Have you ever had a latex mask you wanted to make into a Halloween prop but didn't know how to foam fill it? Well this is the Instructables for you!!
TAKE IT FROM ME.....DON'T JUST USE A CAN OF EXPANDABLE FOAM!!! THE EXPANDABLE FOAM WILL SHRINK AND YOUR MASK WILL CAVE IN NEAR THE AREAS WERE THE FOAM SHRINKS!!! ALSO USING EXPANDABLE FOAM IS SO UNPREDICTABLE!!!
Check out my other instructables for How to Build a Motorized Life Size Halloween Prop and Trash Can Trauma!
Step 1: What You Will Need.
Well first off you need a mask. Usually I wait till after Halloween to buy my next years mask projects off of eBay or Craigslist. The other items you'll need are as follows.
1. Nitrile gloves
2. 1/2" paint brushes(buy the cheap ones)
3. Gorilla glue(brown type)
4. Masking tape
5. 1 can of expanding foam
6. Disposal container to mix Gorilla Glue
8. 1" PVC tee
9. 1" PVC pipe( about 15" will do)
10. Paints and a small paint brush to paint areas where the eyes, ears and mouth holes in the mask were. I buy my paints at Michaels. Buy the ones for exterior use.
Step 2: Taping Up All the Holes in the Mask and Firming Up the Mask
You've found the mask you want to make into a prop. Now you need to tape all the holes in the mask. MAKE SURE TO TAPE UP ALL HOLES REALLY WELL!!! FOAM WILL FIND ANY HOLES!!! I like to use masking tape for this because it follows the contour of the mask better than duck tape does. If the mask you're doing is really flimsy one, use strips of masking tape inside the mask to solidify it.
Step 3: First Coat of Foam
Now that you got all the holes taped up and added more tape to the inside of the mask to firm it up, it's time to apply the foam. For this step you will need some nitrile gloves, a few disposable paint brushes, Gorilla glue(the brown type), a disposable container and a little water. If you have a Harbor Freight store near you it's a great place to get the brushes and gloves for a great price. The Gorilla glue is cheapest on Amazon and the containers I use are usually a yogurt cup or a water bottle cut in half out of my recycling bin.
First....put your nitrile gloves on!!! Gorilla glue is no fun to get off your hands or anything else for that matter!! Find a place to hang your mask upside down. I like to use my furniture dolly for this using some adjustable clamps. Next pour about 3 oz of Gorilla glue into your disposable container. Don't mix more then you can use in about 5 minutes because it expands quickly. Now add just a little bit of water to the container( less than an 1/2 ounce). Now mix the water/ gorilla glue mixture together with your disposable paint brush(yeah it's like mixing honey). Working from the bottom up, start coating the inside of your mask with the mixture with your brush. This will be the first coat of maybe 3 to 4 coats on your mask. In less than 10 minutes, the mixture will start to expand and harden. Throw away the brush and container you just used(see photo of what happens to it)! Let the mask sit for about 40 minutes and at this point, the mask should be stiffening. Now remove the clamps from the mask. The remainder of the coats of the Gorilla glue/water mixture can be done without the clamps.
Step 4: 2 to 4 More Coats of Gorilla Glue Mixture
Now that the first coat is dry, it's easier to coat the inside with more Gorilla glue mixture. Inspect the inside of your mask and look for areas you missed with the first coat. Another easy way is to press softly on the outside of your mask with your fingers and feel for any soft spots that will require more Gorilla glue. Continue adding the Gorilla glue mixture in several coats till you're happy with the firmness.
Step 5: Add PVC Pipe and EXPANDABLE FOAM
Now that you've got your mask to the firmness you like, you can add the PVC pipe and tee. I always use 1" PVC pipe due to the rigidness of the pipe. Use a little PVC glue and place a 1" tee at one end. The length of the pipe depends on the mask and how you're going to use it. In most of my Mask projects, I use 15" of pipe. On the end of the pipe outside of the mask, I add a piece of masking tape to keep the foam from coming out. You want to keep the openings in the tee clear so the foam will fill the pipe to make it more secure.
Now at this point, you could continue using the Gorilla glue mixture or a can of EXPANDABLE FOAM. The Gorilla glue would take longer to fill it but you would have greater control over the expansion of the foam. For the mask I'm doing I will be you the EXPANDABLE FOAM. I use a couple clamps to keep the pvc pipe straight and level and then add EXPANDABLE FOAM to fill up the inside of the mask to about 50% filled. Don't add more foam than that so the foam doesn't expand and overflow out of the mask. Wait a day to add more foam or add some Gorilla glue mixture to fill the remaining voids in the mask. The piece of tape on the end of the PVC pipe should be left on a couple of days. Taking the tape off to early will give the foam that hasn't totally cured below in the mask a place to escape and expand.
Step 6: Paint the Areas You Covered With Masking Tape
Now that the mask is finished with being foam filled, it's time to paint the exterior of the mask we're the holes we're. i.e. where the eye,nose, mouth and ear holes were. I use paint I bought from Michaels that's for exterior use.
Voila!!! You're done!!!