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09 Jan 2009 - 21:499497
Head Cast.. oh dear god help.
Okay, so I just attempted my first face cast on Timber. It went so horribly horribly wrong, and I'd like to ask anyone who has done it before if they can help me out.

Main problem that I know went wrong is that we used the wrong kind of plaster. This is from me going to my mum and saying "I need plaster that dries quickly" and her coming back with finishing plaster. So I know next time to use plaster of paris. God. Timber was in there for about 30 minutes before we realised that the shit wasn't drying, and it would probably be best to get him out before hypothermia sets in. (We had warmed the house as much as possible and such, but god he was shaking)

When we went to take it off though, all of the alginate pulled away from the plaster and ended up in a jiggly mess of crap. I'm pissed, Timber's traumatised... and now we have to do it again.

Advice on this PLEASE.

(now I'm off to clean what was once my kitchen. GUH.)


09 Jan 2009 - 22:339499
HEYA TABS ok i havent personally but if you could drop mangachild a email or pm on here he'll be happy to help you out and explain how he did his im sure, he made his one for tessei from ninja scroll and ive seent he headcast in person and its very cool so drop him a email hes the man you need!!!

09 Jan 2009 - 22:539501
Nert would also be a good person to ask.

Cara bell', cara mia bella, mia bambina, o ciel!

Sillabub Cosplay on Facebook
09 Jan 2009 - 23:069503
xareal as well

My english sucks because hablo espanol :O
09 Jan 2009 - 23:509510
my spider-xae senses were tingling...

i used herculite 2 plaster in an alginate headcast. it picks up an incredible amount of detail (which ironicly i went and covered right up with clay!) and sets pretty damn fast.

it wasn't horribly expensive from tomps, but the postage was a killer due to the weight. you're not going to get better plaster tho for head/bodycasts.

10 Jan 2009 - 00:249517
I've done several head/face casts so I'll give you the benefit of my experience in the hope that it will help. Bear with me this will be a long post.

Firstly, I would say it's best to access the reason you require the cast. There is no point doing a full face cast if all you require is a forehead prosthetic. Whole head casts are more expensive and can potentially be dangerous.

I have several casts myself; half face cast, a full face cast and a full head cast. Each was produced in that order as they increase with difficulty. For example, I made a half face cast because all I required was the mouth area to create the Joker make up - Jack Nickleson version. But over time I required the whole head cast for a head prosthetic - Dr Lazarus from Galaxy Quest. So only create a cast of what you require, it's good practice. A full face cast is a reasonable starting point. A full head cast is ambitious and has more potential to go wrong particularly if you have never done it before.

Right on to the actual creation of the cast. I'll describe it as though a full face cast were being made. The most important point is to ensure that you are working with someone you implicitly trust. The casting materials are covering the person's face and people as a general rule need to breath. You also have no idea how they will react when the material is poured on their face. Some are fine, others will panic in a seriously bad way, hence the trust issue. You have to be able to get the stuff off it there's a problem. In addition, amke sure that the person being cast is comfortable, this could take upto 2 hours. So i tend to either have them sitting or lying down.

The face needs to be prepared to aid the removal of the mould. The face should be clean and a light coating of a releasing agent, I have used vaseline in the past, applied over the face. Pay careful attention to applying on hair, such as the eyebrows and eyelashes, to prevent the casting material sticking and pulling them out.

To cast the face itself I use alignate as it's easy to use and gives very good detail. It comes in a powder form and mixes with water to form a paste of sorts that's rubbery to touch. It sets very quickly, around 5 mins, so the application on to the person needs to be quick. It may be worth experimenting first. The face now needs to be in a relaxed position for the application. When applying it to the face I tend to cover the nose over first and then get the person to blow out through their nostrils to remove the aliginate so they can breath. Doing this first means that their eyes are still uncovered and can put them more at ease. Also if there is a problem straight away there is less to remove. If the person is comfortable them apply the rest of the aliginate over the face, which is a strange experience. It should be obvious that the person being cast should really close their eyes at this point.

Once the alignate is on and set the mould needs to be reinforced. I use plaster bandages which I have cut in to strips beforehand. These are applied over the aliginate and allowed to dry. About three layers should be enough to hold the mould rigid.

