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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:28 pm 
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OK - every year about this time I get emails and phone calls from friends, family, and acquaintances on how to do prosthetic make-up. Well, after a few discussions this week, I figure everyone here should have some insight on how to make themselves, friends, or kids into an EotB Doctor/Nurse or one of the Masks from same said episode.

1) Equipment Needed:

Some of you may have easier access to these items depending upon where you live. But everything should be readily available over the counter.

Dental Alginate - you know the stuff the cast molds of your teeth with. You can typically acquire this through a dental supply house. When you investigate, ask if they have any expired alginate mix. Typically they will sell you a pound for about $5~$10 bucks to get it out of their stock. If they don't have any expired, it's about $25.00. If you can get it in plain unflavored - that is the best. 2nd choice is Cherry. Lastly would be mint. Since this is going on skin, the mint may be a little irritating to the skin. Typically a pond per cast is required, but if you plan on making a few in case you mess up, a nice 5 lb container will do just fine.

Casting Bandages with cement. This is the rolls of gauze that has quick drying cement already mixed in it.

Vaseline or Mineral Oil. You will need this to cover any exposed hair, eye brows, mustache, eye lashes. I prefer mineral oil because it can be applied with a model paint brush and can be acquired at most 99 cent stores. You need just a light coat to prevent adhesion.

Shower Cap/Cellophane: Used to protect the hair from alginate. Again, add a little lube to the seams to prevent sticking and over-splatter.

Plastic mixing Bowl and Plastic Spatula. Used to mix the alginate and casting plaster.

Latex Gloves for Mixing and handling materials.

Ultra-Cal or Dental Stone. You can get both from hardware or dental supply. The dental stone shrinks when it dries but is better than plaster of paris. Ultra-Cal is quick drying cement - it has several names - but will dry in less than 15 minutes and chemically heats to cure. {This is part of the last process but is crucial to have both a good quantity and quality.}

Liquid Latex - Large bottle. Needed to make the final mask.

Soft Modeling Clay.

Tissue Paper.

Various round brushes for large and gentle areas.

Fine sand paper or rasp files.

Fiberglass webbing - the little yellow rolls you can find at hardware stores.

Assorted make-up or latex paint depending upon your preference.

Castor Oil and translucent powder. Needed for pre and post make-up application.

Plastic Tarps, newspaper's, etc to keep work area clean.

A Comfortable chair for castee and a barstool or equal for you to sit on.


2) The Casting process:

I recommend having a mixing assistant handy to mix alginate while you apply, but if you are organized, it shouldn't matter. Prep your casting bandages by cutting them into 6 inch strips and roll them inst ready to use scrolls. About 15 ~ 20 is needed. Cut 4 ~ 6 2" strips for the eyes and nose area.

Have your subject thoroughly wash their face with soap and warm water. The warm water opens the pores and allows better casting. Pat dry their face to remove moister but don't rub. Rubbing irritates the skin. Also, the alginate works as a cleansing mask. Most women are use to it and find it refreshing.

OK, have your [s]victim[/s] subject sit in the chair with a towel or cloth around their chest.

Place shower cap over their hair and ears and apply mineral oil to seams and facial hair.

Make sure they are comfortable and have them rest their head back looking at the sky.

Mix alginate as per instructions - usually a 1/2 water & 1/2 powder blend. Keep the water cool!!!! alginate sets up quickly in temps above 74º degrees. Mix until smooth in consistency. Begin to apply to subjects face. Before you cover nose and mouth, notify them to take a deep breath and explain when you tell them to, exhale through their nose hard. This will open up the nostrils and allow them to breath. Some may tell you to place straws in their nose, but this is both uncomfortable and may damage the casting. A brisk nasal exhale will work perfectly fine even for the claustrophobic.

If you need to mix more alginate, do so but be quick. Solid alginate and fresh alginate will leave seams.

Once subject face is covered and alginate has solidified {typically around 10 minutes} - take the casting strips, dip them in warm water, squeeze out the extra water and begin to place on top of the alginate. This process is fairly quick and easy. Make sure that entirety of alginate is covered and wait for casting to cure - again around 10 ~ 20 minutes depending upon room temp. {Note: Don't cover the nostrils with the bandages either.}

Once everything is set and strong, gently guide the subject upright as you hold the alginate and casting bandages for support. Have the subject move their facial muscles to loosen the alginate and gently lower their body forward so that the cast falls downward. It should slide off clean without tears or sticking. Set the casting in a safe area while you mix cement or dental stone.

