How to Make an Ear V.3




Introduction: How to Make an Ear V.3

About: art director at Teatro e Marionetas de Mandragora random stuff collector / programmer wannabe / open source

Ok then, ... after v.1 and v.2 on the same subject, ... EARS, if you're to lazy, or you just want perfection or need a quick solution to have a bunch of them ears, the answer is to work with moulds .
In this case I wanted the most exact similarity with the real actors ears.

For this project you'll be needing:
- a person
- 1.5 litre plastic bottle
- water (distilled if possible)
- 1 cotton ball
- alginate
- plaster
- silicone
- resin
- vaselin (or any other lube)
- fibre glass (optional)

Step 1: Alginate Moulding

For the actors ears mould I use alginate bought at medical supplies stores to achieve detail but mainly because it's quicker and cheaper than the artists one. The medical brand is used by dentists to make teeth moulds and comes in a variety of flavours and may or not have a colour indication scheme.
Let me explain it, ... it has one colour when in powder (generally whitish), a stronger and darker colour when you mix water and then it turns back again whitish wend dried.

So, let's start.
Grab a plastic bottle with its bottom cutted off, large enough the put around the ear and still having almost 1 inch distance to the ear all around.
Ask the person to clean his ear and apply lube everywhere on and in his ear. For security reasons also apply on nearest hair.
Put a little cotton ball with lube inside the ear just to prevent the alginate flowing deep inside.

Read the mixing instructions of your alginate. Generally it's a half water / half alginate mixture. Using cool water will make the alginate to dry slower if the 3 minutes range is to fast for you. An artists alginate takes more than 10 minutes to dry.

Step 2: Creating a Positive

While the alginate dries clean up your tools.
Remove the mould slowly and keep applying water between the persons ear and the mould to prevent damaging the mould.
If you're not going to create the positive right away in the next minutes, store the mould inside water since alginate dries to quickly and starts to deform.

Mix your plaster, prefer the dentists plaster as it grabs more detail. You really don't want to loose any detail or else you weren't making moulds. Again read the plaster instructions (800gr plaster to 1litre of water or just a 50/50 mix).
There's no need for lube here. Pour some liquid plaster on the mould and wait a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Apply the rest of the plaster on top .

Step 3: Clean Up Your Plaster

Clean up, remove imperfections such as air bubbles, sand it and wash it.

Step 4: Silicone

You've started with the actors ear » a model
So you've made a negative of the actors ear » a mould
And you've made a positive of that mould » another model since we're making another mould or a mother since you can create several moulds after this plaster
You're going to make another silicone mould of the plaster » a mould
And finally take any copies you need » prints , copies , positive or just another model

You use:
- alginate because it's quick
- plaster since it reacts ok with alginate (you may use high density polyurethane also, don't use resin since they generally don't like water)
- silicone for its detail

Again read the silicone instructions and create the mould. Be sure your plaster is completely dry and you may use some spray lube.

Step 5: Prints

With your silicone mould there's so many options when choosing materials for your prints...

Water based microwave baked dough is cheap and light.
Resin needs a little bit of shredded thin fibre glass to prevent breaking.
High density polyurethane is the best.

Have FUN!

Step 6: Finish

These ears were used on the puppet show named F.U.N.I.L. and you can learn more about this show at: |

I'm starting other instructables about building heads, faces and other things... Wait a little.

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    6 years ago

    This would be perfect for building a Binaural Microphone. Awesome 'ible.

    enVide neFelibata
    enVide neFelibata

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yea, ... I didn't explained it.
    I'm adding to all the instructables a final step were I post pictures of the final object or nearly finished object.
    I'm a puppet builder at a puppet company here at Portugal, so basically all my instructables are around building puppets or something stage related.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Muito legal! Vou ter que seguir o teu trabalho.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I was about 10 years, and I read in a magazine how to make a paper or cardboard mask, glueing paper strips. Very easy, but I had to have a plaster cast. Suddenly I had a flash of inspiration: why not use my face to make the mold? So I set to work: prepared enough liquid plaster in a bowl, filled my lungs ...And put my face in the cast! My mother watched from afar, and thought I was crazy (she was not mistaken!). I held my breath all I could ... and pulled my face dripping plaster. The incident was widely reported, both inside and outside the family.

    enVide neFelibata
    enVide neFelibata

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    lol... heheeh
    I think that most of us already tried that stunt only to fail it like a boss.