I'm not sure if this has been brought up in the past here, but has anyone ever tried this stuff for building a puppet?

http://www.makupartist.com/139/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

I bought some a while back to test it, but I haven't really had a reason to try it out yet. In theory, it would be cool if it worked so you could sculpt fleshy puppets right on to the armature. It mentions animation as one of the applications in the description, but I was curious if anyone had any hands on experience with it. I'm not sure if it's a popular compound in the makeup world as this seems to be the only site I've that carries it. I might try some of mine out one day, but I bought it a year ago and I'm not sure if it is even still pliable.

Tags: clay, latex, polymer, putty

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I think, since you can skin really anything with liquid latex, the name of the game is getting the armature as close to the final shape of the character as possible. Then you just kind of "connect the dots", treating the skin like webbing. 

I've never gotten the physical liquid latex puppet results to look as smooth, surface-wise, as I could do it with a clay puppet. That's really the only reason I haven't done more with liquid latex.

I was actually thinking about trying to skin it with liquid latex too, but my supply is back in LA. I usually get lumpy results with my liquid latex build-up puppets (which actually is a great texture for an alien or a burn victim that happen to be the two characters in my next film). I've heard adding ammonia can make it more running and smooth it out a bit, but I don't want to give you the wrong information. For my next, project I am planning to use molds with liquid latex similar to how Richard Svensson does his puppets. 

As far as latex... I continue to push Woodland Scenics' version of the stuff for anyone willing to look into it. I've tried many brands and the quality varies (some is even crumbly when it cures). Woodland Scenics continues to be far and away the best I've ever messed with, even better than the latex body paint from a  costume site. A guy in my class started using the W.S. latex (dipping) and the results were so smooth, it looked commercial.I remember my first ever experience with latex being that particular brand and thinking, "the sky is the limit!"

Jason- Amonia or tap water, yep. Both will thin the latex. You might even try a little of each. Sometimes you can get away with just water (stirring slowly).

I looked up the Woodland Scenics latex - it seems to be a somewhat thinner version of standard moldmaking latex - probably with less filler in it for capturing smaller details. But it still seems to have some filler in it. They put filler in the moldmaking latex to keep it thick while it's in liquid form, so you can glop it on your object thick and it won't run off. That's a great quality for a moldmaking latex, but not so good for a latex skin.

Pure latex is much stretchier and much stronger than latex with filler in it. Being a thin liquid, it will drip and run off, leaving only a paper-thin surface coat, so it takes a few coats to build up (hence the term buildup puppets) - but it results in a skin that's amazingly stronger, smoother and stretchier than using mold making latex (trust me - I've used many varieties of both).

I remember the fisrt time I used a nice filler-free latex - I believe it was dipping latex from Monstermakers. At first I freaked out Oh man! This stuff is too thin!! It just all runs off like water - it'll take forever to build up a decent skin from it!!

Then a little later I peeled up a bit that had spilled on a table. As I did, I immediately noticed how stretchy and STRONG it was compared to any of the mold making latex I had used. I could stretch it to twice its original length easily without tearing it - try doing THAT with a filler-filled latex!! And since it goes on so thin, it repoduces pretty much exactly the surface it goes onto - just as you said Don. As long as you dip or pour it on and let it coat the way it wants to, you should end up with something just as lumpy or lump-free as whatever is underneath it.

Also, because of the amazing strength and stretchiness, you really don't need very many laters of it. 2 or 3 seems to do the trick nicely.

I tried some foam latex base for one of my puppets, which is thick but doesn't have any filler in it - just something called 'latex solids' - whatever that means. Very nice to work with - you can get a good thick coating that doesn't drip and run very much, sort of like what you get with the mold making latex, only you end up with something as strong and stretchy as pure liquid latex. You can order the foam latex base by itself without the other ingredients used for making it all foamy.

I'd be careful about ordering it now though - if it freezes in transit it's ruined. If you can buy it in a local store then fantastic, but I wouldn't order it to be shipped until spring has sprung. So far it hasn't quite hit freezing around here, but it will any day now, and ther'es no telling what the temp is like wherever it's going onits way to your house - you kmonw, order something produced in Texas and when you track the shipment it goes through Minnesota and Cleveland on its way to you (in Tulsa or wherever.. ). A night in a Minnesota warehouse this time of year will kill latex dead.
Oh, I should add - the foam latex base is fairly lumpy. Must be those latex solids... I gues they don't matter in a foamed-up mixture that goes into a mold. The surfae will end up exactly like the inside of the mold. But for buildup work it will probably end up a bit lumpy.

I second that, about the latex freezing and being ruined. I held off last year on ordering any latex during the winter because I was warned that this would happen. When it finally did come, it was perfect (aside from the fact that costume latex cracks easily- one of the stop-moes on the blogs would use the same exact stuff and make beautiful puppets... and then they'd get cold and fall apart in his shop. Probably had too much filer. Modeling clay is similar, in that the filler is a powder- and when it has too much in it, it will also become brittle and fall apart.  So, yeah. You're the expert on latex, Strider.

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