In 2003 I decided to do things a bit differently. One of my inspirations was a site called “www.extremepumpkins.com”. But mainly I just wanted to do try new things. One of the things I decided to try was to cast my own monster heads. This involves making a master (I used plasticine, existing skulls, foam heads, and a lot of bad thoughts), then coating it with plaster to make a mold, then filling the mold up with something to make the final product. As casting materials I used expanding foam (the foam-in-a-can stuff normally used for filling cracks) and liquid latex. The results were … hmm, well, interesting. Nothing really worked quite the way the books said it should, but I’m not too unhappy with the results. It was all a “learning experience”, and it was fun. Another “new thing” was carving pumpkins. I haven’t done this quite literally in decades (!), so I decided to do six of ’em.
One suggestion for anyone wishing to make plaster molds … make your first ones from SMALL items. Full-sized heads are *not* small. The amount of plaster is rather large, and heavy. Wet plaster is either too runny or rapidly turning hard … there is a magic moment where it is perfect, but you won’t find it on your first (or second) attempt. Wet plaster is *messy*, and tends to fly everywhere. Oh, and did I mention how heavy it gets?
Here’s an overview of my creations.
|A right rum lot, wouldn’t you say? The top row is “don’t play with plastic bags”, and “I’ve got a splitting headache”.
The middle row are “evil eyes are watching you”.
The bottom row is “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”, and “Tux” (the official mascot of the Linux operating system).
|The liquid latex was used to coat the inside of the plaster mold, then carefully peeled off. Well, that’s the way is was *supposed* to work. At least I got two cast heads, and with a bit of paint they look pretty nasty. Well, in a dim light anyways. The one on the right-hand-side is an expanding-foam cast. The other two are the latex ones.|
|Here’s a shot of how it was all put together. The “evil eyes” were on top of the porch (with flashing strobe lights inside), the plastic-bag-kid and splitting headache were on the lawn (with red glow-sticks inside), a few misc. things outside, and the rest were inside the porch. The Gargoyle was sitting inside the bay window, with a deep red light bottom-lighting him.|
|Here’s a closup of the outside pumpkins. The red glow from the glowsticks was really eerie. but doesn’t really show up in a flash picture.|
|One corner of the inside of the porch had severed heads with bits of internal organs (some leftover expanding-foam bits that looks rather interesting).|
|Another corner of the inside of the porch had a “hanging head” with a scrap of shroud (cheesecloth).|
|The creatures sitting on the hay bales. The pumpkin had a flashing strobe inside, and the devil-mask just kinda sat there smirking … although with the door-activated sounds, the effect as not too bad.|
|This was *supposed* to look like a head that had the skin ripped off, with some of the bloody bones showing, with one eye plucked out. The plucked eye was sitting next to it, as was some of the ripped-off skin (the “skin” was actually a failed latex cast, but why waste it?).|
|After a hard night, the creatures settled down to a “wrap party”. What a bunch of party animals! You can see here a few more of the creations. There’s a couple of plaster casts of a half-face mold, plus a couple of masks made from duct tape! One duct tape creation used a foam head as a mold, and the other was made using my own head. Don’t try the latter at home, boys & girls … leave that to the old fools who get rattled and tape over the breathing holes … with no-one around to help out.|
|This is the master for one of the heads. I used a foam wig-head, and then sculpted the features using plasticine.|
|And here is the start of making a mold of it. The mold is done in two parts, to allow the master to be removed. To make the copy, the two halves are placed together and the molding material poured in. One molding material is a foam-in-a-can expanding foam, which makes for a solid, light prop. Another way to do it is to pour in liquid latex to make a “skin” inside the mold. The result is a sort of “mask” that I typically put over a foam wig-head.|
|This is the master for another of the heads. I used a store-bought skull, and then added the features using plasticine.|
|And here is the start of making a mold of it. Again, the mold is done in two parts, to allow the master to be removed.|
|This is what it looks like with the top layer on. The second layer is put on when the first layer is dry, and a separator-layer (eg soap) is put between the two sections to make it easy to separate them.|