Last Halloweens, my brother-in-law requested my help in making a Terminator "mask". We looked at the terminator eyepiece made by The Dark Power and used it as a basic guideline. In the end we had a resin mask in two pieces with a red LED light and a latex skin piece on top. Today, I would just make the whole appliance out of latex, (but I'm glad we used what we did because I had never worked with resin or silicone before). If you want to use just latex, I recommend taking a look at my Asari Headpiece Instructable (where similar steps would apply). This instructable is for those people who want to take their costume up a notch from papier-mâché, but aren't ready to invest in a vaccum-form-welding-equipment-metal-casting-workshop.
(I recommend using latex, because resin is a bit tricky to get to stick your skin and stay put. Because of its properties and weight, it'll slide down. Which I why I think for a lot of Terminator costumes - including this one! - the eye piece is 'off')
*Nothing against papier-mâché. I love papier-mâché. You can do wicked things with papier-mâché. But, you know what I mean, right?
Step 1: Head/Face Mold
B.I.L. wanted to do a full head mold (so in the future if he wanted to make a full face mask or helm, he'd be ready). For the terminator 'mask' you really only need the front of your face (but I recommend doing a full head mold for future projects). However if you are claustrophobic and/or can't sit still for even ten minutes, just do a face mold.
Do not just go and wrap the entire head with long sheets of plaster and expect to cut it off. Do not use regular plaster or gypsum and slap it on. If you are uncomfortable with having straws up your nose, you can leave the bottom of the nose open. And arrange a 'safety signal' with the person being life-casted, just in case.
You will need:
- Plaster of Paris Strips/Bandages. NOT just a tub of Plaster of Paris. That is dangerous and dumb. Don't do it. Go to the craftstore and get a roll of bandages. Cut them into strips 1-2 inches wide and about half-the-size-of-your-head long, give or take. You will also need some tiny strips for getting into smaller spaces.
- Vaseline. To be used as a release agent. Drug/grocery store will have this.
- Bald Cap and Spirit Gum (and Spirit Gum Remover). You can get these online or at a local costume store.
- Straws.For easy breathing.
- Plasticine Or any oil based clay.
- Rubbing Alcohol (and cotton balls)
- Scissors, tub of warm water, a few friends/family members. Stuff I'm sure you already have at home. You don't need the extra help, but it does make things go quicker (and it's more fun)
- A Good Shower Afterwards.
If you have long hair, "put it up." You want your head mold to be an accurate representation of your head, so get your hair to lay as flat as it can against your scalp. I recommend braiding your hair into various sections, then pinning the braids up and around your head.
Put on the bald cap. You will likely need to trim it. Tack the bald cap onto your head with spirit gum.
Apply Vaseline everywhere (to act as a release agent against the Plaster of Paris strips). Make sure to coat your eyebrows and eyelashes.
Take the Plaster of Paris strips and layer the back of the head. Do horizontal strips first, then vertical, horizontal and vertical. I like to do 4 layers. Again, it's just the back of the head.
Let that dry, (around 30 minutes) then apply vaseline along the edge of the plaster of paris; that way, when you do the front and overlap the plaster, it won't stick together.
Next you do the front! You can use the same technique as you did for the back, but what worked best for me was making a 'chin strap' and then 'filling' the face in. I put small pieces over the eyes, then just before doing the nose had my bro put plastic straws slightly up his nose so he could breath. I left the mouth until the very end just in case there was a breathing-mishap.
Do four layers for the front, being careful not to overlap the back too much (don't extend beyond your 'vaseline' wall)
Let that dry (around 30 minutes again) then pop it right off (just have to pry it a bit at the neck and both pieces should come apart beautifully).
Wipe off any excess vaseline and let the two pieces completely air dry. Remove the bald cap and have a shower in the meantime.
After the pieces have dried (I recommend leaving it overnight), remove any additional excess vaseline with rubbing alcohol. Fill in any problems areas with plasticine. Put the top pieces back together and secure with one layer of plaster of paris strips along the seam.
Step 2: Head Cast
Now that you have your headmold, you need a cast of it. You should do this outside (or in a well ventilated area)
You will need:
- Ultra Cal 30 Try a special effects store, hardware or construction store.
- Duct Tape
- Drill with Big Mixing Bit
- Dust mask, gloves, goggles
- Support system For Making Cast (read below. It's basically scrap wood and screws)
- Stand for Armature Something to put your head on so you can sculpt on it
- Metal File
Here's how I made my support system for my head cast. For this one, we did things a little differently. My brother in law went into the garage, grabbed what he could find and made the system you see in the pictures (way better than my head-in-a-bucket stand). In both cases, these support stands were temporary, cheap, and made using whatever we had around the house. Worse comes to worse, you can have someone just hold it for you. We made the armature stand in the same way as this, only subbing in a piece of pipe for the masonry anchor. You don't need it, but it's nice if you want to be able to spin your head around while working.
