Lifecasting is the process of creating a three-dimensional copy of a living human body, through the use of molding and casting techniques. The most common lifecasts are of torsoes, pregnant bellies, hands, faces, and genitalia and it is possible for an experienced lifecasting practitioner to copy any part of the body.

Lifecasting is usually limited to a section of the body at a time, but full-body lifecasts are achievable too. Compared with other three-dimensional representations of humans, the standout feature of lifecasts is their high level of realism and detail. Lifecasts can replicate details as small as fingerprints and pores. There are a variety of lifecasting techniques which differ to some degree; the following steps illustrate a general and simplified outline of the process:.

A variety of materials can be used for both the molding and casting stages of the lifecasting process. For moulding, alginateand plaster bandages are the most popular materials.

Life Casting

Different alginate formulas are available with different setting times and working properties. Choosing the correct formula can make the job much easier. Less common mould materials are siliconeswaxesgelatinsand plaster.

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Plaster and gypsum cement are the most commonly used casting materials, but various claysconcretesplastics and metals are also in common use. Iceglassand even chocolate are used often as casting materials. Work is being done with imaging technology to map the skin's surface which may enable re-creation of the shape without touching the body.

life casting materials

Since the weight of material deforms the body, if only slightly, this new technique may enable even more perfect work, but will not give the skin texture the above-listed materials do. Compared to the moulding of inanimate objects, lifecasting poses some specific challenges and risks.

Since the mold is made directly on the skin of the model, for safety and health reasons the molding materials must be non- toxic. The mould must not heat up too much or else discomfort and even severe burns could occur. The moulding process must also be completed within a relatively short time frame, usually a half-hour or less, since people have limited endurance in holding a stationary pose. Methods to allow the model to continue breathing must also be used when a mold covers the mouth and nostrils.

Generally the nostrils are kept clear, but not with straws. If the model is captured with lungs deflated it will be impossible to take a deep breath. To prevent injury or trapping the model in the mold, the shape and position of the mold must be well planned prior to application. Even experienced lifecasters can occasionally have trouble with snagging small body hairs, and the mold being somewhat uncomfortable.

In rare cases some models can have allergic reactions to moulding materials, can faint from holding a stationary pose for too long, or can experience anxiety from being enclosed in the mold.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you.

We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what. Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities. We will get through this together. Updated: September 6, References. A life cast is a plaster cast of a human body part, such as the face, full head, hand, foot, or torso.

To make a life cast, you need to start by creating a mold of part of a person's body. Then, you need to cover the mold with plaster bandages to form a casing. After that, you fill the encased mold with plaster to create a lifelike plaster cast of that part of the person's body. The process is time consuming, but it is something that you can learn how to do and easily carry out with the help of a friend or two.

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Article Edit. Learn why people trust wikiHow. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 18 references. Learn more Removing the Casing and Mold. Making the Plaster Cast. Things You'll Need. Related Articles.

life casting materials

Part 1 of Gather your supplies. Life casting requires a variety of supplies, which you will probably need to get from a special effects company or art supply store.

Some companies even sell kits with everything you need for life casting. You will need: [3] X Research source Alginate powder. This is what you will mix up to form the molding material. Choose a product made for life casting.One of the engineers I work with was fascinated by a hand casting booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. The operator would, for a nominal fee, mix a container of goop into which the customer would insert their hand, or occasionally couples would insert their clasped hand.

A smaller container was used for children's hands. After a few minutes, they would wriggle their hands free, and the operator of the booth would pour a plaster compound into the mold, and have the customer return in 30 minutes for the finished piece.

My coworker didn't pay to have his hand cast, but instead did a little research online, and for Christmas obtained all the materials and did casts for all his nieces and nephews. Since that time I've wanted to do it for my children, but for various reasons never did so.

