latex appliances

Discussion in 'Historical Re-enactment' started by The Man from Niefldarth, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. The Man from Niefldarth

    The Man from Niefldarth your worst nightmare!

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    do you make latex appliances? if so, could you give me sculpting, casting and other advices? i'm a beginner and I want to expand my knowledge.
     
  2. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Gandalf freak and SW fan

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    I have only made a few sets of small horns that I have had attached to my forehead. They were made from hard rubber, not the soft foam that professionals use.
    First I sculpted each type in a oil-based clay. Then I put the sculpt inside a cardboard box and poured
    plaster over it. Drop it on the table a few times before it is cured to let bubbles in the mold float to the surface. Then the plaster had cured, the clay was removed and any residues cleaned away I had a mold.

    For each horn, I brushed a few layers of slush latex inside the mold, letting each layer dry for at least an hour or two. The more layers the thicker it will be. The trick is to use thin layers and let each layer dry before applying the next one. If you do it in layers, you could make a few of them each day. If you had poured all the latex into the mold at once then each cast would take weeks to dry.

    You can color the appliances by having some acrylic paint mixed in the latex. You do not need much. If you use very little, the result will be a little bit translucent.
    Paint the appliances with a half-half latex/acrylic mix, or use half pros-aide and half acrylic.
    Make sure that the brand you use works with latex, or you will have cracking. There are no problems with most brands though.
    Latex is white when wet and transparent when dry, so if you are going to mix from several cans of paint you should do so before you pour it into the latex.

    The horns were applied using "spirit gum" (Mastix). It becomes brittle after a few hours when subjected to sweat, but you should also get a remover. There are compounds that can cover edges, but I don't know them well.

    Important Tips:
    Always use good ventilation with latex as it is dissolved in ammonia.
    Brushes do not last very long with latex. I use cheap q-tips or just my fingers to brush it inside the mold. (could cause irritation!)
    Do not spill on clothing! It is impossible to remove. Latex on a hard floor or a table is no problem though - peels right off.
    Latex shrinks a little bit so do not sculpt anything to fit inside anything.
    Use talcum powder to keep the casts from sticking.
    Don't rush things. Be patient. Do something else while the latex dries. :)

    There are some ready-made appliances available in costuming shops, such as elf ears, big noses etc. In that case all you need from my post is the section about spirit gum. :)

    Good luck!
     
  3. doleniel

    doleniel Elven High Priestess

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    I personally have never done prosthetics because my parents have vetoed the idea, but there are some good ersources online. In the "makeup and masks" section of www.costumes.org there are some links to sites about making latex molds of ones face and such, so you should be able to find some good info there. If you want instructions for LOTR specific prosthetics, there is some good stuff here.
     
  4. Dark Lord Sauron

    Dark Lord Sauron Lord of Middle Earth

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    I do not make foam latex appliances, but I am having some made for my Professor Snape costume :) There are a lot of good resources online. If you want to get started, I would suggest http://www.monstermakers.com/; they have some "beginners" kits. From what I have read, it sounds rather laborious. Oh, I am having my face cast tonight to begin the process! Hurray!