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Mouldmaking and Plastic Slush Casting Test for ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Head

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I highly recommend this book – The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation by Ken A. Priebe Foreword by Henry Selick. Director Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I used this book on how to do mouldmaking a casting using the slush method as shown below. This is an excellent book which you can buy from Amazon. It is filled with really useful information, everything you need to know and more.

Sculpted Head on Metal Rod Fixed in Position

Image above of the Sculpted Head on a Metal Rod which will allow it to be suspended. Fixed into position using clay. Below is a slideshow of all the images and showing the whole process.

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Mixing the Silicone Liquid in two parts.

Mixing the Silicone which comes in two parts. You don’t get much time so you have to work fast before it sets.

Pouring the Silicone Mixture over the Sculpture.

Slowly pour the silicone over the sculpture making sure that everything is covered.

Suspending the Head in a container. Do not use hard plastic as I did here as it was difficult to get the mould out.

Suspend the sculpture in a container. I used the wrong one here, as it was made of hard plastic which made it difficult for me to remove the mould once set. I had to cut it out. I would recommend using Lego and sealing with tape or a softer plastic which can be bent to free the mould. I used a metal rod which was part of a scalpel knife and used wood and tape to suspend the sculpture. The head must not touch the bottom of the container.

Filling the container with Silicone to cover the Sculpture.

Pouring the mixture of silicone into the container and using tape to stop the wood from moving.

Finished Mould. Important to leave hole in top to fill with plastic.

Finished Mould. You can place in the freezer so that once you cut the mould and take the sculpture out, the sculpture is more likely to remain undamaged. There will always be some damage but this can easily be fixed if you need to use it again. Important to have a pouring hole at the top which was made from the metal rod.

Cut a zig zag pattern to pull mould apart to take out sculpture.

Cut a Zig Zag pattern with a sharp scalpel knife to free the Sculpture. It is important to mark the front, side and back of the head suspended in the container before you pour the silicone in so that when you cut it you can identify where the back is and there will be less damage to the mould. I forgot to do this so I ended up getting a line down the front of the face. You learn as you experiment.

Sculpture removed from mould.

Sculpture head removed from mould.

Filling the mould with plastic resin. Do not pour remainder liquid into a plastic cup as I have done in image - mistake.

Pouring the Polyurethane Liquid Plastic Resin into the mould. This comes in two parts which you mix together. Again you have to work fast. If you want a solid plastic head you just leave for the time required. This however makes the head too heavy for stop motion puppets. I then experimented with Slush Casting which is where you pour a smaller amount into the hole and rotate and turn the mould for a while until set. I experimented a lot with this as you are not sure how much to pour in and I was trying to achieve a light hollow plastic head.

After the plastic resin has set, open the mould to reveal the plastic head cast inside.

Remove the tape which holds the mould together and stops the liquid coming out and take out the plastic head cast. This was such an exciting moment as the process is quite long and technical. It is great when you see the plastic head. Thoroughly enjoyed this and learnt loads. Never really done anything like this before. I decided this was the best method to use for one of Yessica’s heads.

The great thing about making a mould is that you can make as many heads as you want.

Cutting into the head using a scalpel knife

You can also cut into the plastic using a sharp knife because it is hollow.

Bowl of all the head testing on different materials and methods.

These are all the head tests I made using different materials and methods. I have learnt a lot and will be using a different material and method for the Magician’s head as it is much smaller. See previous blogs to see how I started. Please note you can also make a mould by using the more usual method of making a mould in two parts rather than one.

More Blogs to follow soon. Catching up as have not been very well recently.

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Author: Anastacia

I am a freelance Animator and Illustrator. I am a Director/Producer and Animator of the Yessica's Journey Animation Project

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