Mar. 8th, 2017

it usually means I have been away πŸ™‚ And I was πŸ™‚ For Children’s Day it was a day of Elsa-ing it up for Hamilton, then Sunday helping the Rebel Legion and 501st at Frankton Thunder- a huge fundraising event for Child Cancer Foundation πŸ™‚


Got to play Wookie hairstylist and it was fun πŸ™‚ So today has been spent fixing my Leia wig so it can be multipurpose πŸ™‚ both required silicon conditioning and it’s lasted very well for Leia! Today was putting some wefts back in πŸ™‚



I started by thinning out some of the excess wefts at the top of the head- most wigs do this! It’s because it is easier to sew the wefts on theΒ solid ground than the elasticated straps at the back. Even when wigs are sewn in the correct order. SoΒ it is a time saving/cost saving device. But it makes it almst impossible to style a wig and have the wig sit flat. I took out about 1/3 of these.



But this is what I was faced with when I started the part down the back. That diagonal weft makes a big mess of my neatly calculated volume for each side so I spent a day inpicking the left side and restitching. To those thin elastic straps.


What I also did was to thin the sides out completely over the power net sections, back that with more lace and sew a smaller number of wefts back in.


Next step is to stitch the long wefts from a second wig to toupee grips so the wig can be worn in any style. I had stitched the wefts to the sides but that would make the wig not at all alterable πŸ˜‰

I was very worried as my latex thickener took a while to arrive and my molds wound up soaking too long. But it’s all good πŸ™‚ But the latex I had was certainly bad. Not so bad that it couldn’t be rescued but rescuing requires a lot of work πŸ™‚



Thickener and coloidal silica πŸ™‚ I probably should have grabbed microballoons, explained later πŸ™‚



I used up as much of my latex as I could- two bottles of thickener will turn 2.5L of latex into a very thick consistancy, but it does still run, not immediately but over a few hours.


What have I done here you may ask. Well here is the answer πŸ™‚


Self supporting latex


In order to have self supporting horns but an adjustable thickness tentacle latex layer I first lay up a thick layer of the thickened latex (for this also with some added silica to limit warping) then Β a layer of peeled foam in 5mm or 10mm thicknesses soaked in a latex and water mix. I push the foam into the latex just enough to adhere but leave a layer of just latex to create a skin to the foam.


This is tricky! If the environment is too warm the latex well turn tacky while working with it causing deformities. This has been my fifth run and it’s the first time this hasn’t happened because it was much cooler yesterday than any other day this summer.


The peeled foam is very soft, very soft and not at all self supporting alone. In fact its use is to pad and create a soft layer.


But once soaked in latex and left to cure it becomes fairly rigid. The cells become rigid but the air pockets remain.


The foam also tends to not pull away from the walls of the mold while the latex is curing. This makes it much easier to be able to control warping of large pieces like this. It also reduces weight and can be stitched then glued/latexed to hide the join. It is also possible to pare back the foam with a knife to thin it out for the tentacles.


This is sort of a reverse industry standard method of skinning foam for creature effects. Having a mold means I control the skin texture a lot more but means working a bit blind in terms of being able to know exactly how thick that skin is.


This standard method is how I make my lekku in general. And as I work to finish this piece I’ll be able to share tips on how to do that- it still requires skill to avoid limiting stretch of the foam and adding Β weight! I also want to update my Rachi Lekku and Talon lekku πŸ™‚

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