Here is the process for making functional (not artistic) positive plaster face casts for mask making.
You will need:
- Plaster of Paris
- A large table
- Large plastic (or rubber) bowls or buckets (to mix plaster of Paris)
- Old towels, bed sheets or plastic to cover clothes and table
- Padding to rest head and/or body
- Plaster bandages (the kind used for broken limbs) You will need about two rolls per face.
- Cellophane (clear plastic wrapping)
- Plastic bowls for water and pieces plaster bandages
- Scissors for cutting bandages
- A friend to help
- Cut plaster bandages in strips of varying sizes.
- Stretch cellophane over the head of the victim… uh… participant. Pull very tight so it flattens the hair to the skull. A tight bathing/swimming cap can also be used. Try to minimize wrinkles.
- Vaseline face covering eyebrows and any hair on the sides very well. Beard too if applicable. Don’t Vaseline eye-lashes yet.
- Lie person on table and make them comfortable.
- Dip plaster bandages in water and shake off excess.
- Apply larger pieces to larger areas and small ones around facial features.
- Once applied, rub wet bandage with finger to fill plaster into all the holes.
- Leave nostrils free but you can put a thin strip down the middle if the person feels comfortable.
- Do eyes last, covering eye lashes completely with Vaseline. Eyes should be closed tightly but relaxed.
- Apply 2 even layers in the middle and 3 around the edge and on the nose.
- The bandages should go to where the chin meets the next, to the ears and to the middle (top) of the head.
- Keep asking them if they feel alright and re-assuring them that everything is fine. If they feel comfortable, it is also a nice experience to turn off the lights and leave them alone for a little while.
- After bandages are dry, (about 20 minutes) sit the person up and ask them to move their face around to free parts of the mask. Then they should pull the rest away with their hands.
- Clean up the face
- The nose holes can be filled by putting bandages on the outside and pushing them up into the nostrils a bit.
Okay, now you have a negative cast and it’s time to make the positive:
- Add a bit more Vaseline to the inside of the cast.
- Make a secure nest for the cast like a box with towels or a sand box.
- Mix the powdered plaster as to the instructions. Get all the dry lumps out but remember that the more you mix, the faster it begins to set.
- Pour the liquid plaster gently into the negative mould and fill it up, or make the fullest place at the forehead.
- Scratch in info into partially dry plaster if desired
- Leave to dry at least an hour or longer if you have time.
- Remove positive form from negative by pulling away the sides and turning it over.
Voila! A life cast!