Instructables
Picture of Encase Your Friends in Carbonite
A while back a friend of mine asked me if I could help him build a replica of Han Solo encased in carbonite to hang on the wall in his basement bar (which he'd themed to look like the throne room of Jabba the Hutt).  So I told him I'd look into it and see what's involved.  While I was sitting in the cafe one morning, poring over photos of the original prop, my friend Jenny wandered in and asked what I was doing.  

So I told her.

"Can you really make that?" she asks.

"Sure," says I, "it's actually not such a big deal."

"Does it have to be Han Solo?" says she.

"No," I replied, "it's actually easier if it's someone who can come into the workshop for lifecasting.  That'll save me the trouble of finding or sculpting a copy of Harrison Ford's face."

"What if it was me?" says she.

The conversation ended with her gleefully agreeing to come to the workshop and put in all of the labor and pay for all of the materials required to make the project possible.  My role was to provide parts and technical advice.

Here's a picture of the finished product.  For more information on how it was made, read on...  
     
 
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cossiegirl1 year ago
Great project, but you shouldn't use straws in the nose, although unlikely think what would happen if you knocked a straw up the nose. As a FX artist and Association of Life Casters International member I always see where there could be a potential health and safety problem. Even the best in the FX world make sure to have an assistant for facial lifecasts, someone whose only job is to keep the nostrils clear, another hint is to make sure you arrange hand signals with your model so you can check as you go along that they are still OK. Dental alginate is great but people with sensitive skin may have a reaction to the menthol thats added so its better to use something like Mouldlife alginate or Tiranti's as these have nothing perfumed added.
thorssoli (author)  cossiegirl1 year ago
We had the top end of the straws pretty thoroughly wrapped with gauze to make sure it wasn't going anywhere, but I see your concern.

Also, I neglected to mention it, but we had a couple of emergency signals worked out in advance. For calmer, more nuanced communications, I had her close her eyes and try writing with a paper and pencil before we started. Turns out she could write legibly while blinded, so she had a clipboard and pencil on her lap throughout the face casting process.
Cool, I did see that but just wanted to mention it for anyone who has never done it before - i'm of the mind that if you think of anything that can go wrong even the most unlikely things and plan for it, it will never be a problem.

That's great as well that you thought of your models safety and did hand signals/blind writing.

And I really do love the project :)
nintenbro6424 days ago
This is awesome, great job!

this is going to be one of the first projects I do when I get to college this fall lol

gonna be epic

(this should have posted a hour ago but I got logged out somehow and didnt notice :P)

GL18812 months ago

This is fantastic and I look forward to making one myself. Someone as lovely as Jenny needs to be immortalized in carbonite :)

mino200310 months ago
do another for me but with the real han solo :)
Grunambulax10 months ago
Has to be one of the best Instructable of all time. Genius. Live how you painted it. Looks so industrial!
makinitcheap11 months ago
What brand of resin did you use? I am new to lifecasting and I heard that some resins can bubble in an alginate mold.
Wow. Just wow.
sway11 months ago
This is undoubtedly, one of the coolest instructables I've ever seen but, I have one problem with it. According to the flicker photo stream on this project, it was done from 11/21/12 to 12/29/12. It seems unfair to have it in a "weekend projects" contest if it took a month (5 weeks actually) to make.
thorssoli (author)  sway11 months ago
The only reason it took that long is because I had Jenny doing the labor herself. She'd come by for a few hours on a weeknight, disappear for three weeks, then come by for a few more hours, then disappear for a while.

Every time she'd stop by, I'd spend half an hour explaining what needed to be done, another hour watching to make sure she didn't set fire to my workshop, and over the course of the next two hours she'd get about half an hour's worth of work done.

Starting on a Friday evening with all of the raw materials on hand, I have no doubt that a reasonably skilled helper and I could remake this project by that Sunday night.
Eh Lie Us!11 months ago
Giggly jokes. You had to go there... You model seemed to enjoy the process. I find it nice when people participate with the 'expert' to create something. A lot more pride in the finished project. Not sure about the smiling face on the final. Isn't it hilarious to be cast in Carbonite?
Man, what a project. The ending color is fantastic. I'm going to follow your work, ey!
pbilling11 months ago
Here is a UNIQUE CHALLANGE for you creative types! Here is the goal, How do I accomplish it?: My husband wants a "custom" Figurehead of me to put on the bow of our boat. I was thinking of trying to contact some wood carver, but this posting gave me some ideas. How could I get a face/bust replica that would be permanent and hold up sailing in high seas? Thanks in advance for any ideas and leads...
fretted12 months ago
That is awesome but what would that cost for one of us normal folks without all the goodies to work with i seen a bunch of gnome statues in the background i presume you make fiberglass things for a living ? what would the cost of that project be ?
thorssoli (author)  fretted12 months ago
Cost for this project? One sheet of MDF, about a gallon of casting resin (two gallons costs around $120 or so), a few ounces of expanding foam, one dress, and a handful of LEDs.

