Special FX makeup course – Part 2: Sculpting and mould making

Sculpt pieces onto the face
Clay sculpted into the shape the prosthetics will be

Once you have a positive of your models face you sculpt your horror/creature on top of it (see previous post for casting). The clay we used is called Monster Clay and it’s amazing. You put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. If you want you can heat it even longer and work with it as a liquid and pour it into things to take their shape. When you’ve been working with it and it gets too hard you can use a hairdryer to soften it. It also mixes with alcohol so you can brush a bit on and it helps to blend the edges away so you get a smooth transition from the clay to the cast. I know I’m being an infomercial for Monster Clay but it is very cool stuff.

When you have the shape you add texture to the surface to make it more realistic. The clay kind of scuffs when you try to do fine detail so you put powder on it and then it holds together when you add texture. The powder was called Ben Nye Translucent Face Powder and you use it for heaps of stuff. My one mostly just needed skin texture, so I added lines (I ran a skewer along the surface with glad wrap between it and the clay). And tried to get it dimpled like pores are, for that I pressed sandpaper and an old brush against it with the glad wrap again.

Casting from the sculpture
Left: Clay is added to cover the parts you aren’t using and build a wall to hold the plaster in. Right: The plaster is poured in.

Once all the sculpting was done you have to get it ready to cast and make a mould from. Plaster sticks to plaster so you have to have minimal plaster from your positive showing. You cover over the bits that aren’t needed in your prosthetic with more clay (just cheap stuff – not the super exciting Monster Clay). And make a wall with clay to section off any parts you don’t need in the mould. The indent in the corner is a key to help you line up the two pieces when you put them together again later. You vaseline all the bits of plaster that are showing and pour in the plaster. When it’s set you pull it apart – that part isn’t so easy.

Then you scrape away all the clay that you just spend hours sculpting and you have a two part mould. Wooo! The prosthetic will fill in the space that the Monster Clay had been using.

Two piece mould
The two piece mould

Just a note about my one, all those bits on the forehead won’t be going there. Only two of those pieces are for the forehead, the other two go on the neck. I just needed somewhere to sculpt them onto and there was space there.

Next post: Part 3: Prosthetics and application