Is this the right Armature/Core?

I couldn't find the right category for the course in Silicon Mask Making Part 1 - 3 so I had to choose General. Is there a category for those 3 courses to have a discussion about? Because I want to know if Brick in the Yard's Full Head Armature core can be used for the Silicon Mask Making Part 1 - 3 courses. If not, what other cores can I find that work for the course? I think I find only one other that someone suggested to me last year here on the forums but the shipping was $100 probably because Im in the US. The shipping for Brick in the Yard is based in US.


  • Hi Brian,

    The general category is fine to discuss this.

    The core used in the course is a custom core specifically made by Immortal Masks for their own products.

    The BITY core can be used for silicone mask making but is not identical to the custom cores used in this course.  As such, you may have to make adjustments to the process to work with this core, but it should work.

  • What adjustments do I have to make for BITY core? Are there any cores you would recommend that doesn't need adjustments?
  • I can't say what might have to be adjusted since I've not worked with the BITY core, and I don't know the nature of the sculpt you are making on that core.  Those are things you'll discover as you design your sculpt and mold. The BITY core is a good core to start with.

    Every core, sculpt, and mold will be different.  

  • If I'm trying to achieve a similar sculpt seen in Silicon Mask Making Part 1 - 3, how will I know the armature core I buy will work? What qualities should I look for in the core that is needed for for course? I worry I'll  spend $200 for something I wont be able to use as instructed in the course.
  • You will be able to use the BITY core to create a silicone mask, as it was designed for the purpose.  That said, it is not identical to the core used in this course, as no off-the-shelf cores are.  We can't list any specific adjustments you'll have to make, as you are going down your own road.  But we are happy to help you out along the way wherever we can.

    Silicone mask making is not a simple paint-by-numbers process, so you will have to make adjustments and decisions while sculpting, molding, and casting that will be unique to you and your project.  This course covers the process in detail, but you will need to be able to take the materials and techniques and apply them in your own unique situation.  That said, if you run into any issues during your mask creation process we are here to help answer any specific questions you may have, so you're not on your own!

    The types of modifications you may want to make to your core will be based on how your first masks turn out.  You may decide you want a tighter or looser fit in specific areas or a different blend around the eyes or mouth.  Normally in silicone mask making the artist will create their own core, and adjust it over a period of years to meet their own needs.  The BITY core is a great starting point though, and I would personally use it in my own projects if I were not designing my own cores.

    You may also need to make minor modifications to the mold-making process so your mold works with this core.  This will mainly be related to how the outer mold and core lock together.  

  • Brian LeBrian Le
    edited September 2022
    Is there a SWS course on making cores? How did you make yours? Which is more cost effective? Buying or making cores? How long does it take to make a core?
    Post edited by Brian Le on
  • Matt WinstonMatt Winston Admin
    edited October 2022
    Hi Brian - I thought I'd weigh in here.

    It will be cheaper and easier BY FAR to buy a ready-made mask core than to make your own from scratch.

    However, if you wish to make your own custom core, be prepared to spend many, many hours and a lot of money on materials and labor costs (for the assistance you will need for the lifecasting process).

    To start, we have an excellent course that includes step-by-step guidance on creating a head lifecast here:

    Of course, you would have to hire two experienced makeup effects artists to cast your head for you if you take this route.

    Then, once you have created a positive casting of your head in plaster, you would have to modify it based on the excellent guidance about modifying head casts for mask cores shared by Andrew Freeman and George Frangadakis in Chapter 2 of their Silicone Mask Making course here:

    Once you have made those modifications, you would need to remold the modified lifecast and then cast a new positive in epoxy and fiberglass. This new positive would be your new mask-making core, based on the dimensions of your own head.
    Post edited by Matt Winston on
  • How should I account for the fact there's a different shape of the BITY armature core that contrasts from the one used by the instructor? The one the instructor is using is just a head and neck, while BITY has an upper torso. Should I do everything the same but just order more material to use around the pectoralis geometry? How should I know how much more material is needed for making a mold around the BITY armature core?

  • That depends on the type of mask you wish to make.  Some masks include a bit of the shoulder, chest, and back. 

    Anywhere you put clay on the core will eventually be replaced with silicone when casting, so you can choose where the edges stop based on where the clay ends, and the outer mold will touch the core.

    As far as how much material is needed, that depends on your final sculpture size, thickness, etc.  Always order a bit more than you think you need to account for waste and estimations being slightly off.  The more molds you make, the better your estimation will get.

    You may also want to watch some of our other mold-making lessons to get familiar with how the process can vary, since you are doing your own thing.

  • Brian LeBrian Le
    edited October 2022
    Can I lay the clay walls around the shoulders? Or can I lay them right on top of where I marked the red circles? Will either ways need a different amount of material used by the instructors?

