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Hey gang. So I've finally taken the leap into sculpting. My Monster makers head form and monster clay came in the mail this week, and I got right to it. I'm nearing the end of my first mask sculpt, and after hours of work, to my surprise, I'm actually kind of proud of it!
But I'm having some trouble. I've been trying to decide what material I want to cast it out of. I have some latex I could use, but I hate latex masks due to their lack of flexibility and ability to emote (like silicone). Ideally I want to use silicone, but I know casting masks in silicone is quite difficult, and there's a lot more that goes into it than you think.
I was at a monster convention this weekend (monsterpalooza), and I talked to the owner of Immortal Masks, and he strongly discouraged me from trying silicone, but, I don't like to listen to people who say "it can't be done."
That being said, I want to make the wisest decision possible, and explore all my options.

1. Latex: I very much dislike latex masks, and the material in general. I want a higher quality mask and I'm willing to dish out the money to achieve that higher quality. However, it's cheap, and I already have enough liquid latex to cast with.

2. Silicone: This is the ideal material, but it's very possible that it simply won't work with just a mold of the sculpt (or at least fit and work properly). George from immortal Masks talked to me about the long arduous process of molding their sculpts and their "cores" and lots of other things I don't quite understand. Also, painting silicone is very difficult (needing to use pigments etc), and I don't know how I will achieve the paint job I want. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

3. Urethane: This is an oil based material, and there are some toxics in it. However, I've heard that once it cures and all the gases are released, it is no longer harmful. But I want to be safe. I've never seen any urethane masks, except some latex masks backed with urethane flex foam.
A friend and I have been making props with a liquid urethane material that acts much like silicone. Once cured, it is very fleshy and a bit elastic. It's very nice and quite durable. It would work very well to make a mask out of this urethane, and it is cheaper than silicone, and it would act very similarly. But I don't know enough about it to know if it is safe or not to wear directly on the skin and breathe inside of. Does anybody know anything about this?

Here is the latest stage of my mask sculpt. Also, any suggestions on the best way to mold it? Materials?

image.jpg
 

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Scared Silly
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Urethanes? Don't do it. Technically it doesn't continue to release toxins after curing, but in reality the material traps the toxins inside, and you can run into some serious issues. It's a nasty material that can give you permanent damage if not used very cautiously.

I agree that you shouldn't use silicone if you haven't done your time making latex masks. IF you really want this mask to be silicone, sculpt another one to make in latex first. It would be terrible to mess up a silicone mask, because you'll have a lot invested in it. At least if you have a trial run with latex and hydrocal, you'll not lose too much if it all goes south. But more importantly you'll start to learn what works and what doesn't.

Keep in mind also that a silicone mask will need a core, and I don't know if the one you're sculpting on is advisable for use in this way.

And back to the costs, you can make a latex mask for $100 and have enough material to sculpt, mold, and cast a dozen more. With silicone, each casting will cost that much, not counting the molding materials.
 
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