In this Instructable you will learn how to make your own custom-fit set of pointed elf ear appliances from two-part silicone rubber, a non-porous material which can be glued, applied, removed, cleaned, and reused many, many times. I have been using the same pair for a few years now, so if you are attentive and careful, your ears could last indefinitely.
Edit: The silicone rubber I am using here is Douglas & Sturgess brand SR-1610. Smooth-on makes rubbers with comparable properties for their Dragon Skin line. Use the softest mixture available, with the least amount of color. One of the advantages of silicone is it's ability to scatter light and create a realistic flesh-like glow and be transparent enough to blend into real flesh.
I make my ears at TechShop.
Also works for: faeries, fairies, pixies, pillywiggins, goblins, hobgoblins, demons, leprechauns, gnomes, hobbits, nymphs, naiads, sylphs, satyrs, imps, demons, orks, vulcans, romulans, werewolves, na’vi
Step 1: Aquire:
-Plaster (I recommend Ultracal or another thin and extra-hard-setting mixture)
-Silicone rubber (soft and translucent)
-Clay (non-drying and sulfur-free)
-Silicone pigment or acrylic paint to match your human’s skin tone
-Spirit gum or medical adhesive
-A silicone-friendly release agent (here I am using Ease Release 200)
-Mixing cups and stir sticks
-2 large clamps
Step 2: Prepping Your Human
Cut out a hole in the bottom of a cup or bowl just big enough to fit one ear through. This will keep the alginate from running and will produce a stable and easily handled housing for the negative mold of your human’s ear. Sit your human comfortably with their head resting on its side and have them help hold the mold housing in place.
Step 3: On the Mixing of Alginate
Next, fill-in around the outside of the ear. The alginate will run to fill-in much of the area, but you need to build a thick layer around the top and outer edge of the lobe. Mix more alginate if necessary to create a stable mold which can hold its own shape without an ear inside.
In 15-20 minutes alginate will set to a semi-solid gelatinous consistency which will hold fine detail but will still be very wet to the touch.
Step 4: Release the Mold!
Mixing plaster is a similar process to mixing alginate, except that a more thorough mixing is required for optimum results. It is also harder to add water to a plaster mixture which is too dry. Start with the water and gradually add plaster. Ultracal generally works with a mixture of five parts plaster to two parts water. The final mixture will be thin and watery to capture extremely fine details, but too much water will produce a weak casting.
Pour the plaster into the negative mold. Be sure to shake or tap out air bubbles, as they will ruin your casting. The alginate is a one-time mold and you will have to destroy it to remove your plaster positive ear. Your plaster mold should overfloweth. Although the Ultracal will set in less than an hour, it is best to give it several hours to reach full hardness, especially with such thin shapes in the very wet negative alginate mold.
Step 5: Release the Mold (part II)
Step 6: Building the Elven Points
Step 7: Making the Production Mold
Here I am adding extra clay to cover almost every bit of the plaster that is not covered by the point extension. This will allow for an easy release of the plaster halves. I am using Ease Release 200 and some thin sheets of aluminum foil to better demarcate the two plaster halves (a plaster mold from a plaster mold can be a tricky separation.)
Step 8: Pouring the Silicone
Silicone rubber resists sticking to most non-silicone surfaces, even porous ones like plaster. I use a light spray of Ease Release 200. Too much will cause a loss in definition and will give the final appliance a slick, waxy finish, which will look more like a special effect than a real earlobe.
There is a similar issue here as with pouring the mold over the human’s natural ear. There are many places for air bubbles to hide and not an easy way to ensure an even pour. You must first coat every surface, the inside walls of the outer mold and the outside of the positive ear mold. It’s okay for some to overfow, there is actually no way to avoid that. You can trim it afterwards.
Put the back half of the outside mold into its place.
Immediately after applying a thick coat, place the front half of the outside mold on top. Clamp the parts together and turn upside down. If there are any air bubbles inside, this will ensure that they float to the back of the appliance where they will be less visible.