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Using Liquid Latex for Large Props

8532 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Bruzilla
I was considering using liquid latex to create wings for a demon prop this year. I've never used it before, can someone who's used it for anything similar sized please let me know if I'm off track?

If I create an outline of a wing on the garage floor, pour liquid latex & allow to dry, will it lift up? Or will I have a big sticky mess?
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I would advise against using latex. When you're making wings, there are two critical issues you have to deal with: gravity and wind. You are always going to have gravity pulling down on the wings, and latex will eventually tear. Worse, latex that is thick enough for what you want is heavy, and the heavier the wing is, the heavier your struts and mountings are going to need to be. You also have to deal with wind, which can be as little as the breeze from an A/C vent. Wind pushes laterally against the wings, and coupled with gravity places even more stress on the wing material.

The best wing material I've found is a brown nylon shower curtain. They are lightweight, about impossible to tear, paintable, waterproof, and cheap. :) We made the wings for our Jeepers Creepers Creeper out of two curtains and some PVC pipe. We used red and blue Sharpie markers to draw on veins and arteries and used flat dark brown and black spray paint to add highlights:

They held up great, but as light as the PVC was, it made the wings too heavy. These are the Gen II wings we made, using 1/2" bamboo struts in place of the PVC. Made them much lighter and easier to handle. And as you can see in the two pictures, the reduced weight allowed us to angle the wings higher and look more imposing.

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What we did to deal with the wind is the wings attach to the figure using a board with six antenna clamps, three on each side. The wing arms are a "Z" shape, with one end of the "Z" being a pole that slides down into the antenna clamps. This enables the wings to move forwards about 20 degrees, and backwards a full 90 degrees, when the wind blows. We then have a bungy cord that connects the wings on the front and runs under his clothes to return the wings to their resting position.

Another thing you can do if you want to make the curtain fabric look more 3D is spray some Great Stuff foam on it, either in skinny trails to make it look like bulging veins, or spray on a mass and spread it thinly with a putty scraper. Then paint over it.

The bamboo can be ordered from Home Depot for about $30. The only problem is you order a pack of 30 or so 1/2" (or whatever diameter you choose) rods, but only about a third were actually 1/2". The rest were smaller, which would have been a big problem if we didn't need just eight. The nice thing with the bamboo is they give you a nice bony-kind of look. We considered using old fishing polls, but they are too perfect a line and don't look as natural.
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