Week 25 - Face Mask

Remember "The making of THRILLER" with Michael Jackson. Where the team of special effects guys poured goo on Michael's face to make a mold to make the werewolf mask for him?

Well, I decided that I wanted to try it out. So I went to on a hunt which led me to Pearl Paint on Canal Street where I bought 2 boxes of Alginate and a box of plaster. Alginate is a blue powder that when mixed with water, quickly goes from being a batter like liqiud to being a rubber like solid in about 5 minutes. It's what the fancy people use to do this kind of thing. And while I'm not fancy, I can at least have a little fun with it.

My friend Amy Niebel came over to help with the first step. And as you can see from the video below, our first attempt with me sitting in a chair didn't quite work out. Our mixture of Alginate was too watery, which led to a thin mask which didn't hold it's shape enough for step 2. Luckily I had bought two boxes.. and on the second attempt I laid on my back and had Amy pour the Alginate over my face. A couple of pieces of straw from the diner acted as my breathing tubes. For those of you who'd like to try this at home. A small paint bucket and a electric drill paint stirrer would be recommended.

Step 2 was to lay the finished negative down and pour in plaster to create a positive cast of my face. However we had a hard time getting it to sit right and be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the plaster without getting misshapen. The solution ended up being popcorn. We popped a bunch of popcorn into a plastic tub and used it as a base to lay the rubber negative in. I'm not sure what the pros do, but this worked like a charm.

15 minutes or so later, you work the mold off of the plaster and your done. Incidentally, plaster puts off a lot of heat while it's curing. Apparently the act of drying is an exothermic reaction, and if you get enough of it together, you've got to be careful about burns. See, you learn something from the 52 project too. ;-)