Once dry, and it needs to be dry and hard otherwise the alignate mould could move around, the mould can be removed. The person under the cast can wiggle their face around and the materials should start to come away.

Alignate shrinks as it dries so the plaster should be poured in as soon as possible. I have used all sorts in the past. Alabaster plaster was ok, it's a soft plaster but it was good to pour in to the mould and I has it lying around. But whichever you decide to use it needs to be dripped in slowly first so no air bubbles become trapped and disfigure the case. Tilting the mould as a small quantity of plaster has been added helps to dispurse it. The alabaster plaster cast I did set overnight and then the alginate and plaster bandage were removed. Voila, one face cast.

I hope that's of some use. I've tried to be as concise as I can but it's difficult on a post.

Somehow it's reassuring knowing I'm not the only one pretending to be normal
10 Jan 2009 - 00:429518
I need a full head cast- full goblin prosthetic.

My main problem is that the plaster strips I used didn't adhere to the alginate at all, so when the cast was removed all the alginate fell away, leaving a plaster shell and a lump of alginate jelly.


10 Jan 2009 - 11:419519


But yes, plaster of paris is the stuff you need, or alpha plaster as what I picked up was called (from Tiranti.co.uk), it cures rather than dries which is what you need. Also you can just grab modrock from your local art stores - it's bandages covered in plaster of paris so you can kind of use it like papier mache strips. Although when we ran out we used normal bandages and just dipped them in the alpha plaster before slapping them on, worked just as well.

It gives off quite a bit of heat as it cures so while the rest of them will be cold in this weather the thing to be looking out for is it getting too hot on the head, though it really shouldn't be that bad, there's alginate in the way and the plaster will still be comparatively thin. It only got slightly uncomfortable for me literally as they'd finished doing a final layer of plaster on top and were about to crack it open.

For the alginate.. hard to say without seeing the actual results but it sounds like either it was too thin (and mine was only ~2-3mm thick), not mixed properly (needs to have no lumps, best to add the powder to the water rather than the other way around.. but this is hard when it sets so quick) or the finishing plaster did odd things to it.. probably the latter, if it wasn't drying it might've added too much water to the alginate below.. maybe.

Hope that's of any help

Edit: and yes, Phil explains it better than me

The alginate won't adhere to the plaster very well at all, that's on purpose, the plaster's only there to support it when you fill it.. though it shouldn't really just flop into jelly o.O

Last edited by nert (10 Jan 2009 - 11:46)
10 Jan 2009 - 12:239523
Quote Uber-Nerd:
I need a full head cast- full goblin prosthetic.

My main problem is that the plaster strips I used didn't adhere to the alginate at all, so when the cast was removed all the alginate fell away, leaving a plaster shell and a lump of alginate jelly.


this might help with the alginating side of things ;p


(far easier to post my source than type the whole lot out!)

10 Jan 2009 - 12:289524
As Nert said, plaster bandages will not adhere to alignate.

It is possible that the alignate was too thin as it sounds like there isn't enough to support itself and has just collapsed.

For a full head cast there needs to be a split running from ear to ear over the top of your head to allow the two halves of the cast to be removed. It's useful to put in a triangle shape somewhere on this line to allow the two halves to be joined together again.

All I can suggest is to tilt your head forward when removing the front part of the mould so the alignate stays within the plaster bandage case. Repeat when the back half being being taken off.

Good luck.

Somehow it's reassuring knowing I'm not the only one pretending to be normal
10 Jan 2009 - 12:559525
I followed Nerts guide and made my own head cast itd it worked really well

Here are a few additional pointers you might find useful

The average head cast needs about 5kg of paster of pairs and roughly 500g of alginite(leaving room for error)

The slow set alginaite sets very fast :O

Do not use Hot water with alginaite as it will set

Breathing through tubes isnt fun at all

A problem i had with my head cast once it was made and the plaster was set it was very clammy and plastercine had a job to stick to it, its even like this now i dont know if its bad plaster or poor mixing?

10 Jan 2009 - 18:579530
Ahh, now that's useful. I'd seen the tutorial on cosplay island before, but the other one is a big help.

I think it's a problem with the consistency of the alginate. Mine did have lumps in it- I was kind of scared to mix for a long amount of time because the first batch I tried set instantly, so the next time I panicked a lot.

The alginate may have also been too weak- how much water did you guys add to say 500g? I want to compare that.


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