Who doesn’t want to be an elf? Since I've started studying special effects makeup I wanted to do a great pair of elf ears.
You can find a bunch of DIY on youtube videos, and even tho I’ve try most of them, I was never pleased with the results.
Until I decided that I would have to do as makeup artists actually do. Meaning that I would have to sculpt, mold and cast.
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Step 1: Casting Your Ear
The first thing you will need is a lifecast of your ear. Usually when talking about casting a part of your body everyone worries about if it’s safe to attend without a professional in hand. These babies tho, are quite safe! Well, safe as it can be.
You can see in the video above that it doesn’t take much time nor skill to accomplish this part. You just need someone else that is okay with helping you.
Some notes you should have in your mind:
• Remind yourself to put the cotton inside the ear to work with alginate. You don't want the product to run inside and make you have a trip to the ER.
• NEVER, EVER, work with plaster gaze directly in your skin! They can burn as the plaster is setting (it grows hot when it is). So don’t follow those crazy people on youtube that teach you how to do without it.
• If you’re worry about how you’re gonna buy the products, give a look online. I know some countries sell cosmetic alginate, so they don’t ask any documents to prove that you’re a professional or a student. But, some countries, like the one I’m currently living, don’t have this option, so dentist alginate it is!
• Also do a quick search on makeup artists forum of your country to see what kind of alginate is best for this quest. For me, it was an alginate type II, that would give me a work time of around 5 minutes.
Step 2: Sculpting, Molding, and Casting the Elf Ear
Okay, part one is done. Now for the elf ears!
Complementing the things I’ve forgot to mention on the video:
About the clay: I was working with oil base clay. This clay is great for when you wanna work on the sculpture without having to worry about setting time, going dry nor break.
I personally like to work with a medium to hard type. Mainly because cleaning the clay of the mold is so much easier, since when you pull them out, it will come as a whole piece most time.
About the silicone: I’m still a newbie working with silicone. This was actually the first time I’ve used it to mold something.
Silicone works by mixing the silicone with their catalyst. The last being what makes the silicone set and become a mold.
The only concern you have to keep in mind is to follow the instructions of the label of the product. Each silicone will react differently, so you can’t use the same proportion of silicone&catalyst as another brand. If you can’t find anything on the label ask to the seller.
On a note: mine smells delicious and I wanted to eat it, but don’t. Please.
Gelatine VS. Latex: I’ve choose to run my prosthetic on gelatine, hence it would look super flesh alike. However, depending of where you’re going, it can melt due the heat. So you should run the ear in latex instead.
The process to apply would only change a bit. With gelatine you dissolve the edges with an astringent, as for latex you blend the edges with pros-aide or, to blend like a pro, bondo (which is a mix of cabosil and pros-aide).
Or you know, you can run the prosthetic with silicone, but that is the expensive option.
Step 3: Ready to Rock in Middle Earth
And that’s pretty much it! It wasn’t a hard project, just took some time and patience to get it right. And now I only feel like leaving my house with those ears popped on.
Guess I’ll have to go to Erebor after all.
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