Halloween Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately this year a few of our rubber/latex props are starting to rot away because they're about 20 years old now. It really sucks because they mean a lot to me and some of them are extremely rare. Is there anything that can be done to prevent or stop them from decaying?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Following, I asked that question also. I hope you get more suggestions. I tried corps ing it. But mine are to far gone.
 

·
His name is Roger Clyne
Joined
·
10,344 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jukinjim- here are two examples. This first one is a very old rat prop that has been absolutely destroyed. I was able to find to find it online, and I don't plan on trying to repair it, lol. It's pretty hard in some spots.
latex example i.jpg

With this one it isn't as noticeable, but there are some tears in the pumpkin, and some discolored dots on the hat which are hard.
latex example ii.jpg
latex example iii.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
I've said this before, but I use a cleaner and UV protectant before I put latex props out (or up, even indoors) and again before I put them away. I use UV Tech, but there are almost certainly other brands that are just as good. It has penetrating oils, and sunscreen, so it prolongs the life of fiberglass, rubber, vinyl-- many plastics. It's made for marine applications (boating, surfing, snorkel and scuba gear), camping and other sports gear-- works great for latex props, in my experience.
While it will make little cracks less noticeable, of course it won't fix serious damage. But for the props you have that are still in great shape, it's an ounce of prevention that I recommend, and it should extend the lives of props with slight damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was looking around for more methods, and some guy said he coated a decaying mask of his with silicone and had no more problems. What would that do to the appearance of a prop/mask? Is it a good idea?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,392 Posts
The problem with latex deterioration isn't UV exposure or chemical reactions. It's evaporation. Latex is mostly water, and water evaporates over time. As the water evaporates, it's no longer there to bond the rest of the Latex elements together and the result is the item starts to fall apart. The only way to preserve latex is to seal it so the water cannot escape.

I was watching a show a couple of years ago about a guy who auctions off movie memorabilia in Hollywood, and on one of the shows he went to the house of a guy who had one of the original sleestak costumes from The Land of the Lost TV show. It was on a mannequin and on display. He had it sealed with something, but I can't remember what it was, but it made the costume very, very, glossy, which really ruined the look.

What I do is spray my latex props with Flex Seal spray rubber. When we built our Dog Soldiers werewolf a year ago, I used air dry clay for some of the details. As we all know, that stuff cracks as it dries. I used it to form some of the musculature on the lower chest, and it was about an inch thick, so I knew it was gonna crack as it dried. I let the clay get about 80% dry, and then put two coats of Flex Seal over it. A year later I can still push on the clay and feel it give just a tiny amount, so I know that water is still trapped inside, so I decided to spray that rubber on my latex Creature feet and some other latex pieces I have, then repaint them over the rubber.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Deterioration is caused by multiple factors. UV degradation is one. Evaporation of plasticizers is a thing, air pollution can have an effect-- whatever you use that can seal and protect your props is good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Deterioration is caused by multiple factors. UV degradation is one (try Googling UV degradation of latex. Yep.) Evaporation of plasticizers is a thing, air pollution can have an effect-- whatever you use that can seal and protect your props is good.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
1,348 Posts
Jukinjim- here are two examples. This first one is a very old rat prop that has been absolutely destroyed. I was able to find to find it online, and I don't plan on trying to repair it, lol. It's pretty hard in some spots.
View attachment 260332
The ideas on how to preserve latex over the long haul are pretty good, and there really is nothing else you can do except to keep the latex from drying out. That said, the rat... I wouldn't throw it out. I commented on a similar thread about using liquid latex to repair latex props, but the same approach will work for your rat if you get a bit inventive. The hardened foam and latex present a bit of a challenge, but really, you've got this horrific looking rat with his stomach ripped out already for making some nice looking guts to have spilling out of him.

Liquid latex can be used to make all manner of awful looking stuff, but even something as simple as laying out a couple of painted layers on a cookie sheet and then rolling them all together would make delightfully distasteful guts for a rat. Add a bit of blood... via whatever version you prefer... and you've got yourself one fine zombie rat.

If you're not into blood and guts, and we're not actually, You can still take that rat and gently add in some stuffing of your choice and gently glue the torn rat body back into place. Once that's done, a few coats of liquid latex can act to prep him for repainting. Admittedly, we're guys who tend to love keeping props around forever and just repurpose them as they age, but don't chuck that rat. He has too much potential.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Fantastic video. I have 2 props that are damaged that this would be great on but not sure they are worth the effort.... I have to get some of that black light brush on material though!!! Doing a jack o lantern with a damaged latex mask and that would be awesome on it!!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top