I decided I would try this out for mother's day - if I make four molds, one for each child, then make three castings from each mold I would have enough for a complete set of four for their mother and each grandmother. This is a Mother's day present I can really sink my hands into! Did you use this instructable in your classroom? Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Materials Alginate This molding compound forms a rubbery elastomer within minutes of mixing with water. Captures impressive detail, while being flexible enough to prevent entrapment of the hand. It dries and shrinks over time, so it's not suitable for more than a few castings.

Casting Plaster Many plasters are available for casting, you can even use the inexpensive local plaster you find in any hardware store.

I used a particular formula called Hydrostone which features high strength, and high detail. The only difference was that when I needed to cut away the mold, the plastic juice bottle and 2 liter bottles were a little harder to cut.

Hot water A cold mold is uncomfortable, so start with hot water. By the time you get it mixed it should be at a comfortably warm temperature. Machine screws and nuts If you don't want to break the mold, you have to have something sticking out of the casting once it's hardened in order to pull it out. Can also be used to mount the finished piece onto another project. Small pieces of cardboard Used to hold the screws in place while the casting cures.

Tools Mixer I used a cordless drill and one egg beater.

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A regular mixer should work, and for large batches a jiffy mixer paint mixing drill attachment is recommended. Don't plan on mixing this by hand as there isn't enough time. Also note that the plaster is abrasive and may damage the beater. Scale These materials settle and compress so they should be mixed by weight. However, the working range of the mixture is pretty good, and in a crunch I believe suitable result can be obtained from volume measurements which will be detailed below.

I'm using a postal scale that can measure in tenths of ounces up to 10 pounds, which is the range needed for small hand molds and casts. Therefore you'll need containers suitable for holding the pre-measured materials.Sculpting on a face cast will ensure the prosthetic fits perfectly to the model because it captures all of the models features and contours.

To do a face cast the model has a special prosthetic grade cream known as alginate, which is derived from seaweed, or a special grade of silicone that can be used to cast the face and other body parts applied. Once the alginate is mixed with water it becomes a paste like substance that is applied directly to the models face or body. The consistency of the paste is determined by how much water is added to the mixture whilst the temperature of the water used will effect how quickly the alginate solidifies.

When dried it forms a negative piece which can be filled with certain materials, most commonly plaster, to create the positive to which the prosthetics can then be sculpted on.

Life Casting Supplies

A reversible material that had to be heated up and then brushed on to the model whilst still hot. It could be reused multiple times as long as the water content was kept to the correct level but it was still a tricky material to use and required a lot of preparation and after care.

Once alginate came along moulage was out of the picture because of how easy alginate was to prepare and apply and how it could form a much stronger mould. The setting time of alginate can range from 3 minutes up to 9 minutes or more if a retarder is added. Alginate still requires a plaster mother mould however and the mould needs to be filled with the positive making material as soon as possible as the alginate has a tendency to shrink if left out in the open for too long.

Separators can be applied to ensure that two materials can be easily withdrawn from each other. An accurately selected sealer-separator combination stops the moisture from the material from penetrating into the pores of the mould or hair on the body. It also allows free movement. The basic requirements of a satisfactory separation medium are that it:. Petroleum jelly vaseline is one of the most well known separators in general use. It is used to separate any gypsum material from any other during the casting process.

It can also be used to coat hair when a face cast is taken. Sealers can be applied to plaster or stone face casts with shellac which protects them from the oils in the clay that are used for sculpting and to make separation easier.

Face casting can be a messy process so it is best to have a separate area away from the main make-up area for carrying out the procedure. Some of the materials can also be harmful if breathed in so adequate ventilation is required.

It is important to ensure that all the materials required for the face casting process are prepared and set out in a logical way.

The model must never be left alone during the face casting session so materials must be close to hand.

How To Mold and Cast a Hand in Plaster Using the Alja-Safe® Alginate Starter Kit

The more prepared you are the more smoother and effectively the casting process will run. The model must feel comfortable before being face casted as if they panic the entire process will have to be started again from the beginning.

