Mask Mould Making

The next step was painting the latex onto the clay to capture the detail. As latex dries by water evaporation I had to paint it on in layers. The first layer must be very thin to capture the finest detail. As the layers progressed I added a thickening agent to the latex to speed the process up but also to prevent the latex from trickling under my large undercuts and trapping the cast inside the mould.

This is what it looked like after all the layers were done:

Next, I covered this with plaster bandage shell so during casting it won’t bend or warp under pressure to complete the 2 parts of the mould. I was worried my design had too many large undercuts in it for the plaster shell to release from the cast but I found by hammering out the problem areas from the other side you don’t affect the overall strength but allow wiggle room for removing the cast.

I then did my first jesmonite cast, I found very quickly that my details on my mask were very thin and were breaking. In future, I will remember to always keep my work at least 1cm thick throughout.

Despite the fact, my first cast broke as it came out I was very happy with the level of detail the jesmonite captured and the overall finish. Like latex, I leant the first layer must be thinner to pick up detail.

After a few more attempts layering the jesmonite with fibreglass paper to add strength, I finally got the hang of the technique and managed to get a cast out in one piece.

It wasn’t perfect but it was a great improvement! I learnt to take extra care painting in the jesmonite into all the nooks and crannies, as well as popping as many bubbles in the first layer as possible. TIP – scratch off wet jesmonite over spill before it sets to decrease clean-up time and effort. Also, place fibreglass on wet jesmonite and let layer set before repeating.

I added wire hooks into the layers during the casting process to tie the mask to the horns. and finally turned out a near perfect cast:

I then did paint tests on my dud casts:

I felt the colours on this became tacky and would be too busy for the rest of the outfit so i choose a colour palette of greens and blues. I used acrylic paints and found using very watery paint worked best on the jesmonite. especially on the leaves, by starting with a darker colour you bring out the veins in the leaves and creates a very natural effect. However thicker paint goes on quite patchy as the jesmonite absorbs the moister very quickly.

Whilst filling the edges to tidy them up the lower details of the mask broke off so i stuck them back on with more jezmonite and extra layers of plaster bandage. It is now extremely sturdy but heavier. I considered adding a layer of plaster bandage over the entire back of the mask but felt it would add too much weight.

Once the painting was done I sprayed it with a layer of varnish for a final professional finish.



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