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Ghost Maker
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a latex mold of a skull, with seperate head and jaw pieces, and it's time to start casting skulls. Question is, whats better, plaster or paper mache?

It seems like plaster (http://wolfstone.halloweenhost.com/HalloweenTech/cstskl_CastPlasterSkulls.html would be good for building groundbreakers and things like that, and would be easier to cast then paper mache, and would be stronger but more brittle.

On the other hand, I think using paper mache like Vlad posted would make skulls that could be cut and sectioned for things like imbedding them in walls, and probably ground breakers also. It seems like more work making the casts, but the casts would not break when dropped(?).

Any ideas out there?
 

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I can't even remember the last time I had a chance to seriously talk molding and casting, lol.
Plaster castings have the advantage of being able to be mass produced quickly and cheaply, and they transfer good detail from the mold. I would consider their main uses as lab scene specimens, lit with LED eyes on the ground to light walkways, and/or pillar and column toppings. Here are a few that I sent to Pat at Castle Nottingham, and he surprised me by using them as his main gate toppers. >>>>
http://www.castlenottingham.com/ArchSkull.jpg
or here, where I'm using them as cemetery column tops>>>>>
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v194/TerrorOnBeechwood1/Linked/P2140036.jpg
They also are indeed breakable, and unless well sealed, will break down under moisture. I would never consider them in use of anything animated.
Paper mache skulls have the advantage of being cheaply produced, but it is definitely a time consuming process. Not so much the manufacture of them, but their drying time in the mold if you are casting them. Mold cast skulls also pick up great detail compared to the paper mache skulls that are cast on the "outside" of a skull. Paper mache skulls are easily adapted to almost any use if properly sealed against the weather. Here are some I left laying around in one of my castles interior rooms. I rightly assumed that people would be picking them up, and or dropping them, and a paper mache skull is hard as a rock, but not brittle.>>>>>>>>>>>
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v194/TerrorOnBeechwood1/Halloween%202005/P2140033.jpg
The missing element of the question of home cast skulls, are those cast from 2 part foam. I've modified my standard design latex skull molds to use the foam, and the skulls are more than suited to any and every use. The downside, is that they aren't cheap. I think we estimated the cost at about $5 or so each. But they do pick up good detail from the mold, and are completely weatherproof, but you should paint them so the sun doesn't degrade them.
 

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Ghost Maker
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Discussion Starter #4
I tried to use paper mache and tissue, and it was painful, and it is still drying but I don't think it is going to turn out. While I was struggling with the tissue, I was thinking that paper mache pulp may be he way to go. Anybody tried that?
 

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I keep running into the same problem of johnny I can't chose between paper meche and plaster...

I keep on ending up with paper meche because I can't find plaster anywhere...If anyone knows a website or a store that has plaster at a reasonable price please let me know...johnny said that he stuggled with the paper and tissue does that mean I should use plaster???Thanks in advance...
 

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Like Vlad I go both ways....aaaaa.....I mean I use plaster skulls for ground work. Mass skulls. But for groundbreakers and scarecrows I go with paper mache. I need those open jaw bad boys and you cant get that with plaster. I pretty much went the Spookyblue route as far as recipe and technique.
 

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Ghost Maker
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Discussion Starter #10
In addition to Dead Spider, Stolloween has a great approach for pulp, and krough has done a lot of work with elmers glue/water/paper towel mache, plus other materials such as sculpt or coat. I dropped the idea of making skulls like this and instead I use tin foil over a skull and paper mache over that; this works well if you need a skull for a form and are not worried about detail (which is the case for me).

If you want detailed results I would look into what scourge999 has done.

One final thought, I now own a ton of styrofoam and plastic skulls I have picked up dirt cheap at after Halloween clearance sales.
 

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I've been wondering about latex as a first layer to capture detail then Great Stuff foam for the filling. Has anybody tried this approach?
 

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Fritz, unless you encase the thin latex in a mother mold, the great stuff will expand the latex and distort all the detail.
 

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If you have the money to burn and want really detailed skulls, then molded foam or resin skulls are probably the best. You can do it with plaster also, but they are heavy and brittle and I personally would rather not mess with them.

I prefer paper mache clones with added detail using pulp mache or creative paperclay. You clone your favorite skull pretty quickly using SpookyBlue's technique. Then build up and change the look of your clone using paperclay or pulp mache.

Big advantage is the skulls will be very light and somewhat rugged. Not to mention cheap to make. Did I mention they are CHEAP? Oh, and don't forget these are very CHEAP. You know, CHEAP is good right? :D

Here are a few I've made in the past:







Plus, no need for expensive latex. Just about anything you can do when corpsing with latex, you can do with paper mache.
 

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Capt'n Pirate MacGyver
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I prefer paper mache clones with added detail using pulp mache or creative paperclay. You clone your favorite skull pretty quickly using SpookyBlue's technique. Then build up and change the look of your clone using paperclay or pulp mache.
That was the method I used for my skull ... quick to build the foundation, then added paper-clay for details.



They are very light and take most any type of covering you want to throw over it.
 

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Fritz, unless you encase the thin latex in a mother mold, the great stuff will expand the latex and distort all the detail.
I was thinking about an outer 2 part mold made from plaster of paris.

Pour latex in and swirl it around - pour the excess out and let it dry. Do this a couple of times to get a good layer. Then with the master mold still in place, gradually fill the inside with great stuff and leave it harden off. Seperate the 2 halves and you have a latex outer skull with solid great stuff core.

The outer molds should be quick n relatively easy to make, you wouldn't use much latex for the skin and great stuff is quite cheap.
 
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