FOAM LATEX

GM Foam/Monster Makers Foam/Burman Foam

A typical batch of foam latex consists of:

■ 150 grams of high grade latex base

■ 30 grams of foaming agent

■ 15 grams of curing agent

■ 14 grams of gelling agent

There are other ingredients and quantities that can be added for different foam characteristics, but this is a good place to begin. As I mentioned in the text, this operation is time and temperature sensitive as well as humidity sensitive; opti­mal conditions would be in a room 69-72°F (20.6-22°C) with 45-55 percent humidity. I am based in Colorado, so I have humidity (rather, the lack of humidity) to contend with, as well as a higher elevation air pressure that also affects what I do. The "optimal" conditions are based on mixing at sea level; I’ll show a sched­ule for both sea level and high altitude, though most of you will probably be working at lower elevations.

Foam latex can be cured in molds made of a variety of materials, including Ultracal 30, dental stone, fiberglass, epoxy, silicone, aluminum, or even steel, and should only be mixed and cured in rooms with good ventilation; foam latex gives off unpleasant and unhealthy fumes.

Weigh the first three components—the latex base, the foaming agent and the curing agent—and add them to the mixing bowl. It would be great if you have an accurate digital gram scale. Weigh out the gelling agent into a small cup and set it aside. We won’t add that until we’re almost done mixing. If you’re adding pigment, put a few drops of your color into the bowl, too. Then place the mix­ing bowl into position and you are ready to begin. This first description will be a 12-minute mix. A timer that will count down is a plus, but if you can tell time and count, a clock or a watch will suffice.

1. For the first minute, mix the ingredients on speed 1.

2. For the next 4 minutes, whip the ingredients on speed 10. This will froth the foam and increase the volume (and lower the foam density) in the bowl. Gil Mosko, GM Foam’s founder, says to not be a slave to the schedule. All mixers run differently, and many conditions can affect how the foam will rise in the mixer. Once you understand how foam latex works, you will be able to adapt to any situation.

FOAM LATEX
Whipping the latex to a high volume lowers the foam’s density, which will result in a lighter foam and creates a foam that can be difficult (near impossible) to pour. This foam is more apt to trap air when transferring it into molds; this can be especially true when injecting the foam. All three latex manufacturers have a flow enhancer that makes it easier to pour high-volume foam with little or no effect on the gelling process.

What the high-speed mixing does in addition to creating high-volume foam is de-ammoniate the latex. Too much ammonia loss and your foam will gel too quickly; not enough ammonia loss and your foam might not gel at all. It might seem like you need a degree in chemistry to run foam (it certainly wouldn’t hurt), but that is why there is a mixing guideline to follow, so you don’t have to know specific pH values and other scientific-type stuff. Simply understanding the function of the ingredients and the stages of the process should be enough information to do some experimentation. Such as:

■ The foaming agent is a soap that bonds to the cells of the latex, lowering the surface tension of the latex and allowing it to froth and rise more easily.

■ The curing agent contains sulfur to help vulcanize—strengthen and add elasticity—the latex;

■ The gelling agent creates a reaction that changes the foam from a liquid into a solid.

Okay, back to the process:

3. Now, turn the speed down to 4 for 1 minute. This stage will begin to refine the foam, breaking up the biggest bubbles.

4. Turn the speed down to 1 for the last 4 minutes to further refine the foam. When there are 2 minutes left, begin adding the gelling agent and continue mixing until 12 minutes. It is critical that the gelling agent be mixed well, and depending on what mixer you use, the methods of assuring that the gelling agent is sufficiently mixed might vary.

5. At 12 minutes, turn off the mixer, remove the bowl, and you are ready to carefully fill your molds. Once the foam has gelled (you can tell by gently pressing on the foam; it should give a little, and bounce back) you can place the molds in the oven and heat them until the foam is fully cured.

NOTE

This recipe is the general one recommended by GM Foam at sea level. I suspect Monster Makers and Burman would concur. Check with each manufacturer to be certain.

I have had good results with these times, but I have also had disastrous results with these times; a movie I did recently in Colorado required numerous foam appliances, and the following mixing times worked beautifully every time and

FOAM LATEX

has become my high-altitude schedule with a KitchenAid mixer. It is a 9-minute schedule instead of a 12-minute schedule:

09:00

Speed 1

08:00

Speed 10

07:00

Speed 4

05:30

Speed 1

03:00

Speed 1—add gelling agent

00:00

Stop

The oven you cure the foam in should be capable of reaching 185oF (85oC). Small molds will most likely need only 2-2% hours; larger molds might need three to four hours. However, if the mold is thin—say, %-inch (5 mm) fiberglass—it can be baked at a much lower temperature for a longer period of time—140oF (60oC) for four to five hours. Even thicker gypsum molds will benefit from lower temperatures and longer times; for one thing, it’s less stressful on the molds, and you’ll get the added benefit of softer foam (without having to deal with a high – volume, nonpourable foam from the mixing stage). Monster Makers suggests trying a typical gypsum mold at 140oF (60oC) for 10 hours and comparing the feel of the resulting foam with foam run at a higher temperature for a shorter time using the same mold.

