Introduction: Making Latex Elf Ears
A while back I’ve discovered that doing a customize latex prosthetic ear is much trickier than it should. Why? Well, usually when you sculpt your own pair of ears, the easiest way is to mold it in silicone, and latex doesn’t cure in silicone molds.
That’s because latex needs to have contact with air so the water, and ammonia can evaporate, meaning the mold gotta have pores, absorbing these components, and allowing the latex to dry. Silicone tho, has no pores!
So if I wanted to have a pair of latex ears I needed to come up with a way to mold my sculpture with plaster without end up with a broken earcast. And I’ve come up with a pretty neat solution!
What do you need:
• lifecast of your ear;
• oil base clay;
• sculpting tools;
• a cup;
• liquid latex; and
• pax and alcohol paint (could be your foundation).
Step 1: Getting the Cast of Your Ear
The first thing you gotta do is have a positive copy of the ear you’ll be sculpting on.
Per usual, it’s easier to ask someone else to take a lifecast of you. The ear anyone can do it, no need to have experience, is that easy!
In my video I go over the details more throughly, so I won’t be typing a bible here, cuz it’s not the main focus!
Step 2: The Trick Is To…
...sculpt an ear that is easy enough to pull the clay out of the cast later. That’s because I will be molding them out of the cast, due the ear having a lot of undercuts that would lock any mold in place IF they’re made out of a hard material, and we all know plaster is exactly that. Silicone doesn't lock in a mold for being elastic enough to get loose from the cast.
You could mold this in several parts. Having the earcast, two side pieces, plus a top. Meaning that you would end up with four parts mold, which sounds like a lot of work, and confusing, right?
So, to avoid all that, taking the sculpture out of the cast is, by far, the best solution.
Step 3: And It’s All Done With a Cup
In the video you can see how simple it was to mold these pieces. I’ve build enough of a base on the bottom of each, so they can be standing by themselves. Put them near one another, enough for a plastic cup to serve as walls.
Then I just poured the plaster and waited for it to cure.
Once the clay was cleaned from the inside (which is the most annoying part because you’ve gotta be careful to not disrupt the details), and allowed the mold to dry a day so any water left can evaporate, you just gotta pour the latex, and let it dry.
It does take a day or two to be ready to pull out of the mold, and then paint it. So this is something to plan ahead, to be able to make the ears in time.
Step 4: But Why Latex?
This kind of prosthetic is good for when you’re on a budget, and good for when you don’t really wanna glue the ears on. Since they’re hollow, not only it will fit in any ear (that is close in size as to the one you’ve sculpted on), but they also can be just pop on, and you’re good to go.
In the video I’ve shown how to proper glue them and everything, but they do stay fine on their own.
That was not the reason why I’ve done them tho.
Some of the makeup that I do, I paint it with pax paint, which is the ideal way to paint rubber pieces. In one of the creatures I’ve done, the pax paint wouldn’t dry on my gelatine ears, and since I had them molded in silicone, I couldn’t cast a latex one.
I’ve managed to paint in the end, using other types of makeups, BUT I wanted to challenge myself to find an easy way to mold and cast a hollow latex piece.
And I did! Yay.
On a last note, I do have another post explaining how to do a gelatine pair of elf ears, if you’d like to check that too.
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