File puptcrit/puptcrit.0606, message 124

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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 18:41:26 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] moldmaking learning curve

Tonight I'm going for the second attempt at molding my puppet heads for this movie I've done moldmaking before, but not that much. and never for a head that is about 2 inches high.
Detail is crucial. Fuzyness is a no-no.

I'm switching to the Rufus Rose string method. I've tried it before, it works. If you are careful and have good timing.

Someone on this list explained it to me. If he is willing to explain or repost (I don't have the original message he sent me), I'm sure many will appreciate.
I think he's very busy these days, so that's why I don't dare tell his name, for fear of heavy solicitation...

Pardon my basic view of the technique, I still need to learn more about it to refine it.
My model is plastalina, but this works too with regular clay.
It consists of laying very fine string (fine fishing line, or even dental floss) over the separation lines you have planned to make the separate pieces of your mold.
Make sure the string is flush with the surface of the model.
Make each cut as a single string, and identify each, and number them to know which to pull up first later. Each string should be long enough to be reacheable away from he mold. 

Basically, you just pour some well mixed (but not too vigoursly!) plaster over the entire object.
For complex shapes, you might still need to make a clay wall around the base.
And to limit plaster spread in the case of a more than two part mold.

When the plaster is firm but not too hard, pull each string slowly, creating the separation lines.
Someone reccomended that I wiggle the strings a bit, but only when i,m sure the string is away from the face, to create a "key" system that will keep the mold closed properly later. 

The subtle problem of this method is the thickness of the string. If you work medium to big scale, no problem. But for very small scale, the width of a string can make a whole difference when separating the face in half in the mold. Plan ahead in this case, and add that thicknes into your design before molding,.

The mold might be stuck together at first, depending on when and how you pull the strings. A very blunt tool should be used to gently pry open the mold. In case of lots of resistance, I'd reccomend waiting for when the mold is completely hard, in order to avoid breakage.

I've used this method a lot lately for my maskmaking.
The difference is that I glued the molds back together since my paper mache strip method is flexible enough to allow for easy removal.
Then why uise this method at all?
Simply to remove the mold without destroying the plaster cast of a face underneath the clay mask form.

Mathieu René Créaturiste
Marionnettes, Masques, Etcetera...
Puppets, Masks, Etcetera...
(514) 274-8027
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