Sunday, 28 July 2013

A little test...

Well heeeello! How are we all enjoying this fine summer huh? If you're in the UK, you're probably not.  It's hellish, so it's time to hold up in the basement flat where it's nice and cool and buckle down to some work. I'm currently in the process of moving house and as such, the production here has had to take a back seat for a few days, but I'm still trying to use what little time I have to get things done.

This week I made my first ever mould. The Haunt's puppets will require push moulds to be made so that I can keep the replacement mouths consistant and so the, god forbid, I should squish Clara's face, I can just cast another :)

Some of you over on my instagram feed - @joshjobrien were asking me about the process, so I thought for this weeks blog post, I'd throw together  a rough and ready process study of how to make a two part plaster mould.

Check it out! -

So first off, we need a postive model to mould. For this I'm going to use the first maquette I made of Clara. It's a good sculpt that captures her design very closely. Anyway, I sculpted her from plasticine originally and over time she's gotten bashed and beaten a little, so I cleaned her up and set to work making her a more permanent fixture.

1. So we take our finished sculpt and break her down to a moudable form.

- We take back the hair, ears and eyebrows (they could of stayed for this exercise but it was funnier to see her without them). This creates an easier form on which to create a seamline for the two part mould (so called because we will end up with two parts. A top and a bottom.)

The idea moving forward is to mould the sculpt into two haves, the top with the face detail and the bottom, or back of the head. That way we will have two halves that can be separated to release the sculpt from within.

If you're confused, hopefully all will become clear as we go along.
2. With Clara all ready to go, we do what's called 'laying up'. This process is where we lay our sculpt on a flat base (as we're about to build a box around her, and it needs a solid bottom. Hehe... Bottom)

Then we add clay material (I used plasticine) around the model, creating a water tight seam around her about half way up. What we're effectively doing is cutting her in half with clay, so that only one half is exposed.
 3. Next we build up the rest of the box that will hold the plaster around our sculpt.

I've used foam board here as it's quick, cheap and easy to cut to size.

It's then pushed in against the clay and that connection between the clay and the boards then filled to make the seams watertight.

These are also hot glued together and to the base to make it solid as a rock!
4. This bit's fun! Mix up the plaster as per the packets instructions and pour into the mould.

Leave for about an hour to cure, and harden. The temperature of the environment will effect how quickly the plaster will dry as well.
5. Once cured, tear the foam board away to release the mould.

Remove the clay that we used to lay up the sculpt.
 6. Now we build up our box again on the back side and re-seal all the seams.
 7.  Once cured on the second half, release the mould!
 8. Finally, pry apart the two halves of the mould, taking care not to break it, and release the sculpt from the mould!

 And no mould is complete without the first cast. Now, the reason I moulded this particular sculpt was so that I could cast it in something more substantial and hard wearing than plasticine, so I took a push casting (which entails pushing clay into both sides of the mould and squeezing the two halfs together. Rather than a traditional casting using a liquid casting material which is pour into the mould and left to set.) using polymer clay, in this case super sculpey mixed with black fimo to give it some tone. I can then bake this to create a hard, clean replica of our original soft sculpt!

You can see the results of this little test on the picture on the right, along side the original sculpt. All in all, for my first mould it was quite successful. The mould had a few air bubbles appear in awkward places and I learnt alot to take forward for the next one!

So what next?

Well I'm going to take another casting from this mould and polish and adjust it to make a new master sculpt of what will be the end puppet. I will then mould that sculpt and produce the fully working puppet head for Clara's puppet.

But of course I'll be documenting that too so stay tuned. As always, thanks for dropping by, if you have any questions or something in here is unclear, don't hesitate to get in touch; I'll help anyway I can.