How to make your own Latex monster masks

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Back to page 1 (Sculpting
Making the mold
This is the point at which your mask project will become a success or utter failure.  I've experienced both.  When you fail at something just try to think of it as a chance to repeat all your hours of painstaking work for little or no added benefit other than the knowledge that you had the balls to complete the project.

After your sculpture is complete, build up about a 2" wall of clay around the head.  Start at the top and work your way down to just behind the ears.  Continue the wall down to your creature's neck.

Mix your first batch of plaster in a large bowl or bucket to a consistency a little thicker than pancake batter.  Coat the sculpture with hand soap to make de-molding easier.  Brush on the first coat (called the detail coat).  Make sure to spread the plaster over every surface.  The plaster may slide off the face because of the soap.  Don't worry.  Just keep dabbing it on.

Air trapped beneath the plaster will form cavities that will crack.  They may cause the mold to break at worst, or cause un-planned deformities and pimples.  You'll likely get fewer casts from your mold, too.  As the plaster begins to set up, work it with your fingers.  Press it, smooth it, make it conform to the face.

After the first coat is dry (about 24 hours), add a second coat.  After that is dry, soak strips of cloth in plaster and apply them in a crosshatch pattern over the entire face and neck.  This will add strength to the mold.

I added one more coat after the cloth strip coat.  I suppose you can add several more coats to make the thing really heavy but the first coat was the most important one, and if you screwed that one up you're doomed.  Give your creation at least 2 days to cure before attempting to de-mold.  

De-molding can be extremely frustrating.  Especially if you break the mold.  Don't expect the plaster to pull right off the armature.  In fact, sacrifice the styrofoam head.  They only cost about $3.00  When you get all the styrofoam out, the clay will easily peel away from the cured plaster.

 Continue to page 3 (Pouring the Latex)

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