Latex mask sculpture into a silicone mask conversion???

I have a sculpture done that was used to make latex masks...i wonder if the dimensions of the head are the same for silicone casting as latex ..IE if i reform the original sculpting in clay and use a Ed head or a core made from my own head..are the silicone dimensions likely to be the same? If not how can i "correct" the space difference....and also this being a small eye and closed mouth there anything special to do for eye fit and mouth cupping?


  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    edited October 2021
    Hi James,

    Silicone masks are designed quite a bit differently than latex masks to ensure they fit and move properly.  You would want the silicone mask to be a snugger fit (compared to latex) so it stretches and conforms to the wearer's head.  The types of changes you would have to make depend a lot on the design of your specific sculpt.

    We have a great course that covers making silicone masks that provides way more detail than I can here.

    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    Part 3:

  • Thank you Chris i have seen those videos...the problem is..the design of the sculpture was made for latex ( 1 inch thickness of clay on the sculpt)...Is there any way to shrink that down to fit/conform to the "size" needed for silicone masks?

    Would i essentially have to cut my sculpt in half and "shrink" it? how miight i go about this...also what are some good cores to use relaibly in the silicone casting process? I have a CFX headform and of course the Ed Head forms..

    This sculpture does have a closed mouth..noticing the mouth in the one in the video appears to be does one make a "cupped" closed mouth form where when cast the mouth is slit and can move with the actor?
  • Chris..i guess my question summed up is this...what are rough head dimesion sizes for a sculpture in clay that are adequate for a silicone mask...diameter wise
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    It is possible to shrink a sculpture, but the process can be expensive, time-consuming, and hard to control.  There are casting mediums that shrink based on additives.  This page can help a bit:

    For a silicone mask to fit properly it needs to be created at the proper scale on the right core so everything lines up properly. The sculpt needs to be designed based on the core, not the other way around.  The sculpt is dependant on the core to control how thick the silicone will be in specific areas, which determines how the mask will fit, stretch, squash, and perform.

    Adapting a sculpt designed for a latex mask that was not created on a core designed for a silicone mask is a bit like putting a square peg in a round hole.  If you try really hard you might be able to get it to work, but you may be unhappy with the results.

    Using a base form that is not intended as a silicone mask core (like the 2 suggestions you listed above) could possibly work out ok(ish), but the resulting maks would not have the fit or performance of a mask created on a core designed for silicone masks.

    There really are no rough head dimensions for something like this, since it all depends 100% on your core or lifecast and how snug you want the mask to fit.   You can start with a life cast and then shave down or smooth out features to create the right core.  Core design for silicone masks, and how they control the fit around the eyes/mouth, is a complex subject that is a bit too difficult to cover in text alone.   A good example would be the mouth, as you mentioned.  It needs to be sculpted in a slightly open position and the core needs to allow the clay to wrap inside and create that cupping effect, but describing it without a reference core would be difficult.

    One option would be to design your own core and then take your existing sculpture and carefully cut it up and re-apply it to the new core while being mindful of how thick the clay is in key areas.  This will require a lot of re-sculpting and cleanup, but it's possible.

    Sorry I don't have better news for you.  I'd love to see how your mask turns out though!

  • edited October 2021
    Ok Chris i do appreciate that there a suggestion you can make for an adequate core to use? I mean is there one that someone can purchase that is designed for silicone molding?

    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    I don't know of any off-the-shelf cores for silicone masks.  A product like that would be amazing, and I know I'd buy a couple for sure!

    Most folks just have to make their own.  Getting a good core is also an iterative process, where you'll make adjustments and create new cores as you and other people try on the masks they produce and find out what works and what doesn't.  The companies that make silicone masks have all put many years of work and a lot of resources into developing their cores. 

  • Chris gave you VERY sound advice. Although at first thought, it would seem just resculpting the mask specifically for use as a silicone mask would be a lot of work & expense, it is the wiser choice. By the time you went through all the expended time, expense, and effort to directly adapt your latex mask to be cast in silicone, just resculpting it from scratch will look like a dream in comparison. And, most likely, you won't be satisfied with the results of your adaptation. By directly resculpting the mask you will have full control of what you are trying to recreate. Otherwise, everything you will attempt to adapt will be a series of unending and undesirable compromises.
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