Faces, Casting

I just made some brush-on silicone molds with Smooth-On Rebound 25 for four of the faces I’ve been sculpting.

Ordinarily I’d cast these pieces in some kind of plastic resin. The problem is I wanted to make several of these, and the resin heats up when curing, which can warp the silicone mold. Plaster, another cheap alternative, does the same thing.  Eventually I settled on Creative Paperclay, which air-dries. It worked really well! The innermost parts of the mold, noses, brows, chins, were still wet when I pulled them out of the mold, but they held the shape and just needed to be exposed to air to dry.


I’m pretty pleased with the results. Now to paint ’em.


5 thoughts on “Faces, Casting

  1. Pingback: Work-in-Progress, Working Process | JFsculpts

  2. JF,
    Very intrigued with your 4-faces sculptures using PaperClay (instead of Plaster). This is Gary in Kansas City, and I do face castings from alginate. I have always used plaster to pour my final product, I love the internet because it gives people a way to display their awsome creativity. I am most curious about how you achieved your details with the hair and eyebrows? The only way I know to achieve that detail is if you carve the faces from a block of clay. That is, I know way to “cast” hair, using alginate. Which is it?

  3. Hi, Gary. Thanks for the questions!

    These actually aren’t life-casts, they’re original sculptures done in Super-Sculpey and Sculpey Firm. (I take it as a compliment if you thought they were life-casts!) Once the pieces were sculpted, I molded them in silicone as described above and made the final pieces in paperclay.

    I’ve done some life-casting in the past, both with plaster and alginate, and I have no way around the obstacles you’ve described, either (I… Can’t imagine how you’d cast someone with their eyes open!). Apparently Smooth-On makes a life-casting silicon, but I’ve never tried it: http://www.smooth-on.com/Life-Casting-Body-/c3_1184/index.html

    For your work, paperclay probably would work as a positive material inside a plaster mold, given adequate separator (I was taught to use tincture of green soap as a plaster separator and still do. A single bottle has lasted me a decade or more). Paperclay would be light and flexible, maybe too flexible, but you might have trouble getting it to dry in the deepest parts of the mold, like the tip of the nose or chin.

    Once again, thanks for the questions. I hope this information might be useful to you. Send me a link to some of your work if you’ve got pictures online!


  4. Jesse, Thanks for your comments on Super Sculpy. It definitely has a place in the sculpting I do. Thank you.
    Also, I have found a way to sculpt with the persons eyes …”open”. The procedure is quite simple once you hear the tip. Of course, you can’t cast someone with their eyes open, but the goal is to have them open in the final product. What I do is follow all the typical steps in casting a subject with alginate (the negative mold), but when I pour the positive mold with plaster, before it is cured (while it’s still pliable), I make a “surgical” cut, where the eyelids meet, and gently push open the upper eyelid. It works amazingly well. If the eyelid puckers too much, and looks distorted, you can carefully cut away a section of the upper eyelid. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Plastic surgeons do it everyday (haha). There are then many options to form the eyeball. I can either cast a conical shaped eye from plaster to match a plaster face casting, or I can purchase fake replicas to match the eye color of the client (when making a flesh tone casting. I am in the process of having a Gallery produced, but I do have many links to a wide variety of things being done out there. Lastly, I do like the way you have set up to Respond and to leave a reply. Very professional.
    All the Best,
    Gary Henson

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