Head cast - low budget! (Self) - Original





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..

Cost breakdown
Plaster bandage kit £8
Car body filler £10
DIY filler £2
Wooden base offcuts


Alyx posted on 29 September, 2010 - 16:31
Wow! Bravo hun! Very brave.

Ranma1-2 posted on 29 September, 2010 - 18:01
Thanks Alyx. When the full casting is completed you will see how it relates to the Darth Maul cosplay. :)

Captain_Marvelous posted on 30 September, 2010 - 08:29
YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSS! Im gonna swear now FUUUUCK! IVE NEEDED A CHEAP HEADCAST OPTION FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks so much! Green Lantern masks ahoy!

Ranma1-2 posted on 30 September, 2010 - 09:02
:D :D :D Hang on it isn't finished yet..what if it turns out rubbish!? ..nah lets face it, that aint gonna happen, I wont let it! :P Ok a lil update. I put the dried mould back on my head and carefully drilled some location holes through the two layers of flange to keep the two halves registered. And I've layered some more filler around the flange, it's drying by the heater at the mo. If this dries fast enough I should be able to start the actual cast and see what I've got later today. :)

Alyx posted on 30 September, 2010 - 09:39

Captain_Marvelous posted on 30 September, 2010 - 10:01
I actually cant wait ^^ what is it you need this for?! :P

Ranma1-2 posted on 30 September, 2010 - 10:58
LOTS of things. ^_^ First off I am going to use it to sculpt my Darth Maul horns on, to get proportions and positions right. Then I want to make some kind of thin template to help me locate the horns on my head when it comes to glueing them on. I imagine something like a semi rigid bald cap with holes in it where the horns will locate through. Also want to make a similar thing to go on my face, like a face painting stencil.. to help me paint the face markings on a lot faster. After Darth Maul I can use it to make some interesting custom made latex face masks/prosthetics. Might sound ambitious but I want to see if I can sculpt a different face onto my head cast using bits of modelling clay, and then re cast latex mask from that. eg Arnie. I'd love to try a Terminator, if I could do it justice... Also, When I come to things like hard masks/helmets I can build the foam etc around the head cast and know they will be a comfortable fit. eg C3PO would be awesome and I could make sure the eye lines match up so I can see out as much as poss. Ohhhh yeah! I think a head cast will be a HUGE resource. So that's why I decided to make one up. Once it's done it should last a lifetime of cosplays. :)

Captain_Marvelous posted on 30 September, 2010 - 11:05
will be invaluable for doing the Star Saphire headpeice, its what all my friends use for it, and those that dont have wonky head peices XD

ryaoki posted on 30 September, 2010 - 11:10
your a genious my brummie friend, anakins actual outfit is on hold for the moment because of funds, but means i can finish the armours!!!

Ranma1-2 posted on 30 September, 2010 - 11:43
Yep Star Saphire = another good use. And another superhero(ine) mask I'm thinking about. :P Reiss - No bailing! - even if your nakid your going on stage with me. ^_^

No thanks posted on 30 September, 2010 - 11:46
Oh WOW! xD even though its low budget your doing a terrific job!<3 haha i'd never dream of doing something like that cause i'd mess it up xDD Can't wait to see what you do with this to get darth maul o3o

FairyPorchQueen posted on 30 September, 2010 - 14:29
wow what an amasing idea!! good luck! :D i remember casting someone face in college, and haveing to put a straw a lil way up thier nose holes lol scary stuff.

ryaoki posted on 30 September, 2010 - 15:20
dont worry, i CANNOT let you down again big bad steve, youve been so good with me and gave me so much leeway!

Youkai-Neko posted on 30 September, 2010 - 16:30
omg!!! this is amazing! I've needed something like this for eons! good luck to you ^0^

Ranma1-2 posted on 30 September, 2010 - 22:30
Thanks for your comments guys. ^_^ I made a lil more progress today.. Started laying up inside the mould. Because I want my head cast to have a tough exterior I layed the first 'skin' coat inside the mould using car body filler - p38, Isopon, etc type stuff. I got mine from Halfords. It's a putty filler which you mix a hardener paste into and then it sets hard after about 10 mins. It's pretty smelly stuff whilst it is setting so it's staying in the shed untill tommorow. I will bulk out the casting with more plain filler. Then hopefully I will be able to pop the head cast out of the mould and see how it has turned out. dun dun duuuuun...

Anime_Angel posted on 30 September, 2010 - 22:48
I used similar stuff for my Rick Tailor Mask for my Splatterhouse cosplay^__^ I just need to glue it onto my cheap Friday 13th mask and is completed^_^ but yeah, that mould will serve you well in the future^__^

callmemilo posted on 20 October, 2010 - 23:36
bloody impressive dude.... looking forward to seeing what you make using this beauty

Ranma1-2 posted on 20 October, 2010 - 23:42
Callmemilo - Thanks mate, Oh I've got LOTS of ambitious ideas! You'll have to wait and see. ;) First though it will help me make up a set of prosthetic horns for Darth maul. :)

Yuka posted on 20 October, 2010 - 23:57
This is seriously cool. Thank you for sharing this with us :D

ryaoki posted on 21 October, 2010 - 00:31
I LOVE IT i think i will use this tutorial buddy, and oh the golden bull is that way!!