    Post edited by Brian Le on
  • Hi Brian,

    This type of core is generally used to make masks that extend down to the shoulders and have a flap over the chest and back, which is the main difference to the design used in the course.  You would design the clay wall the same as in the course, just along the outside edges of your core's shoulders.  As such, you will need more clay than the instructor used.  A single 25lb block should be plenty for you.

    Here's an example of what your mold wall might look like.  Just a quick sketch, you would not want it to be quite this wide.

    Don't be afraid to make mistakes, as this process often takes a few attempts to fine-tune for your first few times.    That's just part of the journey, as every design and mold is a little bit different. 

  • Will all the other amount of material be about the same as the ones in the course? Like the amount of all the other material including but not limited to gelcoat, fiberglass, or silicon?
  • As it would be a larger mold you would need a bit more of all materials. 

    How much silicone you need depends on the design of your sculpted character.  

  • How do I know how much more material? The sculpture looks like the size of an adult human male, so same amount of silicon as they used?
  • Hi Brian,

    As I mentioned, the amount of silicone used will change for every sculpture.  Depending on how thick you make the clay in different areas, how far down the neck you want your own sculpt to go, how large the overall character is, etc.   Even for an average human male sized character, I can't really answer that, as you can use as much or as little clay to get the mask thickness you desire.  A thicker mask could use up twice the material of a thinner mask, and that's a pretty big margin.

    My advice is to keep track of how much clay you use during the sculpting process and use that as a guide when calculating the volume of silicone you will need.  Once your molds are finished you can also measure the internal volume by filling the mold with water (or rice if you don't want to get it wet) and then pouring the contents into a container for measuring.

    After you know the volume of your own mold you can buy your silicone, and get a bit extra for waste.  I also suggest getting enough to make two castings, should anything go wrong with the first.  

    Best of luck!


  • @Matt Winston
    In another discussion seen here, you brought up Bruce Spaulding Fuller's course on How to Sculpt Character Makeup. My clay and core has arrived, but my core is hollow. I took the course but I don't remember if he said his core is hollow. He seems to he using some sort of rasp to remove the ears. Do I just rasp away at the ears of my core as closely to the visual references seen in the course regardless of the core being hollow or not? This could be a $200+ mistake for me if I choose the wrong decision.

  • Hi Brian,

    The video you are referencing is for makeup appliances, and not for silicone masks.  His core is made out of stone, like Hydrocal or Ultracal 30, and is from a lifecast.

    The core you have purchased was designed for silicone mask making and does not require any such modifications.

    Silicone mask-making cores are normally hollow to reduce weight and make the molding/casting process easier.

  • Hello,

    I noticed this topic is closely related to the questions I have concerning the core for a silicone mask. So figured I would post them here. I have been studying up on all your silicone mask making videos and have seen the many other postings about cores. I plan to keep seeing more of your mold making videos, but I have some very specific questions that would make things much easier if you could hopefully answer them, and I don't think any of your videos go into the specifics that I'm looking for.

    I know that there is much time and thought that goes into the core, or should, so I definitely understand that I will have to continuously edit mine. With that in mind though I have a few questions. I plan on getting this core that was recommended since I really don't have the means right now to get my own life cast or anyone willing for me to life cast them: 
    And I saw on another forum that I should never sculpt on this main core, which I was planning on molding and clay pouring a cast of anyway to make any needed adjustments. 

    1. To make a mold of this core for a clay pour, is a brush on silicone like Rebound 25 from Smooth - On with a plaster bandage shell the way to go? Or should I make the mold with different materials? Do you have any other suggestions for proper materials/mold release for this step?

    2. When I go to clay pour, should I fill it solid with just clay, so I can make any major changes in the clay sculpt later? Or Roto cast a few thin layers of melted clay in and fill the space with a different material?

    3. If I go this route with the silicone/plaster bandage mold, should I cut a slit up the back of the neck and head in order to demold, or is there a better method? Also how can I tell that the silicone part of the mold won't move around and stay flush against the plaster shell when I'm casting? This is a big core with a skinny neck. Won't it be hard to tell if the face is seated correctly with the mold upside down? Or what keys should I make to help with that?

    Then when I go to mold to clay poured copy of the core,

    4. Should I make an epoxy-fiberglass mold of it just like in your Silicone Mask Making Course with Immortal Masks? Even though I will be casting the new positive in epoxy-fiberglass as well? I just can't seem to find info about this step online. Or should I make this mold with something else? 