Once you determine that your foam is fully cured, turn off the oven and let the mold begin to cool. If you try to cool the molds too rapidly, they will crack and break; you do not want to rush the process! When the molds are still warm to the touch, you can carefully demold your appliances; they will come out more easily when warm rather than if you let the molds cool completely. Carefully pry the mold halves apart and help remove the appliance with the use of a blunt wooden tool (so you don’t scratch the mold’s surface detail), powdering as you go to keep the thin foam edges from sticking together.

After you’ve removed the appliance from the mold, it must be gently washed in warm water containing only a few drops of dishwashing liquid (I use either Ivory or Palmolive soap) to remove any residual sulfur from the curing agent. Repeat this procedure until there is no more visible residue in the water, then rinse until all the soap is gone, and gently squeeze out the water; you might want to use two towels to press the appliance between, then allow it to dry completely on the lifecast so that it will maintain its shape. When your appliance is com­pletely dry, it is ready to paint and apply or be stored in an airtight plastic bag for future use.

GELATiN

Just as there are different recipes for foam latex—though I only provided one in this appendix—there are also a number of gelatin recipes. Some include Sorbitol, some don’t; Sorbitol will add to the tear strength of the gelatin. I’ve seen a recipe that added Elmer’s Glue (white school glue), presumably for strength and stability; however, the more glue you use, the less elastic the gelatin will become.

FOAM LATEX
Here’s Matthew Mungle’s recipe:

■ 100 grams sorbitol (liquid)

■ 100 grams glycerin

■ 20-30 grams 300-bloom gelatin (the higher the bloom, the greater the tear resistance; the gelatin you can buy at your local supermarket has a bloom factor of 250-275)

■ Flocking or pigment for internal coloration

Procedure:

1. Mix the ingredients together in a microwave-safe bowl and let them sit, preferably overnight.

2. Heat in a microwave for approximately 2 minutes, mixing several times. Do not allow the mixture to bubble or foam, because that’s an indication that it’s about to burn. It will change color and leave undesirable bubbles in your finished appliance.

3. You can either fill a mold and cast your appliance, or pour the gelatin into a form and let it cool and cure for later use. Powder when it’s fully set.

Now Kevin Haney’s recipe:

■ 21 grams sorbitol (liquid)

■ 20 grams glycerin

■ 9-11 grams 300 bloom Gelatin

Up to / gram (/ tsp.) zinc oxide powder (zinc oxide will cause the opacity of the gelatin, as well as the tear resistance, to increase)

■ Flocking or pigment for internal coloration

Procedure:

1. Mix the ingredients together in a microwave-safe bowl and let sit, prefer­ably overnight.

2. Heat in a microwave for approximately 2 minutes, mixing several times. Do not allow the mixture to bubble or foam, because that’s an indication that it’s about to burn. It will change color and leave undesirable bubbles in your finished appliance.

NOTE

You can double or triple this formula. Very small or large batches aren’t as easy to mix up as a medium-sized one.

Thea’s recipe:

■ 80 grams sorbitol (1/s cup)

■ 80 grams glycerin (1/8/ cup)

■ 40 grams 300-bloom gelatin (1/8 cup)

■ Up to % gram (/ tsp.) zinc oxide powder

FOAM LATEX

NOTE

The weights are different but the volumes are actually the same on all 3 ingredients.

Add flocking to desired effect, about % tsp. or less if mixing colors. Add cosmetic pigment in your choice of flesh color. (You can also use cake makeup ground up finely.)

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix most of the sorbitol and glycerin. Leave a small amount of the sorbitol out so you can mix the zinc oxide into it before adding it all together.

Slowly add the gelatin to the sorbitol and glycerin mixture. Then add the zinc oxide mixed in the small amount of sorbitol and some flocking. If you are adding flesh pigment or red blood pigment (you can use any color), mix the pigment into a small amount of sorbitol before adding to the batch. Heat it in the microwave for another minute or two, stirring frequently, but be careful it doesn’t bubble over the container.