Now that your head mold is dried and back together (held by one layer of plaster of paris along the seam) wrap a few pieces of duct around it (for good measure). Coat the inside with a thin layer of vaseline (or other release agent of your choice).
Wearing gloves, goggles and a dust mask, mix up your water and ultra cal 30 in a bucket using a drill and giant mixer bit. You want to use 100 parts Ultra Cal 30, 38 parts water. I have a slightly-smaller-than-medium sized female head so when I made my head armature, I used about 6.53 kilograms of Ultra Cal, so for water we used 2.5 liters. For my brother in law, we used...more. Do this quickly but thoroughly - you don't want any chunks.
Have someone (strong) hold your headmold and pour the UC30 mix into it.
Put the mold into your 'support system.' and quickly add in a piece of pipe/masonry anchor. In this case, we had an extra long piece of pipe that we stabilized with duct tape and wire to the support stand. (The excess pipe was cut off afterwards).
The Ultra Cal 30 will cure rather quickly. Once it's full set (it should be rock hard and cool to touch) you should be able to easily take off the plastic of paris shell. When I did a copy of my head, the plaster of paris mold came away quite easily and intact - bro-in-law's head mold wasn't as dry, and I think we left the initial vaseline layer on too longer and it soaked through the bandages, making them a bit soggy. He still got a *really* nice cast, it's just that the mold was ruined. His head came out more detailed than mine - probably because when my husband was wrapping my head in bandages, he was loving and concerned about my being, whereas when I was putting the plaster of paris onto the bro I was just cramming it into every nook and cranny.
Pop your head armature onto your stand, and you're almost ready to start sculpting! Just remove any vasline (er, or plaster of paris flecks) and sand down the side seam with a file.
Step 3: Sculpting the Metal Piece
You will need:
- Plasticine Or any oil based clay
- Terminator Reference Picture Hooray for internets! Does anybody remember when if you wanted to make a costume, you had to watch the movie, pause the VHS and jot down notes before it started playing again? No? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
- Sculpting Tools Craft stores will have these, you can also make your own if you like. I like experimenting with different tools.
- Vaseline You can never have enough.
- Your Imagination
This sculpt is for the metal eye 'mask' piece (you'll do the skin piece later).
First cover half of the head in a thin layer of clay, extending beyond the point where you want the eyepiece to end.
Working off of reference photos, begin to sculpt. Take note of the sizes and positioning of things. How big is a part compared to, say, a pencil. Use the vaseline to smooth out parts (and get rid of fingerprints).
Anybody can sculpt. You just need patience, practice and encouragement.
My bro-in-law took his head home along with some clay, and began sculpting. In a few days, he brought it back finished. I thought he did a *very* good job for his first sculpt ever, with no proper tools or know-how. He made good use of straws and bamboo skewers. He has worked so hard so far on this headpiece, from plaster cast to sculpting, so I asked if I could tweak it. Just to give it that extra 10% of awesomeness.
Ok, so maybe I went a little bit overboard and ripped off the original straws. And replaced all the eyeball pieces. And maybe I redid the check. And did some nose work. And added a piston or two.
DON'T be afraid to redo a section or start over again. I know it hurts to put in a lot of time and effort into something only to rip it apart, but I have done it. Every. Single. Time.
Step 4: Silicone and MotherMold
You will need:
- Goggles and gloves
- Mold Making Silicone Kit We used Smooth-On Mold Max
- Clean plastic measuring cups
- Clean plastic cups for mixing
- Stir sticks (We got our cups, sticks and silicone all from a local supplier)
- Plaster of Paris Strips
This site is really, really awesome. They have great videos and instructions on their site. All of their kits come with thurough instructions too.
Make a clay wall around your sculpt (to keep the silicone from spilling over)
Once you have all your silicone supplies, read the instructions. Read them again. Then go to work. You'll be mixing parts together (depending on the type of silicone you get, you may need a thickening agent to help paint on the silicone. We didn't use one in this case but I wish we had. Later I went back and got some for another project.)
The silicone was more viscous than we thought it would be - it looked and acted kinda like pink bubblegum. We covered the sculpt with a layer of silicon (seen here, almost done), waited a bit, then poured some more in, until we couldn't see the clay anymore. We did all of this gradually and in stages to prevent air-bubbles.
Once the silicone had cured, we decided to add a plaster of paris mother mold, 'just in case.' Our silicone mold was fairly thick, so we really didn't need a mother mold, but better safe than sorry. We removed the clay wall, and added a few layers of plaster of paris strips to the top and sides of the silicone mold. That way, when we flipped the mold right-side-up, we could nest it within a strong sturdy support mold. Normally mother molds would be made of stronger stuff (i.e. Ultra Cal 30) but the piece is so small (and the silicone so thick) that plaster of paris worked fine.
After the plaster of paris cures, you can turn over both molds and clean out the silicone mold. Because of several undercuts and 'weird bits' (around the eyes and the cheek), we had to slice the silicone strategically in order to get clay/wood out of the mold, and to ensure that the resin would be able to go into all the right places.