Ranma1-2 posted on 21 October, 2010 - 08:15
Yuka - You think so? Thanks. I hope it is helpful to others who want to try. :) Ryoaki - sssank you Comrade. :P

Captain_Marvelous posted on 21 October, 2010 - 10:03
ALWAYS VASELINE THE MOULD! Rule numero uno for pulling anything! XD it looks FANTASTIC!

Ranma1-2 posted on 21 October, 2010 - 12:59
Yes! ^^ I thought a quick spray of mould release would be ok..but it must have soaked straight into the plaster mould. Next time I will use Vaseline for sure. :) Cheers Luke. I'll do another pic when it has been primer coated.

Captain_Marvelous posted on 21 October, 2010 - 13:58
The problem with the spray mould release stuff is that it says its good for plaster but it pretty much means like resin/latex moulds, even then I always base vaseline, even a small coat is great XD but that said its a fuckin radical mould, really turned out great ^^

KhaosKreator posted on 21 October, 2010 - 18:06
Your head looks so pretty!

Ranma1-2 posted on 21 October, 2010 - 22:45
Ryuk - yes I bought the spray release agent for resin moulds really. But I haven't got around to experimenting with resin casting yet. I was just hoping it would work magically on the plaster too. Well now I know different. I must say I'm pretty impressed with what the plaster casting is capable of, and I love the fact you just add water and it sets in minutes. Since I've gota huge bag of the stuff now I will defo do some more stuff with it. :)

Ranma1-2 posted on 21 October, 2010 - 22:45
Tab - Aww, you think so? Thanks ^^ ..It won't look so pretty after I've Darth Maulified it though. :P Gosh he's so gnarly. Why did I want to cosplay him again?.. Oh yeah I get to look surly all day and spin a double light saber around. How cool is that! :P Actually ya know the costume is turning out really nicely and it feels like I'm wearing really nice quality clothing when I put it on. I think Maul actually has a bit of style to him. It's taking a lot of work though.

Amy-Lou posted on 22 October, 2010 - 09:54
This is so interesting, thanks for posting it!

Ranma1-2 posted on 22 October, 2010 - 15:15
Amy-Lou - ^_^ you're welcome.

Joshua posted on 24 November, 2010 - 15:35
That's pretty impressive.

theKillingDoll posted on 24 November, 2010 - 15:42
Your head cast has come out really well!

Ranma1-2 posted on 24 November, 2010 - 15:50
Cheers! It has been worked on after the casting, I won't kid you, but yeah I am really pleased with the result. Best of all, I can now make my custom prosthetics. Every cosplayer should have one. :D

FairyPorchQueen posted on 17 December, 2010 - 14:21
Fantastic! Great help, i have to do myself one of these!

Captain_Marvelous posted on 16 February, 2012 - 12:47
OMG! amazing! that will show those expensive jonnies spending hunderds of pounds on a head cast! well done!

Ranma1-2 posted on 17 February, 2012 - 01:01
Thanks ^^ Yep really excited to get sculpting onto this and doing all sorts of prosthetics.

Progress Journal

24th November 2010

Stage 11

Pic taken during final knifing putty application. After it dried I sanded the surface nice and smooth.
I have also carved out some indents eg nostrils, and around the eye sockets. It's a shame the eye detail isn't better - but I had put small clingfilm covers over my eylids during the mould process to make sure my eyelashes didnt get stuck in the plaster..also of course my eyese were closed during the process.
I will have a go at sculpting the eye detail a bit better into my head cast.
Otherwise though it is good to go with my head prosthetic projects.

1st stop Darth Maul horns..

20th October 2010

Stage 10

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.
Now that the head cast has been mounted on a supprot stand it is looking more like one of those makeup dummys (a little less freaky!).

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.
The cast has now been left alone for the knifing putty to completely dry.

9th October 2010

Stage 9

Finally got some Plaster of Paris and so I could back up the casting. I didn&#039;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&#039;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. :)
So this is how it looks now. It&#039;s a bit freeky looking at a cast of your own head! Next stage I will smooth and refine it a little...

2nd October 2010

Stage 8

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 &#039;skin&#039; 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.

2nd October 2010

Stage 7

Because I want the outer surface of my head cast to be very tough I decided to use car body filler as the first &#039;skin&#039; 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&#039;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.

2nd October 2010

Stage 6

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.
I decided to layer some more filler around the flanges to strengthen them. The moulds were then left to dry again by the heater.

2nd October 2010

Stage 5

Here are the two parts of the mould just drying out. You can also see the mess on the table (oopse).
The insides of the mould are pretty good, but I will fill some crags with polyfiller which have been left behind where the plaster bandages folded over. And also add some more polyfiller onto the outside to give it more strength.

2nd October 2010

Stage 4

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.
Then after about 10 mins I gently prised the front mask part off - it seemed to unstick almost on its own just by moving my cheeks.
Hard part over.

2nd October 2010

Stage 3

Stage 3

Next I started covering the front.
At this stage the strengthening strip was removed because the plaster behind is now holding the flange rigid.
Last to be covered over would be my nose and then eyes

2nd October 2010

Stage 2

Stage 2

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.

2nd October 2010

Stage 1

Stage 1
First I cut out a silhouette of my head from cardboard (cereal packet) and trimmed it down to make a flange which fits all the way around my head. I then cut a long strip of cardboard and selotaped it onto the flange to hold it rigid during this first part. (ie the strengthening strip is only temporary for this part).

2nd October 2010

Plaster face mould,mask kit

This is the stuff I used. I chose it because it said suitable for faces. Bought from craftybee.co.uk £6 plus p&p