FOAMiNG GELATiN

Any of preceding above recipes will work for making the base gelatin for a foamed version of gelatin. You will notice that Kevin Haney’s recipe is about % of the other two, so take that into account.

■ 160 grams (/ cup) glycerin

■ 40 grams (1/s cup) 300-bloom gelatin

■ % gram (% tsp.) zinc oxide

■ % gram (% tsp.) tartaric acid

■ % gram (% tsp.) baking soda

The tartaric acid in Cream of Tartar is what adds volume to egg whites when they’re beaten. Baking soda reacts with the heat and with the tartaric acid to create carbon dioxide.

1. Mix the ingredients together (minus the tartaric acid and baking soda) in a microwave-safe bowl and let sit, preferably overnight.

2. Heat in a microwave for approximately 2 minutes, mixing several times. Do not allow the mixture to bubble or foam, because that’s an indication that it’s about to burn.

3. Add the tartaric acid and stir briskly.

4. Add the baking soda and stir again briskly, then let the gelatin mixture rise for about 30 seconds without stirring, until it stops rising.

5. Stir the foamed gelatin to refine it, heating a little if needed.

The foamed gelatin is ready to be poured into a prepared mold.

FOAM LATEX
BONDO

Mixing up a batch of bondo is about as easy as things get, but you do need to be mindful of working with Cab-O-Sil®; it is extremely light and will get airborne easily.

■ Pour Pros-Aide® adhesive into the container you will be using to mix bondo.

■ Carefully spoon a small amount of Cab-O-Sil® from its container into the Pros-Aide®.

■ Slowly stir with a small craft stick (popsicle stick) until the Cab-O-Sil® and Pros-Aide® are thoroughly mixed.

■ Add more Cab-O-Sil® and stir.

■ Repeat until it reaches the thickness that you want.

■ Cover to prevent the bondo from drying out.

If you are making bondo for 3D transfer or bondo appliances, you can add flocking or pigment along with the Cab-O-Sil®.

AGE STiPPLE

If you’d like to try your hand at something a little different than simply stretch­ing the skin and stippling on latex, here are a couple of recipes you can try for variety in your repertoire.

Premiere Products

PPI’s Green Marble SeLr ® is one way to approach subtle aging, but achieving the finished result also requires subtle painting. To turn Green Marble SeLr ® into an aging material, you must use the concentrate and not the spray; added to the Green Marble SeLr® is Attagel, a very fine clay powder used as a thixotropic agent in cosmetics.

Ratio (oz) of Attagel to Green Marble SeLr ®:

■ 1 oz. to 3 oz. heavy ager on most skin types

■ 1 oz. to 4 oz. medium-heavy ager

■ 1 oz. to 5 oz. medium-light ager

■ 1 oz. to 6 oz. light ager on most skin types

A 1:6 Attagel:Green Marble SeLr ® ratio will work as a fine-line wrinkle texture when used very lightly. Without affecting large wrinkles, this 1:6 formula changes the texture of the skin, which is excellent for subtle, closeup aging. The applica­tion technique works the same as with latex for stretch and stipple.

REPAiRS AND QUiCK FiXES

Depending on the thickness and placement of the ager, some areas of the face may crack or flake. This usually happens around the mouth, but repairs can be done quickly and easily using any of the following three methods:

FOAM LATEX

Paint 99 percent alcohol in the direction of the wrinkles.

■ Apply Telesis® thinner and/or acetone (faster) with a brush. Then apply only Green Marble Selr ® (use a brush, sponge or spray).

■ Reapply some of the original ager material.

TEMPORARY PATCHiNG

This technique is useful when you don’t have time to do a thorough repair. Temporary patching media include:

■ Oil-free sodium-based moisturizers

■ K-Y® jelly

■ 99 percent pure clear aloe.

REMOVAL

The best removal technique to dissolve Green Marble materials involves the use of isopropyl myristate or IPM gel, massaged with the fingers, into the skin. In addition, the finger-massage technique works exceptionally well around the eyes and is more comfortable for the actor.

Pros-Ager

I made up that name (at least I’ve never seen or heard it anywhere else before), but I didn’t make up the formula; it comes from Richard Corson. It’s a mixture of Pros-Aide® adhesive, acrylic matte medium (I use Liquitex liquid), and either pure talc or Cab-O-Sil® to thicken the mixture slightly. Too much of either talcum or Cab-O-Sil® will cause the mixture to remain white after it dries. You want it to dry relatively transparently so that it can be used over set foundation for a more natural aging technique.

Try mixing Pros-Aide® and Matte Medium 1:1 by volume. Thinner mixtures will result in finer wrinkles, whereas thicker mixtures will produce thicker, deeper wrinkles. Because Pros-Aide® is part of the solution, it will dry somewhat tacky, so it will need to be powdered.

