If 2014 was a year of travelling and creativity, 2015 was a bit of a flump. Various health-related things conspired to stop me making the things I wanted to make, but *touch wood* I’m starting to get back on track. In fact, I’ve been managing to get quite a bit done since the start of the year, but wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a passing phase before committing in writing!
I have new masks in the making, new techniques I’m trying and new projects on the horizon. Fingers crossed for 2016.
I’ve been making a mess today (just for a change) by experimenting and comparing two methods of silicone mould-making. I made a simple mask shape and a lone horn to cast. I used proper RTV silicone on the face and homemade Oogoo (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/) on the horn, and here are my thoughts so far:
RTV is much smoother and easier to handle, but requires sacrificial brushes, syringes and mixing cups, and very accurate catalyst measuring. This one needs 3% catalyst, which means measuring cubic centimetres using a very small syringe. The catalyst may also be reacting with the rubber seal as it makes the syringe rather hard to compress: I’ll try a pipette in future. Next time I’ll also get a batch of silicone with a really fast curing time… this lot had a pot life of 40 min which I thought would be great: I could take my time and not rush, especially as it’s my first attempt. However, turned out it took a whole afternoon of re-brushing the stuff up the cast every hour as it ran off and pooled around the edges. 7 hours later now and I think it’s just about starting to set!
It’s not very cheap: I got a small value-range pot for about £7 excluding the shipping, but I’ll probably have to buy a thickener as well if I want to use it in this way again.
Oogoo stinks to high heaven. Think salt and vinegar crisps, but you’re in the factory where they make them and you’ve just fallen into the vat of flavouring and discovered it’s actually all just very strong chemicals. I’ve had the windows open all day and as it’s winter I’ve been gradually putting on more and more clothes, praying I don’t have to answer the door looking like something from a nordic version of Breaking Bad in mask, goggles and 10 layers of cardigans, clutching a flask full of light-blue goo.
On the plus side, it requires no accurate measuring, it’s made from household ingredients (bathroom silicone and cornflour), cures pretty darned quickly, and peels straight off the mixing stick and pot when set so nothing gets thrown away (other than the gloves that it inevitably ends up on, no matter how careful you’re being). It’s so sticky though, like trying to handle sticky bread dough without any flour. I’ll have to wait and see if it’s made a decent mould or left a load of air gaps.
I’ve yet to compare the two cost-wise. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much in it, but then the RTV usually has a hefty shipping charge, and requires disposable paraphernalia as well. And it *is* only a thin coat that I’ve applied so far. If it works, it probably more than justifies the cost though, as it’s so much more well-suited to the task than the Oogoo. I’m also not yet sure whether the Oogoo would react badly with the clay that I use: I’ve heard the acetic acid it gives off can have that effect, and if it ruined the clay it would be rather an expensive mistake.