Having a good manner towards the model and making it seem that you are in control and confident of your own abilities will all instal confidence in the model. It is a good idea to talk through the entire process with the model to give them a better understanding of what will be happening which should help to keep them calm during the whole process. Most models will have similar concerns though such as feeling trapped, having difficulty breathing, feeling panicked and claustrophobic.

Communication throughout the face casting session is key. The plaster bandage is needed to provide support so the alginate mould retains its shape. It is a good idea to use warm water when dipping the bandage as this will decrease the setting time of the plaster making the process go quicker. It is applied as a square. All plaster expands but low expansion plaster expands less and is less likely to crack.

The plaster is poured in to the negative to create the positive. The majority of materials required for the face cast session can be prepared before the model arrives. A range of sizes of plaster bandage will be needed to cover the forehead, eyes, neck, chin, with smaller pieces being used to cover the nose and around the nostrils.

The prepared working area with strips of modroc for the plaster mother mould. Very neat, very clean.Your question may be answered by sellers, manufacturers, or customers who purchased this item, who are all part of the Amazon community.

Please make sure that you are posting in the form of a question. Please enter a question. Alja-Safe alginate is suitable for making temporary molds of the face, hands and other body parts. It is easy to use and cures quickly. You can then cast plaster or oather materials into the mold to make a reproduction. Alja-Safe does not contain free-crystalline silica, a known carcinogen, that other alginates do. Adult Supervision Required.

Keep Out of the Reach of Children.

Life Casting Supplies

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Color: Alja-Safe Alginate.Blick carries a range of silicone and rubber for mold making and casting such as liquid latex, latex casting rubber, and platinum silicone rubber for creating masks, skin appliances, body parts, and special effects for theater and cosplay use. Find urethane rubber for making molds to reproduce sculpture, prototypes, and architectural elements, silicone rubber for casting polyester, epoxy, masonry, and wax with no release agents, and rubber latex for casting.

Other casting materials include plaster cloth for sculpture, mask making, jewelry, and craft projects. Find casting plaster, hydrocal, casting stone, Plaster of Paris, and lightweight casting and carving materials that look and carve like stone. Shop for life and body mold making materials that include plaster cloth, plaster bandages, and kits for casting hands, bellies, and other body parts.

Cast fine art, create special effects, encapsulate objects, and create a clear, durable finish on tables and more with resins that cure to a hard finish within hours. Resin jewelry molds contain multiple shapes for making jewelry and embellishments. Find release agents for a seamless molding experience. Make soap, jewelry, candles, stepping stones, ceramic embellishments, and more with pre-made casting molds.

Fun to make and great to give as gifts, handmade crafts are made easier with reusable metal candle molds, silicone jewelry and soap molds, and plaster or glass slump molds, hump molds, and drape molds for making beautiful art glass creations.

Mold Making and Casting. Shop by Category.

life casting materials

Mold Making and Casting Blick carries a range of silicone and rubber for mold making and casting such as liquid latex, latex casting rubber, and platinum silicone rubber for creating masks, skin appliances, body parts, and special effects for theater and cosplay use.

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Product Calculator Polytek Material Calculator. Increase Alginate set time up to 5 or more minutes. Bond Alginate layers. An indispensable multi-use formula for all brands of prosthetic alginate. Provides the best set time control, a very strong bond between layers, and a surface softener for application of fiber, even after the surface is set. Complete face casting kit to be used by the beginner or accomplished artist.

Designed for children's hands newborn to about 6 months. Kit contains everything you need to make a solid stone 3D casting of your baby's hand. The exclusive color-changing alginate formula lets you know when it's time to put your baby's hand into the safe, non-toxic molding material. As a bonus, the kit includes two bags of molding material, just in case something doesn't go quite right the first time.

Easy to mix and use.

Lifecasting Materials

Complete instructions included. Child Hand Cast Kit Instructions. This alginate mixes pink then fades to white when it's time to put your hands in the mold. Special pourable type of alginate designed for a wide range of molding and casting projects. Mixes thin and smooth, sets firm and strong.