Plaster of Paris order in..Should be in soon.
Stage 7 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Because I want the outer surface of my head cast to be very tough I decided to use car body filler as the first 'skin' layer. I put it on about 1.5cms thick.
The filler I bought from Halfords. It is called U-Pol, ..same stuff as P38, Isopon, etc. It is a resin filler which hardens by chemical reaction when you mix in the hardener paste. It gives you about 5 mins before is sets, so mix and work in small batches at a time! It's also VERY smelly stuff so it has to be done outside.
Here you can see I have layed up both halves, but stopped just short of the flange. Doing it this way most of the work is done whilst the two mould halves are easily accessible.
Stage 6 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
The mould dried out overnight. So next I put the two mould halves back on my head and carefully drilled some location holes straight through the two layers of flange - these will keep the two mould halves keyed together in correct position when I come to make the cast inside. Spring clamps held the two flanges tightly together whilst I drilled straight through (by feel). Sounds dangerous but I just used a hand held pin vice and slowly drilled through the two layers of flange. Then I pushed cocktail sticks through the newly made holes. Next I carefully removed the two halves of the mould from my head - the cocktail sticks stayed in one half - then reassembled the two halves back together on their own.
Stage 5 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Here are the two parts of the mould just drying out. You can also see the mess on the table (oopse).
Stage 4 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Yes I completely covered the whole face. This is why it is dangerous. First I made sure I could breath ok through the nose holes before I covered over my eyes. Also had my wife standing by in case anything got scary..it didn't, and I found that I was amazingly calm waiting for the stuff to set.
Stage 3 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Next I started covering the front.
Stage 2 (Posted 2nd October 2010)
Next I cut up the plaster bandage into 20cm strips. It is real easy stuff to use but messy. You dip it in water for a few secs then squeeze excess water out and wrap it on. I managed to do all of the back just by feel. This stuff sets pretty fast - after about 5 mins.
Note: Before I started putting the plaster bangdage on I put body oil all over my head to stop it sticking to my skin, eybrows etc. (Vaseline also works well). The flange also is slippery on one side - because this is where the two halves will seperate. So the back part of the mould will stick to the rough side of the cardboard flange, but the front part of the mould will not stick to the splippery side of the cardbard flange.
Stage 1 (Posted 2nd October 2010)