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Porcelain Masks

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#1 Mavrick116



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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

Hello, I'm attempting to make masks from cone 10 porcelain for a costume group for my friends and I. I need a few opinions on some parts of the mask making.
They are to look like hollow masks, from the anime Bleach. I'm using cone 10 because i need the masks to be decently strong, i'm ordering this http://kcclay.com/po...gal-bucket.html porcelain for the project. My plan is to get the porcelain, press it to the face(using straws so the nose can still breathe) and carving the shape out before removing the mask from the face.
Posted Image
This is the mask I'm making for myself, it should be the easiest to do(as it only covers half the face). I'm going to carve and shape it out to match, and then make the ridges for the red paint to be applied after firing. I'm not sure if i should try carving the teeth with the mask, or making them seperately and using a strong glue to attach them to the mask? And the luster of the surface is suppost to look like clean bone, not actually very shiny like most porcelain I see, I'm assuming thats from extra primers and such they add after firing, but any suggestions on getting that kind of luster? I'm also making the parts reaching upwards reach farther around the head in an attempt to not have to use a string with the mask. And I'm not sure how well the shape of the masks hold after carving but before firing, it will take a while to make all the masks and make them keep their shape, any ideas on keeping them from warping? they need to fit perfectly.

#2 neilestrick


    Neil Estrick

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

Not to be a downer, but they will never fit perfectly. If you try to take a slab of clay off the face before it firms up, it will distort and lose shape. You'd have to leave it on the face for a long time, like up to half a day, depending on the humidity, before it will be stiff enough to hold shape. And even then, it will shrink about 15% by the time it's done, so it won't fit perfectly anyway. Plus you stand a good chance of it warping and distorting in the firing, especially if you make it thin enough to be comfortably worn on the face. I don't think clay is the best material for this project, especially if you want it to fit. You'd be better off making a plaster mold of the face, then vacuum forming plastic for the mask.

Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC


#3 Diane Puckett

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:40 PM

I agree with Neil. I have used plaster to make forms for masks. The plaster is the stuff once used to make casts for broken bones. I buy rolls of it at Michael's and cut it into triangles. I dip each piece into water and form it to a person's face. Once it dries, the inside can be used to mold a mask. Before doing it, the person must pull back their hair and cover their face with Vaseline. The nostrils are left open. The problem is that your porcelain will shrink and, as Neil says, distort in firing.

A better idea - I once had a custom-made splint that was a thin, white plastic. The sheet of plastic was cut to approximate size and then softened by warming it in hot water. It was then molded to my wrist where it quickly dried and hardened. A physical therapist might be able to tell you what it is and where to buy some. It would probably give you the clean look of the mask in the picture. For what it's worth, I was told that leaving it in a hot car would cause it to soften again and flatten out. I have seen small craft items made of it, so it must be readily available.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#4 DAY


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 07:08 AM

Clay shrinks when fired. Google "making theatrical masks"- there is all the info you need. Hint: None of it involves clay.

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