How to Make Latex Body Parts

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Body part props can be made from latex by first making a life cast using alginate, making a stone copy of the body part and applying several layers of latex to the mold. Create body parts as film props with help from a movie producer in this free video on filmmaking.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking & Movie Special Effects
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Shawn O'Rourke with Eleven Bravo Productions. And we're here at EUE Screen Gem Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina. I'm here with Molly Olesky and we're going to talk to you about how to make latex body parts. Molly. Latex body parts, you're going to want to life cast a body part that you're wanting to make as a separate object. Let's say we're doing the hand here. With the hands it's very simple. You get the pot of thick cheap plastic, you cut it to size to fit the arm and you make a box mold pretty much. What you're going to do is take, make a four wall box and you're just going to seal it with as much hot glue as you possibly can so that your alginate doesn't come out. Alginate is your life casting material. Alginate is made of algae. It's very natural for the skin, it doesn't hurt and you can get different settings. With the hand I would get a quick set. I would get at least flat pans. The quicker the better, you can't just sit there with the actor's hand in a box of gooey alginate. Get the five-minute setting. So after you have the actor carefully have his hand in the alginate, you have to carefully release it. You're going to have the actor have his entire arm covered in Vaseline for ease. And also, let's say he has a lot of hair or any sort of nails, it comes out easily, it just slides right out. And after that you will do a stone copy of the hand. From there you can just do, use a substance called hydrocal. It is a white stone. It's very soft and it's sets a little bit quicker than what I previously talked about with ultracal which is more of a concrete. With this white stone, after that you can just do a silicone box mold. Silicone is a bit more expensive. If you look on line thought you can find some deals. And also it might not be that cost effective. If you really can't order any off the Internet you can go and get silicone caulking from Lowe's if you have to get a lot of it. Now, after you do the silicone box mold of the stone hand, from there you have a two part mold. From there you can strap it together with duct tape or a mold strap is the best, really. And you can pick that up also at Lowe's. You can fill it up with either gelatin or you can do a foam latex or latex and polyfoam prop hand. Now let's say you're doing a latex prop. Now with a latex prop your going to latex the inside of the hand. You're going to do about thirty layers. That will be the thickest. That will be, result to about maybe barely even about a third of an inch. And then you can fill it up with polyurethane foam, which is a very dangerous substance that heats as it expands so you only need a little bit and a little bit goes a long way. O.k., so there you go. So those are the steps on how to make a latex body part, o.k. Just make sure once again, your actors are safe, you explain to them that they're going to have release agents like Vaseline on their arms before they put their hand in to the alginate. And make sure that any chemicals that you might put on them, that you clear it with them first and try a little spot, a wrist test or something in case there's an allergic reaction. But there you go. We just told you how to make a latex body part.


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