Introduction: Predator Mask Mark 2 - 2 Part Plaster Mold for a Latex Mask
An improvement on the original predator mask, better detail and better paint job.
Having learnt a few things from making the original predator mask I thought I would make a second version of it and improve on what I had before, and here's how I did it.
Below is a comparison of the 2 masks, the mark 2 is on the left.
I also thought I would show the Bio mask that goes over the top of the mark to mask, I bought it on eBay but I made some modifications, I put 3 red LEDs in where the lasers go, wired this up to a switch and 9V battery and also a reed switch which is activated by the presence of a magnetic field. my plan is to put a magnet in the latex mask so when the bio mask comes in contact with it, the bio mask lights up.
Step 1: What You Will Need
you will need the following.
10kg of new plast (£30 direct from manufacturer) or other oil based clay (Plasticine/Kleen Clay) ideally terracotta or any dark colour, don't use white you won't be able to see it against the white plaster.
a male polystyrene head with bust, failing that a male head and unisex bust
25kg of crystacal R plaster (£30 eBay), or other hard drying plaster, DO NOT USE PLASTER OF PARIS, it's too soft.
a roll of burlap for reinforcing the plaster (£10 tomps.com)
a few pieces of metal sheet cut roughly to about 6 inches by 3 - 4 inches, you could use old biscuit tins, i just bought a sheet at the hardware store for about £15 and chopped it up roughly with tin snips.
a decorating paint brush
an art brush
clay tools, can be picked up fairly cheaply, or you can use whatever is around the house, pencils and the like.
a modelling knife
a flat blade large screw driver
a hot glue gun
Air brush and compressor
Step 2: Preparing the Bust
because I couldn't get a male head with a bust but I had a unisex bust and a male head.
I cut the unisex head off with a hot wire, you could use a modelling knife.
I then put 2 pencils in to the bust part and pushed the male head on to it and taped it in place.
why did I do this and not just use the unisex head, I used the unisex head before and it worked out too small so I would have to use a lot of clay to make it large enough.
Step 3: Sculpting
ok now here comes the tricky bit, first of all you can't just slap the clay on you need to make sure that what you start with is slightly bigger than your own head, I measured mine and it was 20 inches round so I built this up on the bust and added a little until it was 22 inches round to make sure there was enough to allow for when the latex shrinks in the mould.
Now you can get on and sculpt what you need, try and avoid big over hangs and cut ins which will cause issues later on in the moulding process.
your using an oil based clay so you don't have to do it all in one go, it won't dry out, but if you stop work on it over night or for a few days I would recommend covering it will a box to stop dust settling on it.
start off by building up the basic shape you want then you can add more detail as you go.
I wanted to add texture to the skin which I managed by putting some latex in a patch on my leather trench coat letting it set then pealing it off using this I pushed it in to the clay to get a leather effect to the skin.
the key is to take your time, don't rush it, put as much detail as you can in to it.
the teeth and mandibles I removed and cast separately, I cut the mandibles off a cleanly as I could using a retractable knife.
Step 4: Preparing to Make the Mold
now we have a detailed sculpt we are happy with its time to prepare to cast the mold.
get yourself a board and tape a bin bag to it, this will give you a platform you can rotate should you need to and its water proof at the bottom.
Take your pieces of steel and hammer them in to your sculpt about 1" below where you would like your seam line to be. It's important to think about where you want your seam line, try and pick somewhere it wouldn't show too much. when you hammer in your steel plates over lap them by about 1" and hammer them in only enough so they don't move too much.
Now using your hot glue gun glue all the steel pieces together, this will make the platform ridged.
now we need to cut up some more oil based clay in to 1/2" thick pieces, I used a wire and made up a board with 2 pieces of board attached to either side as a guide for thickness.
lay these on top of the steel platform and push them tight against the sculpt so there is no gaps.
then create a wall around the edge to contain the plaster, you will have to create a well around the bottom to catch the plaster as it dribbles down.
make a ball of clay and chop it in half and put one half on each side of the sculpt, this will be the key so we can line up the 2 halves of the mould later on. I actually used a plastic ball cut in half for this.
Step 5: Casting the Mold
it's time to cast the mold, you will need about 2 hours uninterrupted as once you start you can't stop until one half is done.
put a little Vaseline in a egg cup or something microwave safe, then give it short bursts in the microwave just to turn it in to liquid, the using a cheap art brush, apply a thin coat to your sculpt, this will aid with the release of the mold later on.
make sure you read the instructions on the plaster you have, always work with small batches as crystacal R sets fast.
a normal house hold paint brush to move the plaster around.
mix up a watery mix of plaster, this should be the consistency of runny cream, then pour it over your sculpt, using the paint brush make sure that the runny mix covers the sculpt by pulling it up from the well you made at the bottom. this step is the beauty coat, this will get in to the detail of your sculpt.
ok moving quickly mix up small batches the consistency of thick cream, paint this over the sculpt, keep moving it from the well to the sculpt, you will know when it is starting to set as it will stop running down the sculpt. Repeat this for a few layers, say about 5 or 6.
