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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I've had an issue with the last two mask I've attempted to make. Well, actually its after I get done with the sculpting part.

My first attempt, I believe I didn't wait long enough to let the sculpting set up and I added the mold shortly after finishing my sculpting. I got tired out and only finished half the mold and came the next day to do the other half. Well, I believe now I wasn't suppose to do that. Anyway when I came back, my sculpting had cracked on the very top of its head about 4 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. So I figured I messed up by on two things.
1. I didn't wait for it to set up, and

2. I didn't complete the mold in one sitting

So, I start over learning from my mistakes, come out with an even better sculpt. Wasn't the best in the world, but for my 2nd time sculpting I was cool with it ( I'm my toughest critic btw)

Anyway, I took a break from sculpting for about 3 hours and came back and finished it up. No problem there, at least I don't think there was. Finished up about 4 am, and I thought giving it at least 24 hours to set up would be fine. Well I actually let it set up for about 32 hours, anyway I went to my room to start the mold and seen it had a huge crack on the top of it's head almost in the exact same spot as my first one.

I'm ticked and a little discouraged, but not defeated by a long shot. Can anyone please let me know where I went wrong. I'm very coachable so feel free to give any advice at all.

(PS, I was using water based clay )

Thanks

Capn B
 

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Hey, Capn B.

I've used water based clay (WED clay). With that type of clay, it's going to shrink a bit as it dries out. If the clay shrinks around an armature, the clay will crack. It can even crack if the clay on the outside shrinks faster than the clay on the inside.

It is best to begin your molding as soon as you're finished sculpting. If I expect there to be some time period, either between sculpting sessions or between sculpting and molding, I'll spritz the sculpt with a little bit of water, and put a plastic trash bag over it, sealing it as air-tight as possible.

You shouldn't really be waiting for your sculpt to "set up". It's ready to mold when you're finished sculpting.

Hopefully, Mr Chicken can chime in and correct me if I'm wrong. He's the sculpting/molding/casting guru around here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the knowledge, I believe that's the root to my problem. Letting it set up, and letting the sculptor be exposed to the air.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My other question would be how thick should the clay be when I apply it to the armature, Allen Hopp said he uses 1/2 inch slabs to put on it, what's your opinion on it
 

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That really depends on the size of the armature vs. the size of the sculpture.
I usually bulk out my sculptures with slabs around 1/2 inch. That doesn't mean that the clay is always 1/2 inch thick. It will be be shallower or deeper depending on the needs of the sculpture.
As long as it's not allowed to dry out and crack prior to molding,
But, you're right, the shallower the clay is around the armature, the more quickly it will dry out.
You just need to either keep it moist, or do the mold quickly after sculpting.
 

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You might want to invest in some monster makers clay. You won't have that problem anymore and you won't look back. You can use the water based clay to part your mold.
 

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Running you mold before your water base clay dries is the secret , although I use an oil base Plastilina clay for sculpting and it does not dry and you can reuse it over and over forever . The only issue is that you need to have a lot of clay to complete a head size sculpt . Once you have that much on hand you have it forever. You can sculpt anytime you want and leave it uncovered and come back to it. Never dries out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Running you mold before your water base clay dries is the secret , although I use an oil base Plastilina clay for sculpting and it does not dry and you can reuse it over and over forever . The only issue is that you need to have a lot of clay to complete a head size sculpt . Once you have that much on hand you have it forever. You can sculpt anytime you want and leave it uncovered and come back to it. Never dries out.
Never heard of this kind of clay, is that something you can get at any local pottery store ? Because that is very intriguing if so, save a lot of money that way. Also, does it do okay with latex?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You might want to invest in some monster makers clay. You won't have that problem anymore and you won't look back. You can use the water based clay to part your mold.
Yeah, that's were I got my armature and latex from and a few videos. Shipping is a beast though, that's the only negative thing I can say about that place. I wish they would expand further southeast, and maybe 20 min from my house:)
 

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Hey Capn B, I got all mine years ago at the "Sculpture House" in NYC. I'm not sure if they are still around but you can google to check. The way it works is you would sculpt with the oil base Plastilina clay and then make your Plaster or Hydracal mold off that clay sculpt. The oil base clay pulls out or the plaster mold pretty easy.
 

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Hey! Mask making is a learning process. Between sculpting , and making a stone mold can be overwhelming at first. After a while it becomes seconded nature. I have made several stone molds using both Hydrocal and Ultracal. When making the types if molds you should make sure to reinforce them with kemp or burlap . This will help your mold from cracking. I would not let your mold sit over night or for hours on end before you complete the other side. I have never heard of Wed clay shrinking. . You have to keep the clay most so it won't crack. The reason your sculpt is cracking is because it's "Too Dried Out"! Professionals will recommend you seal your sculpt with Krylon Crystal Clear. This will help seal the sculpt and keep it in tact while you mold the sculpt. I have used this method for years and it has always worked for me. I would though invest in either Monster Clay or Chavant Nsp Medium. They are oil based clays and NEVER DRY OUT! You can use them over and over again! I have been using them for the past year and they are Awesome! I will never use wed clay again! Here is a sculpt I is in Chavant NSP. Once you try it you will never go back! Hope this helps.
 

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