Now, mix a small batch of the cement and tap the sides of the bowl to eliminate the air pockets and bubbles that are in the mixture. This will also help make sure that now unmixed powder is left. I typically place the mask and bandages face down in a box with packing peanuts to add support without pressure to the sides or face. With a nice round brush gently brush a thin layer onto the alginate. Cover the alginate lightly making sure none is left exposed and no cement builds up in one area too heavily. Let it dry. Mix another batch and repeat twice more. Now you should have a good base free of clumps and air bubbles.

Cut a few strips of the yellow fiberglass webbings and gently adhere them into the inside using a brush and cement mixture. This will work as a cast to keep the cement strong. Don't go too heavy, just enough to hold the webbing in place and allow to set and cure.

Mix one last batch of cement and pour into casting. Grip the mask and slosh it around to completely layer the inside and the webbing. Clean up your area while you allow it to dry. Once hard, remove from the box and place cavity side down on a workbench. The bandages should lift off and the alginate can be torn away to reveal the perfect casting. Any imperfections can be cleaned up with sand paper or rasp.

The Build Up:

Now comes the modeling clay build up phase. Use the clay to fatten lips, nose, forehead, etc. If you look at William Tuttle's work in TZ, these are the key areas of build up he concentrated on. Take your time. relax and make sure the your edges are smooth a thin. Modeling clay is fairly forgiving and won't harden in room temp. Once you have the design the way you want it, now we come to the choice of full mask or prosthetic pieces.

A Mask:

Apply a light layer of mineral oil to cement and clay so latex wont stick to it. Apply a layer of latex to casting with brush. allow to set up or hurry process along with hair dryer. Take the tissue paper and tear it so it no longer has any straight edges. Attach the tissue paper to latex and cover with another layer of latex as you apply tissue. Small pieces of tissue that overlap work best. Again, use hair dryer to speeden process. Once tissue paper phase has been completed and dried, add another slightly heavier layer of latex to casting. Allow to dry. Once completed, you should have about a 1/16 ~ 1/8" thick mask. Gently remove from casting and inspect for tears or rips. If any are present, fix with tissue and latex. Once it looks clean, apply a light layer of caster oil to seal latex and make it receptive of make-up. If you are going to use and air-brush and/or paint, you can skip and go to town adding colors. Apply translucent powder to keep from drying and cracking.

To make individual pieces, follow the same steps as mask but make as individual nose piece, lips, forehead, etc. Individual pieces allow for facial articulation and moving joints. Clean up any rough edges with exacto blade or scissors. To eliminate seams, make fan outs that extend past edges of buildup by a 1/4" to adhere to face and help hide seams. Apply make-up or paint as you would with mask. Use translucent powder to make-up to that it doesn't stay wet and smear.

Applying:

Attach pieces to subject with latex or spirit gum. Spirit gum lasts longer but is more painful to clean up. Latex is fairly painless and can be a reused as the night goes on. It also allows the skin to breath and sweat whereas the spirit gum doesn't. Again, apply to clean skin with latex and on cool setting, use hair dryer to speed up drying. Use make up to blend seams. Use translucent powder to make-up to that it doesn't stay wet and smear.

There you go. Now, you can always alginate cast the build up and have a permanent stone cast of it as well. If you do it for your kids, it's better than photos - you have life casts of them at different ages. If you are careful, you can preserve the pieces and reuse. This is really helpful if you are doing Costume Contests at bars, clubs, etc.

Yes, you can add detail scars and wrinkles either in the clay build-up or during the latex and tissue phase. Small details are best in tissue whereas deep gashes, punctures, etc are best in clay. Experiment and I know you will find additional effects to add to this base process.

DrM


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:16 am 
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Nice info, DrMoreau. Sounds too simple, then again, it may be me whose too simple. I'll have to try this for some Klingon or other science fiction stuff.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:43 pm 
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A face casting and clay can be made into anything. Half the fun is trying, PJ.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:47 pm 
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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:14 pm 
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I cant believe there arent any Twilight Zone Halloween themed episodes...or is there?


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