Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!

Macbeth’s head

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So far… this is what has happened.  Took an impression of Derek’s face… took about an hour all told, with pulling his hair back, covering it, covering his lashes and eyebrows with cold cream, wrapping his hair-line with Saran Wrap… then mixing my pre-measured alginate and water, applying the alginate and then several layers of plaster bandages and some burlap.  Then waiting for it to dry enough to remove.

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It came off easily.  Derek left.

I then gave the alginate a few minutes to cure while I cleaned up the mess.  Then I painted the inside with red liquid latex.  I used red because I had a couple of bottles of it  – although, it did really help to see the edges when I was removing it from the mould!

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I let it dry in stages balanced on a cake cover.  I was stuffing cotton balls into the crevasses – the eye sockets, the nose, the chin, etc. and soaking with latex so the rubber would hold the shape once it came out of the mould.

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Then I shoved a styrofoam head into it!  I switched to the blue liquid latex as I’d used up all the red – Tena pads really soak up the latex!  I was using absorbent pads to stuff in around the head to fill in the voids, then soaking them with latex.  The goal is to keep this light and solid.  The styrofoam head had a hole in the base already so I used a carving knife through the top of the head to make an opening all the way through and sealed up the crumbling bits with latex.  I sat it in the bathroom where it is very warm to dry out a bit… and clean up again as I spilled blue latex all over my lap, the chair and the floor.  Luckily I’d left the drop cloth down from the other mess… but… the chair, unfortunately now has a blue stain.  Oh, and my underwear were attached to my, um, stomach, yeah, my stomach… kinda hurt pulling them off later.

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Next step was getting it out of the cast… which is very, very important and stressful!  If it didn’t come out or the alginate wouldn’t separate from the latex I would have a big problem.  I had done a test with the latex and alginate the day before and the latex peeled right off but that was flat…this had nooks and crannies to deal with.  I covered my hands with baby powder and started easing the edges of the latex away from the alginate… I had to be careful as I wanted the styrofoam head to stay connected as that was going to keep the face in the right shape.  It took a long time as I had to work around the edges which were pretty thin, until I got the “pop” of sections separating.  I kept adding powder to keep the latex from sticking to itself – if it does that, total disaster!

It took a lot of work to get the nose loose.  That area was a bit messy as the nostrils were left open (so Derek could breath) during the casting process, and the latex had “bled” out the holes, so it did not want to let go.  Finally it did and that area will need a lot of attention.  I trimmed off a fair bit to get the nose close to normal.

It all came out great though!  I cut the mouth open and stuffed a ton of tissues and more padding into the face to fill out the cheeks, the eyes, the nose and the mouth area – while the inside latex was still damp.

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And that’s the stage it is at now.  I needed to let the latex completely dry before continuing on.  Now I need to attach the rope which will be hidden when done, that will support the head being held up.  I have to design a way to secure it for repeated use without pulling through the head or crumbling the styrofoam.  Then, more padding to build up the shape of the head, then seal it all, paint it, lay the hair, and figure out how to make blood drip out on stage!

Dress rehearsal is March 31 so I have a couple of weeks to get it finished.

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