Tag Archives: silicone rubber

Props Links for Friday

Just a reminder that you have until May 15th to apply for one of the $1000 grants being offered by S*P*A*M. If you have a props internship or apprenticeship either now or in the near future, you are eligible, and it is super easy to apply for!

Slammin’ Ham! – FFFriday Guest Post from Victoria Ross – For one of our shows at Triad, my apprentice cast and painted this very hefty ham out of silicone rubber. The final scene in Two Trains Running is punctuated by a character slamming the ham on the diner counter, and this ham made that slam very dramatic.

Someone Has To Clean Up After Broadway’s Creative Destruction – True West features the near-total destruction of everything on stage by the end of the performance, and the current Broadway production delivers that. Find out how the show’s prop team accomplished not only that, but the clean-up and reset before every show as well.

How Disney uses more than 7,000 props to make Galaxy’s Edge look and feel like a ‘Star Wars’ movie – The new Star Wars theme park requires a ton of very custom set dressing. Find out how Eric Baker and his team are salvaging airplane parts and other pieces of junk to build this “final frontier.”

Behind the Scenes at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Props Warehouse – Chris Young, the props director at STC, explains how they accomplished all the blood effects in their recent production of The Oresteia.

Matrix Molding

A matrix mold appears like many other molds, where a thin mold of silicone rubber is supported by a thicker shell of plaster or fiberglass. However, you make a matrix mold by pouring the plaster first, then filling the area between the plaster and the model with silicone rubber. You do this by using clay to take the place of the rubber when pouring the plaster.

It is a very economical way of making a mold, since you use the least amount of silicone rubber necessary; the rubber is the most expensive material in a mold.

I made a video demonstrating how to create a one-piece matrix mold.

Matrix molding is one of the new techniques added to the second edition of The Prop Building Guidebook: For Film, Theater, and TV, which comes out February 10, 2017. You can see all the companion videos at the Prop Building Guidebook website.

Review: Cast Like Magic

If you follow the world of cosplay props, you have probably run across the work of Folkenstal Armory. This Swiss cosplayer is known for her fantasy daggers and armor from games like Elder Scrolls and Skyrim.

She recently released an e-book, Cast like Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Making and Resin Casting. Only the original German edition is available in print.

She wrote this in response to the lack of books on silicone mold-making and resin casting. While it’s true you can find a variety of books that have a section on silicone molds and resin casting, none are solely devoted to the individual prop maker. And though you can find a plethora of tutorials online, most are for specific projects, and none give a comprehensive overview of the entire process like this book does.

Cast Like Magic covers one-part silicone molds, cut silicone molds, two-part silicone molds, brush on molds, and rotation casting. What really sets this book apart are the illustrated diagrams for each process giving a cut-away view of what is going on. Mold making and casting can be difficult processes to photograph because everything is happening inside or underneath the opaque material. Her diagrams give a clear picture of what we cannot see.

The photographs are bright, colorful, and extremely clear. The pictures of her own work are especially wonderful, giving an up close view of all the exquisite detail she adds.

Cast Like Magic has chapters on mold boxes and registration keys as well, two topics which are frequently glossed over in discussions on mold making.

A good chunk of the beginning of the book is spent discussing materials used. Besides the various silicones and resins, she also discusses mold releases, thickeners and thinners. You also see various resin additives in action, from metal powders to UV colorants.

She uses Smooth-On products almost exclusively. At times, it almost feels like you are reading one of their catalogs. While they remain one of the more accessible suppliers for beginners, keep in mind that many other companies and products exist.

This is a very well-informed book, providing proper safety precautions where necessary and giving just the right amount of technical information.

So if you’ve been waiting to take the plunge into silicone mold-making and resin casting, this book will help you make sense of the whole thing. If you have already made a few molds and casts, this book will fill in the gaps of your knowledge and show you a few new tips and tricks. At only $8.50, it’s a heck of a deal, too.

Cast Like Magic by Folkenstal
Cast Like Magic by Folkenstal

Video: One-piece silicone block mold

You may have noticed I did not post much last week, and that this blog has become a little more sporadic over the past few months. Well, there is good reason for that. Last Thursday, my wife gave birth to our first son. It’s the best prop we’ve ever made.

Speaking of props, I shot a quick video on making a one-piece block mold from Alumilite QuickSet silicone rubber (the kind you can pick up at many hobby chain stores) that I’ve been meaning to put up. It’s not pretty, but it shows off the basics and gets the job done.