    5. If I make the mold out of epoxy-fiberglass, what mold release should I use if I'm casting in the same material, and do you have any sources or info on how to cast in epoxy-fiberglass, from an epoxy-fiberglass mold. I'm kind of confused as to how to do that. Is it brushed on like making the mold? Is it poured? Do I use the exact same epoxy and fiberglass as the mold? Is the casting hollow when it is finished? And how thick should the cast be if it is hollow and you plan to sculpt a silicone mask on it?

      Sorry for the long post, but just wanted to be super specific so you know exactly what I am asking, and once I figure these steps out I am ready to attempt my first mask and wouldn't want to move forward without answers to these questions because that would be a huge headache and avoidable with the right information. Thank you so much in advance!
  • Hi Dylan,

    The core you have linked here looks like a good one to me.

    Sculpting directly on the core should not be a problem, as long as you are not damaging the core with metal tools, not useing clay that can later inhibit platinum silicone curing, and can easily clean your clay off before using it for casting.  But if you want to make a lot of masks it's often handy to have multiple cores.

    To make a mold of the core, as you suggested, a brush on silicone mold, added silicone keys, and plaster bandage would work.  Then you could do a clay pour if you wanted to make modifications.  That said, the cost involved may end up being more than just purchasing a second core, so I would really only do this if wanting to modify the core.

    For the clay pour, you could go solid but it would be very heavy, and that much clay would be expensive.  I would rotocast to build up a good thickness and then backfill with a dense expanding foam to keep it durable but light.  You could leave it hollow and use a firm clay like Monster Clay Hard, but you run the risk of deforming it during sculpting and molding if you are not careful.  It can be done though!

    To remove the silicone glove molded you would cut up the back as you mentioned.  A zig-zag style cut can help with alignment.  To keep the silicone glove mold secure inside the plaster shell you will want a lot of keys.  You can make these by using the same silicone in an ice cube tray to create trapezoidal keys to attach along the surface while the brush on silicone has yet to cure.  Then, before the clay pour, you can stick your hand inside and push outward to insure all keys are secure and nothing is moving or sagging.

    Since your core would be a rigid casting, you would want to use a flexible mold material. For that, you could go back to silicone and a plaster jacket to save cost, or silicone and an epoxy fiberglass jacket if you plan to make lots of core castings of your modified core.

    For question 5, you would not want the core mold and core casting in the same rigid material, as they would lock together, which is why I suggested silicone above.

    All that said, I would only mold the core if you need to make modifications, otherwise buying another core would be cheaper if you just need a second.  And making direct copies enters a moral gray area since the original core is someone else's work/product.

    Personally, I would just get one core and use it for both sculpting and casting.  And later when you want to make lots of different masks (and not have your only core tied up in sculpting) you could get extras.

    No worries about the long post, it's a very complex subject!

  • This is fantastic! Thank you very much Chris for the quick response and in depth answers. I really appreciate it and it definitely saves me a lot of time. 

    Thanks for all your opinions and I will just start with one core like you recommended. The mouth area just worries me a little on the Neil core, it looks a little to open but it is hard to tell not seeing it in person. 

    I was able to find some more information about epoxy casting online as well, but I'm glad you confirmed a silicone mold with either a plaster or epoxy shell. My last questions concerning the fiberglass casting if you don't mind are:

    1. If I would ever choose to make any modifications and go to remold the clay pour in silicone and get ready to cast in epoxy/fiberglass, I assume I would need to cut the silicone mold, or just build up a clay wall in order to make a 2 piece silicone mold with a epoxy or plaster jacket. Are one of these options correct? In order to brush on the epoxy/fiberglass to both sides of the mold.

    And 2. If the 2 part method is correct, how/what materials do you use to attach the 2 halves of the fiberglass head core together? Do I brush some epoxy on the edges and stick them together and maybe slush some resin on the inside? Or do you reach inside the head to lay up some fiberglass? That seems pretty hard to do though. Or some other method?

    Thanks so much again, and I'm excited to get started.

  • The reason the mouth looks as open as it does is that most silicone masks design the mouth so the lips can cup around the performer's lips and move with them.  You have to account for the thickness of silicone at the top and bottom of the opening, which has the mouth in a more rested position, open just enough so it can be easily closed by the performer.  Looking at the inside of some professionally created silicone masks can help to visualize that.

    1:  Yes, it can either be a 2-part (or multi-part) silicone mold, or a silicone glove mold for the modified clay core.

    2:  With a 2-part mold for the core you would still cast up a single-piece core.  The two mold halves are usually bolted together, then inside you would layer up your fiberglass and epoxy to get your desired thickness for the core.  You could cast the core in 2 individual molds and join the castings together, but that creates a lot of extra work.


  • Awesome! Thanks so much again Chris. Your answers are much appreciated.
  • Happy to help!

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