Picture of Beard of Bees Costume
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This Halloween I decided to make a faux beard of bees, Here is what I did.
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Step 1: Building The Mold

Picture of Building The Mold
First I made a template to find out the size of my face using a piece of paper, i just held it up and drew the shape of a beard around my face.

Using the template as a guide I made a mold from foamcore.  I glued the pieces together with hot glue and covered the mold with papier-mâché to add rigidity. I made sure the mold had a lip around the perimeter.

Step 2: Preparing the Mold

Picture of Preparing the Mold
Next I filled the mold with white modelling clay about a half inch thick all around.

Step 3: Making the Stamps

Picture of Making the Stamps
I made three bee shaped stamps which I would use to imprint the clay in the mold.  These were made from sculpey polymer clay and baked for 15 minutes at 130 °F to harden them.

Step 4: Imprinting the Mold

Picture of Imprinting the Mold
I used the stamps to imprint the bee shapes into the clay filled mold.  I used 3 stamps so that there would be less distortion in the clay around the imprints I had already made.  I slowly made my way around the mold varying the depth of the imprints.  

Step 5: Casting the Latex

Picture of Casting the Latex
I used liquid latex from the art store to cast the beard.   I carefully brushed the latex into the mold in thin layers using a hobby brush I got at the dollar store. I decided to do 20 layers so that the beard would be quite strong and tear resistant.  Each layer took a few hours to dry. It is important to have as few air bubbles in the latex as possible you can use a hair dryer or blow through a straw to pop any persistent bubbles.
wannabemadsci2 months ago

Just amazing. Great detail in execution and in explanation.

foxconnmold8 months ago

Too cool!Very good

Bryan Smith2 years ago
Bravo! Very nice and original.
teruko2 years ago
How long did it take you to make your beard?
nsnip (author)  teruko2 years ago
It took around a month from start to finish including materials testing and design. It's difficult to estimate the exact hours of working time. Waiting for the latex to dry between each coats was the most time consuming part, but also the easiest ;)
teruko2 years ago
Quite possibly the best thing ever made by human hands.
That bee stamp you made has such amazing, realistic detail! Bravo!
pjkumpon2 years ago
This is so awesome on so many levels
nsnip (author)  pjkumpon2 years ago
Thank you!
Ballyman2 years ago
Lots of work and attention to detail!
nsnip (author)  Ballyman2 years ago
turbobug2 years ago
good job, the bees look on the big side what reactions did you get?
nsnip (author)  turbobug2 years ago
Thanks, I made the bees larger than life for two reasons. I thought larger bees would be more recognizable and the bigger the bees the less time I had to spend painting and gluing wings.
poofrabbit2 years ago
Wow this is awesome, what a clever idea!!
nsnip (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
How cool!!!! Points for most original, as far as I have seen!
nsnip (author)  stringstretcher2 years ago
Thank You!
kcli2 years ago
Too cool! As a beekeeper I wanna try this next year. You got my vote ;-)
That is so detailed. Amazing work! :D
nsnip (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thank you very much!
stevie32 years ago
That is AWESOME! You've just given me ideas for several projects. Thank you for the detailed work. WOW! Awesome!
nsnip (author)  stevie32 years ago
I can't wait to see your projects!
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Ha! Well done, sir!
nsnip (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Thank you!
At first glance I thought it was the real thing. I especially love the hero bees, but the whole thing is awesome.
nsnip (author)  Dominic Bender2 years ago
ceanes2 years ago
wonderfull, piece of art
nsnip (author)  ceanes2 years ago
awesome work! gotta ask though... why? what was your inspiration?
nsnip (author)  desertsniper2 years ago
Thanks, I think a beard of bees is a hilarious costume.
This is so awesome! You did a beautiful job on painting those bees realistically!

I probably won't make the bee thing but I might have to borrow your latex/molding technique! haha
nsnip (author)  Julianne fights Dragons!2 years ago
Thank You!