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Thread: How to make a Lifesize fiberglass character?

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  1. Default How to make a Lifesize fiberglass character? 
    #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Posts
    86
    Ok so my friend is an artist and im better at the hands on making of stuff. I have experience making molds of masks and lifecasts and what not. He asked me if I could take one of his drawings and turn it into like a 5 1/2 - 6 foot statue out of fiberglass. My question is how do i go about doing this? Do i have to sculpt a 6 foot monster and make a HUUUUGE mold or what? Any help would be amazing! Id like to have it finished by summer.

    Thanks,
    Brady
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Luray, VA
    Posts
    695
    You could just sculpt it in Styrofoam/ EPS foam then coat it in fiberglass. You will have to cover the sculpted foam in aluminum foil before coating it with fiberglass. The fiberglass resin will eat the foam if you do not. Or if it doesn't have to be fiberglass you could use something else to coat the foam that wouldn't melt it, but would give you a relatively hard coat.

    Louis Brown
    Owner, operator, and dish washer
    at
    DarkWood Manor
     

  3. Default Don't breathe the Fumes. 
    #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,842
    Investigate the need for a resperator when doing fiberglass. Liver damage? death? Play safe.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Greenwich, CT
    Posts
    187
    I'd definitely recommend making it out of coated eps over fiberglass if you have that option, you'll be able to do more detail with far less work. Fiberglass you'd definitely want to make a mold first if you want the surface to be uniform. and TOTALLY take jims advice on the respirator... eye protection while you're mixing too. ive heard some horror stories of shop assistants going blind from the catylist. *shudder*

    I work with fiberglass quite regularly now, but a year ago i had never touched it. ITS NOT FUN STUFF. at all. in fact, its the only thing about fx work that i hate.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    I have switched almost exclusively to resin, not quite twice the price but NO FUMES!
    Can you show us a picture of the character so we can give better advice?
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Greenwich, CT
    Posts
    187
    Im interested lol! what kind of resin are you using? and just resin or are you imbedding fiberglass or some kind of filler in there to strengthen it? If i can find a viable alternative to fiberglass work i'm totally going to take it. HATE the stuff. (slivers and fumes specifically.)
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Luray, VA
    Posts
    695
    I think Allen is referring to epoxy resin rather than polyester or vinylester resin that is typically used with fiberglass matting. You use epoxy resin the with fiberglass matting the same way. It is just less stinky and more expensive, but worth it.

    Louis Brown
    Owner, operator, and dish washer
    at
    DarkWood Manor
     

  8. Default ooooOOOOOOooooo THAT Kinda resin... 
    #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Greenwich, CT
    Posts
    187
    Ah i'm on track again here lol. Actually thats what i've been using, specifically epoxymate 101 fast from smooth-on/reynolds advanced materials... i still find it HORRIBLY stinky, headache inducing, noxiously fumy, poentially-extremely-hazardous stuff. cant even imagine the worse, but boy do i love my respirator! LOL

    I thought he was doing like a quickcast epoxy resin pour-on/brush-on type mold minus the matting... which sounds like a dream, i just cant really afford to waste my roll of matting and gallon of laminating resin to complete and total abandonment LOL! If anyone knows of a rubber mold material compatable with dragonskin LET ME KNOW! PLEASE!!! id totally rather be using a minimally flexible rubber/plastic vs fiberglass for my mask molds but the thought of trial and error doesnt sound fun or cheap.

    back to the thread topic though... any chance we could get a rough sketch of what you're trying to do? it would be a whole lot easier to advise you, like allen mentioned, if we had some sort of visual...
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Luray, VA
    Posts
    695
    I assume that is what he was talking about.
    Sorry to veer off topic, but if you are making molds for masks, and you want to avoid the toxic funk, I suggest you try making your molds out of hydrocal FGR and a fiberglass matting that is designed to break down its bonds in gypsum such as Aqua-Veil. You can make molds that are a half to 3/4 inch thick and they hold up pretty well. I wouldn't use it for large production runs, but it is what I use to make silicone masks for my haunt. Bob Gorman the guy who makes the costumes for Gwar told me about it. That is how he makes all the slip cast molds for the Gwar costumes.

    Louis Brown
    Owner, operator, and dish washer
    at
    DarkWood Manor
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Greenwich, CT
    Posts
    187
    not a bad idea at all. Ive never heard of Aquaveil. Ususally i use burlap or hemp in my gypsum molds. Im, unexpectedly and suddenly, in talks with an established haunt vendor to distribute my masks and props, so i really cant afford to chance it with a gypsum mold for these. for small runs sure, gypsum is awesome! lol but these are going to have to last for as long as humanly possible. for now its gonna be a few more weeks of fumes and slivers. LOL
     

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