Monday, September 30, 2013

Making a Mask

The first Halloween project I would like to show is from 2012 (last year) and is probably the most successful and the most professional of all the halloween costumes we have made. The project was a silicone rubber mask of the character: the Red Skull, the villain in the movie "Captain America: the First Avenger". Here are some pictures of Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving, from the movie....

And here he is next to captain america

We had actually tried it the year before (2011) though the end result was not worthy of mention so, now that we had some experience, I decided to start over with a better sculpt and better everything else.

One of the problems previously was making sure that the sculpt was the same size as my head (I had just freehanded the sculpt before) so that the mask would be big enough. The first try had resulted in a mask that wasn't really big enough so I had to do it right for the new one. The way to ensure a perfect size was to make a mold of my own face, using a simple technique. I had my brother wrap my face with Plaster strips to make a close fitting "plaster skin" the same size as my head. I covered my hair with plastic wrap to make sure it didn't stick and then waited for the plaster strips to dry. Then the back half was cut off so I could pull each half off my face. The result was a decent, form fitting face mold that I could then use to shape the clay sculpt.

The next step to making the mask was to sculpt it out of clay, which probably took about a week to do (I don't remember exactly since this was a year ago). I used oil based Plasticina clay build up over a  styrofoam head. This time it was an accurate size because I pressed the clay into the plaster strip mold of my face.

Above is a progress sculpting picture and below is the final sculpt (I forgot to take better pictures), being prepared for the plaster mold. I stuck a separating wall, made of some pieces of plastic, into the clay it to separate the front and back half. Then I had to stick blocks under the wall so it could support the weight of the plaster on top.

Here is the final mold of plaster layered around the clay. I used burlap pieces in between the layers to strengthen the plaster. I also used vaseline as mold release to separate the two halves of the mold. Then The mold was pried apart ( you have to be very careful doing this so the mold is not broken) and then the clay sculpt was removed. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of these steps, but hopefully you get the idea.

Finally the mold was ready to be used for casting. It was my first time using silicone so it was a bit of an experiment and the silicone was difficult to spread evenly. On the left here is the the first silicone casting from the mold, obviously it was too thin and ripped easily so I would have to try again. I was still encouraged by the result though because of it's snug fit and flexibility. So I recast it with some more silicone, this time spreading it thicker with more layers. The result is on the right here and is even better than I hoped it would be! It had a nice, solid feel to it and could support the shape of the features.

The seam was of course not perfect but with some trimming and patching up it was easily fixed. I tried it on and it looked great! The mouth moved well but the eyeholes still needed to be cut bigger.

Now the only step left was to paint it. The problem was that at this point it was already October 31 so the painting had to be rushed and I used some red spray paint which ended up peeling off until the red was all a mess. Anyway, it still survived most of the night and I was able to scare some trick or treaters pretty good. It turned out to be a great first attempt for a homemade rubber mask though and I was very pleased with it. However, after a year now, it has had some wear and tear and unfortunately the silicone was not really very strong or tear resistant so the whole back has torn now and I will have to recast it this year.

Welcome to HalloweenWorks

HalloweenWorks is the new sub-branch of our blog WrightWorks, Which you can find by clicking this link The purpose of this blog is to display various projects and creations made for halloween by me and my twin brother. We have always had a love for making halloween costumes and prop decorations and have several years of experience and experimentation with creating spooky and fun halloween decorations and costumes, and they get better every year! We want to share our halloween experience with other holiday ghouls and enthusiasts out there and both teach and hopefully learn more about making the best Halloween stuff we can! So beginning now we will post what we have whenever October comes around.