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Help! How to make a silicone skin to fit nicely around an animatronic tentacle?

Hello there you inspiring, practical loving people!

I just became a member and can't stop watching the tutorials. What a fantastic resource of knowledge! however there's one thing I can't find.. :)

I'm working on some tentacle animatronics. (This is my first effects experience) Learned a lot from that tutorial (wow!) and now I'm almost ready to make the skin. I allready started on sculpting a tentacle, but now I'm wondering how to make the (silicone) tentacle fit over the animatronic arm.. Is there a good way to make a mold that creates just a "sock" of silicone? 

Does anyone know if there's a tutorial that coveres this part? :)

I would love to here your suggestions..!!

Answers

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    edited September 2016
    Hi Sarina,

    First off, welcome to the school and to our forums.  Glad to have you here!

    One option would be to brush silicone into a mold of your tentacle.  This may be a bit tricky depending on how long the tentacle is and how far you can get a brush inside.  You would want to build up a few layers (brushing in each layer just after the previous layer gels) to get a thickness that is appropriate for the movement and durability you want for your project.

    Another method (bit more expensive and complicated) would be to use a 2 part (or possibly 1 part) mold with a core.  The mold core is a solid plug that would be at the center of the tentacle, and the space between it and the outer mold would determine the thickness of your final casting.

    These 2 lessons cover breaking down a sculpture for molding and working with mold cores.

    The "finger cup" molds in "character makeup sculpture breakdown and mold making part two" are an example of using a mold core to cast a hollow piece.  But rather than making the outer mold of silicone (like he does) you would use a rigid material (like resin or stone) since you plan on casting flexible silicone tentacles.

    https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/character-makeup-sculpture-breakdown-mold-making

    https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/character-makeup-sculpture-breakdown-moldmaking-part-two

    He pours up the finger cups in the following video:
    https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/casting-character-prosthetics-flexacryl-fingers-silicone-ears

    Again, it would be a bit different since you would not be using aflexacryl, but silicone for your final part.  But the general concepts are the same. 

    That should help get you started!

    /Chris
  • Hi Chris...

    thanx so much for your reply! I'm going to check this out first thing in the morning...  (Almost 1 in the morning now here... Hehe) 

    I think the second option is the best since the tentacles will be quite large.. :) 

    i really appriciate your detailed anwser..!
  • Hi, 

    Just came across this question and am attempting something similar. Was wondering if this solution was possible - Could you attempt to pattern a sleeve based on the dimensions of the tentacle and then use the pattern as a template to make a sheet of silicone to wrap around the animatronic and then seal the seam with more silicone? If so, how much would you want to account for stretch if using the dragon skin 10 silicone. Or can you even buy silicone in sheets?

    Just a broke costume design student and trying to avoid costly and complicated molds :/ 
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