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Latex vs. Foam Latex

Eric ShortEric Short Springdale, Ohio
When would you use latex and when would you use foam latex. I have seen both used for many different projects and I am just not sure which one I should use when.

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  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    edited November 2014
    Latex is good for thin skins, coatings, and things like masks. 

    Foam latex is lighter, softer and stretchier, so it is great for prosthetics, creature suits, etc.

    Think of latex like a semi-hard stretchy rubber that can be built up in thin layers, and foam latex as a soft squishy foam that can fill a large area.  

    Foam latex is regular liquid latex that is whipped up with a foaming agent, curing agent, and gelling agent.  You can find a pretty good foam latex overview here:  http://www.makeup-fx.com/mirakeleng3.html

    /Chris


    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
  • Eric ShortEric Short Springdale, Ohio
    Ok, I have read more on this subject and it looks like foam latex needs to be cooked. I don't have an extra oven to do that yet.

    I became a first home buyer a month ago and am finally starting to settle in and now I want to start working on my dream, making props, animatronics, etc. I am trying to prepare myself for what I will need. I guess I will start of with just making things out of latex and hopefully come up with something to get me started on foam latex. the hardest part will be to get to the amount i need for me to get the equipment i need to do everything.

    Thanks for your information on the subject. You sent me in the right direction.
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Foam latex is not baked at a very high temperature, so it's not difficult to make your own oven for baking it.  Different folks bake foam at different temps, but generally it's in the vicinity of 200F.

    And you don't want to bake foam in a traditional oven that you also plan on cooking foods in, especially if you have a spouse.

    Here is a quick video showing a DIY oven being constructed:  

    If you google "DIY Foam Latex Oven" you should find lots of blueprints/examples.

    As with any process involving heat, keep a fire extinguisher handy and don't leave it unattended.

    The most expensive investment for running foam is usually the mixer.  I'm still waiting to find a good used Hobart 20qt mixer at a reasonable price.   They pop up on craigslist all the time (as restaurants are frequently upgrading or going out of business) but even the used market is fairly expensive.

    /Chris

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