If this looks lot a lot of instructions, its actually real easy. I just talk a lot.
You will need:
A plastic, vacuum formed skull decoration
Some Plaster of Paris
A Popsicle stick
First, I took an inexpensive vacuum formed plastic skull wall decoration, cut one off, flipped it over, and like magic, we now have a mold!
Next, I spread a very thin coat of petroleum jelly to aid in releasing the plaster from the mold. Keep it very light. (i'm not sure this step is even necessary, I do it just in case.)
Now, mix up some plaster. I made enough to fill the mold about halfway. We are not going to make these solid (that would be pretty heavy), instead, we are going to make them semi-hollow...we will do 2 pours (2 batches).
Pour in your first batch of plaster (I mix it like pancake batter consistency) and begin to tilt your mold in all directions- causing the plaster to get up the sides.( Do this over a garbage can or something, cause your bound to spill a bit. I also suggest wearing old clothing, or a shop apron like I do). Just do your best to get plaster to stick along all the sides...it gets easier to achieve as the plaster sets up and thickens. Keep tilting and swirling the mold around until the plaster's no longer a liquid. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so, while you cut a swatch of cheesecloth to lay into the next pour. (Set it into a bowl or something to keep your mold level).
Now lay the cheesecloth into the mold then pour in the next batch of plaster, repeating the tilting process. The cheesecloth greatly strengthens the plaster! Just like adding burlap to monster mud! (You can also use the excess cloth that hangs out to tug on as you remove the dried skull from the mold.) As the plaster sets, I use a Popsicle stick to kind of push the drying plaster up the sides. Just keep trying to build thickness up the sides, as gravity wants everything to collect in the middle at the nose.
Let it set for 1/2 hour or so. When it feels hot, its just the plaster setting (drying)...it cools back down.
Note: The mold looks full in the photo,like the skull will be solid, its actually not. Its just coating the sides and face.
Time to de-mold! Turn the mold over and tap lightly on the outside ( all around), I use a small screwdriver handle with a rubber coating to do this.. You want to get it to separate, and this is a good start. Flip it back over, and lightly tug at the cheesecloth. You will begin to see separation between the skull and the mold around the edges. I usually do this over a towel to cushion the skull in case I drop it! It fights a bit, but always comes out. Just take your time here.
Once its free, just trim the excess cloth, and smooth the rough edges with a little sandpaper or something and you have a new skull! At this point, you can add scratches, carve deeper spaces between the teeth, whatever... the plaster stays relatively "soft" for a while. Once it completely dries, It becomes quite light as well. The downside here is that they are fragile, the upside is they are CHEAP and EASY to make...so don't sweat it. I would guess about a dime each?
***Look how the inside of that mold appears to be looking to it's left, it will follow you around just like in the Haunted Mansion...isn't that just the greatest cheap illusion ever? ...Sorry, back on topic!
The one on the left is painted with el-cheapo craft paint (that's another tutorial) and sealed with Krylon matte clear coat. You could also just leave 'em white!
The possibilities are endless!! Glue 'em to your Tombstones, Make wall ornaments, embellish entryways, fences or even add some hair and corpse 'em out....I plan to!!
Yeah, they break! I broke this one the first time I tried all this. I squeezed the mold trying to separate it, and it crumbled. It hadnt dried long enough to de-mold either. Anyhow,I thought the the pieces still looked cool, so I dumped some extra plaster over some Popsicle sticks to make a stand, Glued the skull fragment to that and painted it. What can I say, I dont want to waste a whole dime!! Lol. The round base is just a little plaster I let dry in a margarine container.
ONE MORE TIP!!! This last photo is a different way to use the same "mold", only in reverse..You also use paper mache instead of plaster! Instead of using the inside of the mold, lay the wet mache over the "outside" of the mold, ( the positive, or front side) let it dry a bit, then just lift the skull off. Just cover the mold with cling wrap first to prevent sticking... These obviously dont break, and you can squish and distort features as they dry. This is painted the same way as the plaster... I dribbled hot glue all over it to make the "strands".