Author Options:

What is the best construction technique for a 4-foot tall sculpture of a human face? Answered

Must be somewhat portable (ie. not carved out of stone, not using a ton of steel as a frame). Can have less detail or be more stylized than the images shown. UPDATE: I used sheets of polystyrene which I glued together and carved. Will post link to an Instructable soon!



Best Answer 9 years ago

Another idea is to use layers of styrofoam insulation from a building store. Glue them together with styrofoam glue, then carve the sculpture into the styrofoam. Painting is tricky, make sure you use something that won't dissolve the foam.

i would try using the Styrofoam and stacking it like jeff said. carve your face then use something like 3M spray glue to give it a surface coat then paint it. the glue will make it stronger, protect it from getting dents or nicks, and give it a cool stone like texture after being painted.

That should work fine, as long as the paint doesn't dissolve the glue, too!

before you buy all of it get the spray and a small piece of foam to spray and see if it chews through it. if i remember correctly it shouldn't too badly if at all.

I would use;
- Chicken wire to make the base
- then spray foam, then carve with knife or spray foam cutter, if you have...
- then cover with plaster... used for drywall *cheaper than plaster of paris or stucco* and add a little latex paint and white glue for strength and to protect from final coat, consistency of thin porridge... a few layers on both sides'........
- If it is for outside, cover/paint on a few coats of marine fiberglass resin...
- Then paint... Dabbing a few layers with equal part of plaster/paint mixture will give you the stone look you desire.... Make sure you seal with an outdoor flat latex...!

- All of the covers will protect, waterproof/winter proof and make this light....

I have done some sculptures/theatre props and left on my old balcony for 2-3 years in Sun, wind, rain and winters at -30c and had very little deterioration...

Hrmm, modrock and chicken wire would probably make a decent frame, plaster over the top... Modrock is reasonably similar to plaster paris for reference. If you wanted all plaster a massive bit of polystyrene, think fridges, flastcreen tvs shipping containers and carve it in to the shape as a base...

Well, you could use a kind of a rubber and support it whit some metal frames...some light metal... This is an interesting question, and every material that i think of is either to fragile or weighs a lot.

use an overhead projector to scale it up on paper, or blow up pictures at copy shop on the Zoomer (call to see if your copy shop has a zoomer, bluebrint printer, or large scale printer. they can make the pattern larger for you to scale.
use pounce wheel to go around all the lines, then apply chalk with apounce bag to transfer your image onto buckramor another cloth.Canvas paint tarp will work well. Use the same pattern to do one in cardboard to back it, and set it aside.
pattern it out to flesh it out by eyeballing the major shapes and bulking out the cardboard with crumpled newspaper and masking tape. it's easy to stay symmetrical because each size of newspaper sheet has a size when balled up and masking -taped.
when you're done putting together the various mounds of face. you may reinforce them with baling wire (aka farm wire)doubled then twisted with a drill motor into cables then attached with wire or zipties. if you go this far,it is worth you while to think about attaching the whole think to a wood or metal structure to keep it together.
Then cover with small gauge wire hardware cloth if you want durability, or just with the canvas, then use fiberglass resin-and-glass matt to reinforce.flip over and finish off. fill surface irregularities with autobody filler. install appropriate hardware for hanging. primer and paint to taste.
serves art.

One way, is to build a square frame of 2"x12" boards the right size, set it on the ground and then fill it with sand. Dampen the sand, compact it and then carve out with your hand or tools the face you want. You can then pour it with a cement mixture of 3 sand to 1 Portland cement, four to six inches thick. Cover it with plastic and let it cure for a week. Once you pull it out of the mold, You can then plaster in more details with cement plaster or use a diamond blade on a grinder to carve them in. Another, lighter way, is to glue layers of Styrofoam, the kind used for house insulation, with liquid nails to approximate the shape of your face. You can then cover it in metal lathe and cement plaster the face details you want.

if weight matters more than price you might consider two part polyurethane foam. though similar to styrofoam it is tougher, non toxic, and less flammable. you can buy it in kits with special nozzles that mix and spray as they dispense. this is the same substance as spray-on insulation, but you can get different formulas: insulation is very soft and light, for a sculpture you want one that is harder and denser. you could still start with an armature and chicken-wire, like for papier-mâché, to guide and suport as it grows. depending on how deft you get with the spray control you will probably need to refine the shape afterwards and it can be cut, sanded and rasped; then, if you remove too much, just spay more on to build it back up. I think you can also use 1 part polyurethane glue (like gorilla glue) in combination with 2 part polyurethane--good for repairs when you have it on the road. for longevity and æsthetics you will probably want to paint it or plaster it with something protective, especially if it is going to be outside much.

I would recommend chicken wire and paper mache, then finish it with fast mache or similar product. It will give you the same effect as stucco but be lighter. I built an eqyptian sarcophagus like this, it looks heavy. using styrofoam would be faster... kind of depends whether you have more money or time....paper mache is cheap but takes longer. Styrofoam sheets are relatively expensive, but would take less time to carve.


9 years ago

Try a technique like this: 17 foot tall Gandhi. The front page even has a 2 foot tall head! All you need is a computer model of the sculpture. If you want it to be waterproof, use Coroplast (corrugated plastic) instead of cardboard.

I suggest this as the best way then you can also put a clay like medium over it to make it smooth

the following worked for me when creating rocks for a show (ie big and artifacts dont matter much). i think it can be done more precisely too get tons of packaging materials from the nearest trash (styrofoam + cardboard boxes + plastic bags + any other clean trash with volume. we used for the extra volume on the ground the big blue trash bags at school's end of day. just stuffed them there as is without emptying - they mostly contain paper etc. we threw them away at the same day after the show) stick the big bricks together and then go to smaller bricks now its time for the bags / newspapers / chicken wire etc if its chicken wire just form it as needed if its newspapers connect them then stuff from inside with pieces of styrofoam or plastic bags etc unless they are the wanted shape. use sticky tape to catch the wanted spots to the core cover it all with more newspapers and paint if its gonna be used at dark time only (like in our case) no need to paint. just light it with the wanted color

I'd go the cardboard route for a general structure. To make detailed features, I would use chunks and wads of newspaper which you can shape and attached with masking tape. Then cover the whole thing with a few good layers of papier mache.

Check out pretty much anything made by pokespout for some great papier mache techniques.

Hmmm... I've never made one, but if I had to guess, I would build a frame from chicken wire, cover it in paper mache and then stucco it to look as though it were made from stone or plaster. Then, I would probably paint it to make it look more real. Or perhaps you could do something similar by carving a really large chunk of foam.