now we have a decent thickness covering the sculpt we need to start building in reinforcement, start laying pieces of burlap over the sculpt and apply the plaster on top. you need to make sure you build up thickness in areas that are weak, on my mold the angle on the mold on the eye line would be weak so I built this up.
you need to build is up the be at least 1.5" thick if not thicker.
now one half is done you can have a little rest, I left mine over night to set, even though the plaster sets fast, while it is damp it is still prone to cracking, so best leave it to harden a little more.
peel off the clay walls, then pull out the steel sheets, you might need pliers for this, and remove the rest of the clay.
you will need to repair the sculpt where the clay was and the steel went in.
build up some walls to hold in the plaster for the back, also add a couple of wedges which will act as pry points for getting the mold apart later.
again paint Vaseline over the sculpt, now this is important, make sure you have a really good layer of Vaseline one the plaster for the first part of the mold, if you don't you won't be able to separate the mold.
now your ready to repeat what you did on the front to the back.
once that's complete Leave it a few days to set fully, you don't want to crack the mold by accident trying to de-mold it.
cast the teeth and mandibles as well, this is easy enough to do, using a tile put up some clay walls and using a few paper clips bent out to hold them at the right height, half fill the mold with plaster and shake to get the bubbles out.
remove key points and the paper clips, paint the plaster with Vaseline, then fill the remaining space with plaster.
Step 6: De-molding
using a screw driver push it in to the pry point and add a little leverage, you will see it start to part, move on to the next pry point and the next and it will eventually free and you will be able to lift the back off.
pull the sculpt out of the other half of the mold.
now you will see why we used a dark colour oil based clay, some of it will be left in the mold, you need to get all of this out, in the tricky bits you might find a tooth pick to be handy.
Step 7: Latexing
now I tried out something new here and failed, but I have learnt from my mistakes and will rectify them on my next mask, I'm telling you so you can understand what I did and why it didn't work so you don't make the same mistake.
Ok I read somewhere that filling the mold with latex then leaving it for a short time for a layer to form over the plaster mold then removing the excess latex, letting the layer set and removing it. So I did some more reading and you can use car Wax to seal the mold before you do this.
now the problems I had was the amount of latex you need is enough to fill the mould, so I bought a barrel of latex, next problem was sealing the mold, I used car wax but I didn't leave it to set which I should have done so when I poured the latex in it leaked out. another problem was keeping the mold upright I tried to use a cardboard box which didn't work.
Also the barrel was too large to lift and pour on my own so I had to pour some in to a bucket and pour it in to the mold, even if I did manage to fill the mold I would still need to get it out, and I couldn't lift the mold when it was full of latex on my own.
so I gave up and went and did it the way I know how to do it.
Having thought about it some more I know how I can get over these issues,
1) to keep it up right I would build a wooden frame around the mold using batons of wood.
2) wait for the wax to set and make sure all the edges along the seam are sealed.
3) don't pour the latex in and out, pump it in and out of the mold with a cheap hand pump.
see my instructable on making a cheap pump as the pump https://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-WaterAir-hand-pump/
ok so now we have found out how the pros do it and how not to do it, this is how I actually did it.
using a decorators brush again, paint non-thickened latex over the inside of both halves of the mold. this will get in to all the details.
I mixed up some latex with a latex thickener and painted a coat on both halves of the mold, let it set then did another coat, repeat the process until its thick enough, about 2 - 3mm should be enough.
now paint a lot of latex round the edges of both halves of the mold, and put the two halves together.
leave it for a few days to set properly all the way through.
Step 8: Trimming and Preparing
de-mold the latex mask, be careful as it might still be soft.
pop it on a polystyrene head, and using some scissors cut the excess off the seam line as close as you can to the mask itself, you might make little holes in the seam, don't worry just put a little latex on your finger and splodge (technical term) some on the hole to seal it.
if your careful you will only need to trim the seam, if you have a Dremmel then use this with a buffing wheel to smooth the seam.
put a cut in the back so you can put the mask on later, I decided to put a zip in, I just used pins to hold it in place while I put latex on the zip and let it dry then removed the pins, you have to turn the mask inside out for this. with the zip in there it will make sure the mask is pulled in tight so you have a better shape when you're wearing it.
Step 9: Painting
for painting it I used an airbrush with a small compressor, you can by canned air but it's not worth it, you don't get much out of them best just to get a cheap compressor off eBay.
the paint mix is important, I use a mixture of acrylic paint (the cheap ones), ammonia and non-thickened latex. Mix up the paint on its own to get your colour then add a splash of ammonia and mix it up, then add a splash of latex and mix that up, it will appear lighter but don't worry it will dry the colour you originally mixed. if you want a glossy finish then add a bit more latex to the mix.
I started off spraying the base colour which is an off white.
then the ox blood coat
then the brown
then I made up a stencil and sprayed the large speckles using the oxblood paint.
then using the same stencil I did the black large speckles, I made up a smaller stencil for the small speckles.
I sprayed the teeth by sticking them to a tile using double sided tape.
finally when everything is dry put a tiny dab of latex on the teeth and stick them in, that's it!! done.
This mask was being sent to someone who was going to make their own dread locks, I was going to use black pipe lagging used on air con units. I picked up a box of it for about £30.