Aim ahead

Although I’d been working on things over the past few weeks, I had begun to feel a little aimless when it came to future projects. So, during the week, I began putting down some ideas in a new sketch book and watching some other makers on You Tube. This really helped and by Saturday, I had quite a few ideas planned and was raring to go.

First though, I would work towards finishing projects I had started.

I began by painting my spaceship made from scrap plastic. The original idea to colour it dark bronze went out of the window, when I found that somehow the spray can had rusted. Well not the whole can, just the seal.

Paint job 2 involved coating it with chrome followed by a wash of brown ink. When dry, I used my finger to rub the ink of any raised edges. The front window and engines were then picked out in black. While it didn’t turn out how I had it in my head, I was still happy with the result.

After coming to a dead-end on the second axe head, I spent some time researching and doodling some designs. The final one I chose was a simple L shaped knot and a Celtic knot. After transferring the design to the axe, I used my Dremel to remove some resin. I then went onto using needle files to tidy and crisp up the design. It is looking great, but is going to need a bit more work before it’s done.

The final thing I did was a test mould of one of the intricate panels from Mjolnir. This was a test to see how well silicone would pick up the details, and I was impressed how well it worked.

Next week I plan to:

  • continue work on the axe head and if it warms up, do the handle
  • if some resin arrives do a test cast on the mold
  • cast some cat masks.

Foam Clay test

Recently I purchased some foam clay to try out. This is air drying modeling clay that when dry, has similar properties and feel to EVA foam.

My first impression of the clay was that it felt like, mmm, a more plastic-like wall tack, but after some kneading, it becomes more like a normal clay. While I haven’t yet tried sculpting anything from it, I have experimented with pressing it into some of my mask moulds. The aim of which was to see if it could be used to create lightweight foam versions of masks or other props.

Below I suggest a few do’s and don’ts based on what I learned with my first test

  • Do begin with a thin layer of clay and take time to press it into the mould as much as possible. Then build up to the required thickness. Not doing this resulted in gaps and missed details.
  • Do be aware that the clay shrinks a small amount in the mould. On a thin area, this caused a tear to appear.
  • Do check a small corner to see if has dried.
  • Don’t leave it to dry in a cold place. It is recommended giving the clay 48 hours to dry depending on the thickness. However due to it being left in my cold workshop over two nights, it didn’t quite set and was still soft. When I came back and tried to remove it the mask became warped. At this point it may be possible to put it carefully back. However, because it was still soft it further damaged it. I suggest leaving it somewhere warm to dry out. A second attempt left in a warm spot had more success.

Two final things of note were that the clay in direct contact with the mould was still a little moist/soft and had left some residue on the silicone. It maybe possible that it was inhibiting the drying process and some mould release may prevent this. At this stage all but a thin layer was firm, and I was able to remove the mask and let it fully dry out.

The final product is really lightweight and feels very much like EVA foam. It is firm, but flexible and is not too soft as to bend out of shape when handled. It also picks up and holds detail really well.

I will be doing some more experiments with this in the future, including painting up the test masks and trying to sculpt with it.