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Casting - Process Pt. 2

The casting process winds down with a few more steps. The main purpose here is to let the cast cure, and then to clean it up in preparation for painting.

Step 7 - Pulling the Cast

Here our goal is to remove the cast from the mold. It is important to remove the cast from the mold before the cast sets up and cures. When latex cures it will take on whatever shape or form it is and remain that way for life. A common mistake can be to leave the mask to cure inside the mold, with the thought that it will keep the shape of the original sculpt. This would be the case, however, the latex cast will shrink slightly and pull away from the mold (usually in the back of the head, or areas with less detail) when this happens your mask will end up with a misshapen or dented head.

Pulling the cast can sometimes be a pain. Depending on the sculpt and the undercuts, as well as the thickness of the cast, the process can turn into quite a fight!

The best advice I can give is to loosen as much of the cast as possible by hand, and then shake the cast in the mold vigorously. It can take awhile, but eventually youíll get it!

I will let my cast sit a good 24 hours and finish curing before I touch it again. I typically will hang my mask from the rafters. I find I can hang dozens of masks this way without taking up any valuable workshop space.

Step 8 - Seaming & Trimming

The second to last step in the casting process is to eliminate any sign of a seam. This is done in two steps:

1- Taking Down the Seam- this is done with a rotary tool. I use a little Ryobi that Iíve had for over ten years and shows no signs of quitting on me! It takes an assortment of Dremel felt polishing pads. Felt pads work out well for quickly taking down flashing on a seam.

2- Blend the Seam I then use a small plastic bottle of latex to smooth out and blend in any areas that Iíve used the rotary tool on. I just pat a small trail of latex in with the sponge and try to break up the felt pattern and blend it in with the skin texture. I may have to do this 2-3 times to get the texture Iím looking for. You can always use a hair dryer to speed up the process.

The next step in the process is to patch any major holes caused by air bubbles. Again, I will use my small plastic bottle to fill in any holes with small drops of latex that will dry and remove any sign of a blemish. Even a really good cast will still have a few spots that need filling.

Finally, the last step in the process is to trim away any extra latex at the base of the cast with a pair of scissors.;

After everything dries, weíre ready to start painting!