You could probably use less than $500 in materials.

The gnomes are one of the many things I make. You can find them in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/thorssoli
fretted thorssoli12 months ago
Can you make a gnome with a metal detector in his hands you could make a mint with those in the metal detecting communities !
thorssoli (author)  fretted11 months ago
I do: https://www.etsy.com/listing/117100186/combat-garden-gnome-minesweeper-with?
fretted thorssoli12 months ago
Cool i make concrete statues

Thats not to bad a price to build one i might try it sure would be neet to hang one of these from the ceiling lol

I'll check out your etsy site thanks
poofrabbit12 months ago
Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest!! I'm rooting for you, really LOVE this project!
GeekTinker12 months ago
"Here's a shot of Jenny showing us what her hand looks like:"
Translation: Here's a shot of Jenny showing all the available men how single she is:
LOL
Great project by the way. I read it when it was first posted but found my way back here again so I could link it to a friend.
NOODLE!1 year ago
This is awesome.
Quester551 year ago
Not bad results, However, you might try this in the Future,
Have your Victim Wear a Form Fitting One Piece Swimsuit, Over a Pair of PANTYHOSE.
This will give you a Great Cast of the Full body, With Half the Effort & Time, Not to mention the Cost.
Yes, thats an excellent suggestion, I tend to cast people in their birthday suits but not everyone is comfortable with that, the fabric would need to be tested first though because anything with texture will grip the alginate and although it will come out with a couple of washes it can ruin the casting
Plywood & 2×4s lined in painters plastic would make a good shallow casting tube, no? Great project, Forceful One! :)
Advar Advar1 year ago
Oops, TUB, not tube
agis681 year ago
nice project for a grave yard!!!iamgine from now on not just a stone but the face of dead with the hand like that is living the night of deads!!!!lol
Advar agis681 year ago
Aww, I was gonna say that!
Great job!
gena28671 year ago
Very cool! Love the prose, too.
SLEDHEDONE1 year ago
How many hours do you have in this project? I would love to do it. This is one of my favorite movies.
Just awesome. Mayb a hand in my future.
megglie1 year ago
As an ancient 'writer/craftswoman' I admire your wonderful creativity, combined with a talent for expressing yourself in words! What a fun person you must be... never grow up! At almost 90 I still don't know what I want to be when (if) I grow up.
Keep having fun. If I can see it I can build it. Some of the kids from High School cannot get over that I still do all of the projects I did in High School. I found out what I like to do for fun and I still do it. So keep it up. I am 51 but people think I am 40.
This was fantastic. I would love to do this project for my model building room. Keep up the great work.
This is an amazing project. Thank you so much for sharing and having such clear instructions! I'm a sculpture artist and just want to make one of these. One of my friends is a complete Star Wars nut. I sent him a link to your instructable letting him know that I'm willing to build this for him if he's willing to pay for the materials. Sounds like he may be going for it! ;)
I don't know who this Jenny is but she is awesome.
Thank you for a great and entertaining instructible! It's a great writeup and, though I have no experience casting, I feel confident enough to give it a try (or something like it) Oh, and Jenny clearly loves the camera- an added bonus. ;^) Cheers!
danzo3211 year ago
Seems to me you have her hands much farther out than han solo's were in the movie. Good move, adds to it. I was already a lifecaster when i saw the movie and appreciated how simple it really was (did we have leds back then?) because a lifecast can generally be "sunk" in a plaster vat or made to look like it's emerging from a wall..
www.lifecast-art.com
danzo3211 year ago
Great job with the foam! You COULD do clothes with algy if you wanted.
danzo3211 year ago
Normally you want to get some fiber, like pillow stuff or cotton, stuck in the alginate just before it sets, so the plaster can grab it. Gauze is costly and weak so if you prefer, dip cheesecloth or other flimsy cloth in a bowl of real plaster and lay it over the algy.
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