Step 5: Resin Cast
The next stage was extremely dangerous (and smelly) so we only got a few photos at the beginning of this stage.
- Resin kit You can buy the stuff separately - you need "the resin" and the catalyst.
- Gloves, goggles
- Clean plastic mixing/measuring cups (only to be used for this!)
- Stir sticks
- Very, very, very well ventilated area
- Exacto knife and sandpaper
First, read the directions on the resin. Read em again. Then mix the resin and catalyst in the appropriate amounts.
Pour the resin into the silicone mold - because of the undercuts in some places, I held open silicone slits as bro-in-law poured resin into them. Then we coated the entire mold in resin (and later added a second layer once the initial layer began to gel).
We ended up doing two more casts (one of the 'top eye' and one of the 'lower cheek') so it could move. We used the initial resin cast for when the skin-piece was sculpted.
Cut away the rough edges and sanded the entire piece. B.I.L. sanded down the bottom jaw piece so it moved smoothly under the cheek when he talks.
Step 6: Painting and "final" Steps
My involvement with this project ended with the painting of the resin pieces. So unfortunately the remainder steps are kind of sketchy :S I'm including them as 'extra' steps
More or less, what I think happened: an eye-hole was drilled out, and a red LED was inserted in the eye socket. A thin red piece of plastic was glued over the eye, and wires connecting the LED to a battery pack ran behind the top mask piece. A latex skin-piece was sculpted and cast in latex. The mask pieces were attached with a strip of rubber glued along the jawline.
For painting the resin, you'll need:
- Black Spray Paint
- Silver Spray Paint
- Black Acrylic Paint
- White Acrylic Paint
- Silver Acrylic Paint
- Paint Brushes
Prime the mask pieces with black spray paint. Add silver spray paint over top. Create shading, hi-lights and distressing with silver, white and black acrylic paint. I always find it hard to describe painting - best just to look at the photos for a guide!
Step 7: Extra: Sculpt the Skin
You shall need:
- Plasticine Or any oil based clay
- Sculpting Tools
- Vaseline Yet again
Sculpt a skin/flesh piece that will go over the resin half-mask; it'll help hold the resin piece in place, and it'll make it look wicked-cool. The bro put a copy of the resin mask onto his head cast before he started sculpting, to get a fitted skinpiece.
Again, make sure to start with a thin layer of clay that extends beyond the point of where the skinpiece ends.
Step 8: Extra: Ultra Cal Mold and Latex Cast for Skin
Here's a more detailed account of making an ultra cal mold and casting latex
In a nutshell...
For the ultra cal mold, you'll need
- Ultra Cal 30 and Water (mixed to a consistency close to 'river mud')
- Silicone brush
- Vaseline or release agent of your choice
- Cheesecloth Try the fabric store...or cheese store? Some people use burlap, I find it too messy.
For the latex casting, you'll need
- 407 slush latex
- liquid latex
- Sponge Brush or Sponge Wedges
I had a ton of slush latex, so we used that, but the skin piece (should be) so thin, you can use several layers of liquid latex.
After applying a release agent to your skin sculpt, you start putting on layers of cheesecloth and ultra-cal mix, using the silicone brush to apply the ultra-cal 'mud' to squares of cheesecloth.
Once you've done about 4 layers, leave the ultra-cal mold to cure. After it's completely dry, clean out the mold (you wan to remove any excess clay and release agent) and add a thin layer of slush latex to the mold. If you're using liquid latex, you'll want to apply multiple thin layers, letting the latex dry between layers.
Unfortunately I do not have many photos of this step (as I didn't do it) but if you need more details, please check out the links above!
The latex was left unpainted, and after it was applied to the skin, it was covered in makeup.
Step 9: Putting It All Together.
- Spirit Gum (or Pros-Aid)
- Fake Blood
- Makeup (I like Ben Nye creams) You need stuff that will work on latex and skin
- Makeup brushes
One problem we had to overcome was attaching the resin piece. Spirit gum does not work on resin (it soooorrta does, but the tests didn't work). We have been using the terminator steps done by The Dark Power as a guide and he held the resin piece in place with a skin layer that went over top (his was made of sort of gelatin, not latex). I was worried that it would not be secure enough.
So, I painted liquid latex onto the back of the mask, let that dry, and then applied spirit gum to that. It was just a quick test, so we didn't get the placement perfect. But it worked! That method, along with the skin latex layer on top, should keep 'er in place. However the mask did "sag" a bit. Next time, start applying the eyepiece higher-up, or use lighter materials (like latex!)
After taking off the resin piece, I peeled/scraped off the liquid latex (and spirit gum) from the mask; every time he'll wear the mask, he'll have to add a new layer of latex, and peel it off later.
The latex skin piece was added over top. It was...ok. The latex was too thick, and I'm not even sure if it was needed. And the blood application...is...not what I would have done. But hey, people loved it! He wants to make another version...so maybe this year I'll have a 2.0 instructable for this!