Introduction: Mini Face Sculpture

Picture of Mini Face Sculpture

Inspired by the Foil Bust of designer Dominic Wilcox, I set out to create an aluminum replica of my face. To change things up a little, I decided to do it at 1/4 and 1/8 scale. This required use of all kinds of state of the art technology... and aluminum foil. Don't be daunted by the seeming complexity of the process, it is actually quite easy. I accomplished this without having to exert too much physical or mental effort. Ultimately, this was a fun and quick project, and I am looking forward to making some really unexpected aluminum foil balls.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need:

(x1) Aluminum foil roll
(x1) 123D Catch
(x1) Digital camera
(x1) 3D modeling software (I used 3DS, but you can use something free like 123D)
(x1) Very expensive high-resolution Objet 3D printer (Or friend with access to a printer... or featured entry in the Make it Real Challenge... or a Shapeways account)

Step 2: Catch Yourself

Picture of Catch Yourself

Sit very still and have someone take pictures all around your head, and then submit them to the 123D Catch online app.

In some hours you should receive back a 3D model.

Clean up the model as necessary (i.e. remove any weird spiky bits).

Step 3: Boolean Subtract

Picture of Boolean Subtract

Open up your 3D editing software.

Import your face STL from 123D Catch and close the mesh to make it a solid object by closing the mesh.

Create a new cube and then subtract your face from it using a boolean subtract operation.

This should leave you with a cube with the inverse of your face.

This will be the inverse face mold that you will 3D print.

Step 4: Fix the STL

Picture of Fix the STL

Before you can print your file, you need to make the STL water tight (i.e. remove the error points).

I used NetFabb to repair all of the errors in the STL. This program can be used for free and is quite good at repairing STLs. However, any program capable of repairing errors in STLs will do.

Step 5: Print

Picture of Print

Print your STL file on your fancy Objet 3D printer (or similar).

If you don't happen to have a fancy 3D printer, get someone else to do it for you.

Step 6: Make the Cast

Picture of Make the Cast

Take some aluminum foil or other shape-keeping materials and press it into the mold starting from the lowest point (i.e. the tip of the nose). Continue pressing it in and smoothing it out until you fill the whole mold.

When you are done, pull the two apart and you now have a mini replica of your face.


mchau2 (author)2015-12-29

Again, i envy the printer!! i wanna be more productive like you man... super nice and simple idea!!

Kr. Saurav (author)2012-06-05

clay or p.o.p. would also be an ideal shape-keeping material.
you could take another 3d print of the back of your head, apply the same processes and make the 3d replica with clay or pop. join both and voila!, you get your whole face in 3d in miniature

gtoal (author)2012-06-01

You don't by any chance have a "Freebirds" burrito restaurant nearby do you? :-)

randofo (author)gtoal2012-06-01

Can't say that I do.

gtoal (author)randofo2012-06-01

They serve their burritos wrapped in tinfoil and encourage patrons to create tinfoil sculptures with the wrapper when finished, which they put on display on shelves around the room. Your mould would be ideal for making an impressive piece!

Samuel Bernier (author)2012-05-31


kerikins (author)2012-05-27

Ahhh yes...this is like watching a Martha Stewart video.
Just start with Norwegian truffles...add Belgian spring water...combine with Chilean goats milk ..take out 35 ramekins and fill them half full...then of course make a 3-d image in to your, ' fancy Objet 3D printer (or similar).'
Soooooooooo simple! It's a Good thing.

randofo (author)kerikins2012-05-30

You don't need to buy a printer. You can make a 3D model and buy a print online. That's probably in the $10 - $30 range. You can also currently enter a project into the Make it Real challenge, and if it gets featured, Instructables will 3D print you a model for free (using said printer). These printers are not inaccessible, and you do not need to spend $50,000 to get a print made.

duxallinarow (author)kerikins2012-05-28

[snert!] Your comment made my day. I LOL'd out loud. ;) Dux

kerikins (author)duxallinarow2012-05-28

Tee-hee...Glad you saw 'in' to my jesting...not hurtful just funny...

Eh Lie Us! (author)kerikins2012-05-28

@kerikins . For me, you got it right on. You know, maybe if the title of the instructable mentioned someone on 3D printing..?

Nelyan (author)kerikins2012-05-28

I wish I could +1 your comment :D

Lindie (author)2012-05-27


SkUG (author)2012-05-27

custom easter eggs? i like this idea

Kdemon (author)2012-05-27

Now all you need to do is fill it with chocolate!

cartola (author)2012-05-27

You could try liquid silicon to make the final face!

lllshreelll (author)2012-05-25

You could seriously stick that on a dark black frame and make art! I am not even joking.

(Joking will be this - I know how to make an exact replica of my face on an aluminium foil within few seconds)

angelabchua (author)2012-05-24

i hope you didnt recycle your face. I'd like to add your face to my collection of stuff in my office.

a4great (author)2012-05-24

you could make a Han-solo style Carbonite effect here...

Pfarmkid (author)2012-05-24

why not just make a 3-d print of your face

HollyMann (author)2012-05-24

It must be awesome to work for instructables and make such strange and awesome things! :) Looks great!!!

rimar2000 (author)2012-05-24

Awesome, Randy!

Eddiz (author)2012-05-24

this is really cool! congratulations!

poofrabbit (author)2012-05-23

This is really cool!! You could also take paper pulp drain most of the water and press it in the mold, then you could have a paper you as well...for real fun you could put grass seed in that paper and make yourself a hairy face. :D

megaduty (author)2012-05-23

It's a T-1000 Randofo!

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previously life I had founded and run the Instructables ... More »
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