Dick’s Ager

Years ago makeup pioneer Dick Smith created a latex wrinkle stipple formula that almost everybody has used at one time or another. It’s a mixture of high-grade foam latex base, pure talc, pulverized cake makeup foundation, gelatin, and water. Yum! Here’s the recipe from Richard Corson and James Glavan’s book, Stage Makeup:

■ 90 grams (100 ml) foam latex base

■ 10 grams (5 tsp.) pure talc U. S.P.

■ 6 grams (2 tsp.) loose powdered cake foundation (or pigmented powder)

■ 2 grams (У2 tsp.) Knox® unflavored gelatin (or 300-bloom gelatin if you have it)

■ 32.ml (3 Tbsp.) boiling distilled water

■ Acrylic gel medium (for medium stipple recipe)

■ Pliatex Casting Filler from Sculpture House (for heavy stipple)

Once this mixture is prepared, it must be stored in a refrigerator between uses. Because it contains gelatin, it must be heated until it liquefies for application. This recipe can be modified to create a light wrinkler, medium wrinkler, or heavy wrinkler. When you need something that will have a bit more sticking power, mix 1:1 Pros-Aide® and foam latex base.

Light recipe:

1. Mix talc, powdered foundation, and gelatin in small mixing bowl.

2. Add 3 Tbsp. boiling distilled water to the powders. Be sure to use distilled water; some tap water will change the pH of the latex and cause it to curdle. Add the water 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring after each, until the mixture is smooth.

3. Strain the latex through tulle or cheesecloth to remove lumps.

4. Slowly add the dissolved powder mixture to the latex, stirring quickly to avoid lumps.

5. Pour the mixture into 2 oz. or 3 oz. jars (plastic or glass); label them, including the date.

Medium recipe:

Подпись:FOAM LATEX
Combine the light recipe with either 60 grams of acrylic gel medium or 50 grams of gel medium and 3 Tbsp. of Cab-O-Sil®.

Stir small amounts of the light stipple into the gel medium until they are thoroughly mixed.

Pour into small jars and label with the date.

recipe:

Combine one part medium recipe by volume with one part Sculpture House Pliatex Casting Filler.

Pour into jars and label with the date.

should all be refrigerated after pouring into jars and sealed. Application of these formulas follows the same procedures and steps as for regular latex stipple.

H-10

I’m not sure what H-1 through H-9 were like, but H-10 is pretty cool. H-10 is a mixture of Gaf Quat and moustache wax heated and blended, then mixed with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol); it’s used to flatten hair around the hairline for bald cap applications. Here’s how to make it:

1. Heat 1 part moustache wax with 1 part Gaf Quat until both are melted. If you use a microwave, be careful not to overheat; the Gaf Quat will bubble and expand. Heat gradually.

2. When both the wax and the Gaf Quat are mixed completely, slowly add 1 part alcohol (all parts are by volume, not weight) until thoroughly mixed.

3. Before the mixture sets up, pour it into a small container with a lid.

FOAM LATEX

The H-10 can then be applied with a small dental spatula, old toothbrush, or your fingers. This stuff will hold hair in place in a typhoon; it’ll sure as heck keep hair in place for a bald cap application.

PAX Paint & PAX Medium

I know pax is Latin for peace, but does anyone know what PAX stands for other than perhaps Pros-Aide®/Acrylic MiX? Works for me, but I’m just guessing. Whatever the acronym, it’s good stuff and has been around for a while. It can be purchased in ready-made colors matched to William Tuttle and RCMA foundation shades, but it’s really easy to make yourself, too.

FOAM LATEX

PAX paint can be used directly on the skin, but is best used for painting appli­ances prior to application. Use good judgment regarding use on someone’s skin. To make your own opaque, flexible PAX paint, mix Pros-Aide® and acrylic art­ist paint (e. g., Liquitex) 1:1. Because it is a mixture of acrylic paint and a strong prosthetic adhesive, it can be somewhat stubborn to remove, so be careful about using it near sensitive areas of skin, such as around the eyes. PAX Paint can be altered and modified for considerable versatility by doing one or more of the following:

Whether you use PAX Paint, PAX Medium, or both, it dries with a bit of a shine and remains a bit tacky to the touch. It is a good idea to powder it with a translucent setting powder.

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Brush®, 24-25, 29, 118, 318

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[28]Avard T. Fairbanks and Eugene F. Fairbanks, Human Proportions for Artists (Fairbanks Art and Books, 2005).

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