Archive for the ‘Ask Us Sunday’ Category
Q: Can you use Sculpey as a mold for casting resin?
A: The short answer is yes, however, I’m going to explain in detail why we don’t recommend it.
First, if you make a mold out of Sculpey, it is a one-shot mold. That means you can only use it once, then it is done. Sculpey is a brittle compound, and unless you are SUPER lucky, you’ll have to break it to get your resin piece out.
Next, Sculpey is porous. That means, when you pour your resin in there, it won’t be smooth when it comes out. It will have the grainy texture of the Sculpey. You can seal your mold; that will help some. However, depending on what you are taking an impression of, it may not be as helpful as you think.
Finally, resin bakes at certain temperatures. It depends on the resin. If you need something that needs a high heat to cure, unless your Sculpey base is super thick, the heat is going to escape, and your resin won’t cure properly. If you are lucky, it may only take a few extra days to cure. If you aren’t? It may cure unevenly, or not cure at all.
In the end, Sculpey works in a pinch, but we recommend using other means to create your own mold.
Q: what about re-purposing everyday things as props? Like I want to take some thing plastic and paint it, but I’m afraid the paint will chip off. How do I prevent that?
A: Good question! Lots of people like to repurpose items, and it really depends on what the item is made of. If it is plastic, you can go with a spray paint on the top. Just make sure you have the right spray paint. Read the labels. Something else I’ve seen people do is if the item is clear plastic (like a dome), paint the *inside*, then seal it. That way, if it gets banged up on the outside, paint won’t chip off.
Woods need special paints or varnishes. Some items of questionable composition may need to have a base coat put on before you can paint it. And never underestimate the value of sealing your object. If you are using regular paint, your craft store will have a finisher you can paint on. If you are using spray paint, there are different types of clear coats to put on top, from matte to glossy.
Just remember – read your labels! Spray paint eats through certain materials, like foam. The product will tell you what it is intended for, what it works best with, and what you should avoid.
Q: I’m also planning to make a Card Captor Staff too, but it’s my first time making anything relevant to cosplay DIY and I was wondering if you would give me some tips to making this staff. It would be awesome of you’re able to give some tips and what good materials to use.
A: Well I would definitely recommend a wooden rod for the center and not pvc pipping. While the pvc is lighter, it’s hollow center will provide problems with trying to figure out how to attach all the pieces. Since mine was a wooden rod all I had to do was drill holes and use gorilla glue to help me attach the pieces. Much easier, and much more durable! <3
If you can, try and stick to spray paint instead of paint on paint like acrylic. It's so much smoother! When things are hand painted they have a tendency to look lumpy!
Honestly, do research and play up your strong points in your craft. I'm a pretty big resin caster, so I used that as my strong point and custom made all of the details in resin. Some people are stronger in using sculpey clay or paper clay then I am and have done the details of their staffs out of that. I don't trust myself to freehand something like that. :p (Hence resin casting!) But knowing your strong areas helps to determine what materials you want to use.
Make patterns!! When ever I'm making something, from costumes, to props, to resin pieces, I always draw up patterns first! I usually use graph paper too. It helps me proportion everything out, make sure it's the right size and shape, and it helps me see how all the pieces will fit together. Sometimes I have an idea for something then realize when I pattern it out that it's not going to work and I need to re-think it. I'd rather have to re-think something in the planning stages then realized I messed up half way through the project. @.@
I hope these help! <3
Today’s question is a tough one.
Q: Advice on custom made socks (as in a specific color stripe to put on a sock) or how to best put a print/stitch on stretchy material?
A: Stretchy material is tough to work with under the best of conditions. If you don’t have your tension right or you use the wrong stitch when sewing, you’ll end up popping stitches when you wear your item and have to fix it.
So when you are asking about adding embellishments to stretchy material, red lights start to flash. Dying might work, but the problem with dyes is that they can bleed into other areas. You would have to do some testing of your material to see how well it might take to hand dying.
You can also attempt cutting strips of fabric out and sewing them together. However, you’d have to make sure the grains match up, that you have the pull all going the same direction, and watch your stitching, because, again, you now not only are competing with basic stitches around the toe and heel, but at every interval of the stripe.
If you are really hardcore, you can look into silkscreening. We’ve not worked with it, but it’s a very specific kind of dying process that doesn’t seem to have the problems with bleeding that traditional dying does.
Other than that? Scour the internet and see if you can find a manufacturer that has something close to what you need.
Q: On many cosplays, there seems to be lots of layered clothing, or VERY heavy fabrics. (Example given: any kimono style clothing from inuyasha. Lol) How can we as cosplayers keep the outfit correct while not sweating a storm or weighing a ton?
A: Honestly, if you don’t want to sacrific accuracy for comfort (which I totally understand), you’ll simply want to time when you wear it. If it is a very warm costume, save it for the cooler months.
We made the mistake of wearing Sesshoumaru and Inu no Taishou at Otakon the year that it was 102 degrees outside. It was unbearable and we risked dehydration and heat-stroke. Not very smart.
Depending on the costume, you can consider alternative fabrics; there are lots of different fabrics out there. For kimono, consider doing underlayers of cotton or perhaps peachskin. First, they are washable, so when you DO sweat, you can clean it easier, and second, it is lighter. If you have a costume with armor, definitely consider sneaking in an undershirt of lightweight material so that your armor doesn’t stick to you.
If you aren’t competing, you could always consider the cosplay equivalent to a “dickey“. For some of the multi-layered kimono, make one under kimono, but sew other faux-kimono collars to it to give it an authentic look, then make sure your top layer is accurate.
We’re officially out of “Ask Us Sunday” questions! Please help us keep this fun and informative series going by submitting your questions to sales @ starnighindustries.com.
We’ll try to answer any type of crafting question we can, but we do specialize in costumes, cosplay, wigs, and resin. We’re also fairly adept in sculpey, foam, jewelry and prop making.
Q: How do you use silicone molds and not have air bubbles in your resin?
A:A lot of factors come into play when it comes to resin making, it’s a touchy material, really. A bunch of conditions have to be met for a perfect pour!
First, the type of clear resin you are using! Epoxy or Polyester? Read up about your resin. It says right on the box that epoxy is good for small castings. On the bottle for polyester is says it’s great for casting large, thick pieces! If what you want to cast is going to be pretty thick, or large, don’t use the epoxy! You’ll get bubbles!
Let’s use my Sakura Star Wand prop as an example!
I resin cast the red gems in the gold section under the hoop with epoxy resin in a plastic mold and of course they came out beautiful. I decided to use the same red and pour up my custom made mold for the point down at the bottom so the color would be consistent. However, that is a super thick piece! So I popped the point out of the mold and it was littered with bubbles all over the surface of the point. I had to recast it in polyester and pray the color would be right. With the polyester it was perfect! Make sure that the piece you are trying to make isn’t too large or too thick for the epoxy. It is supposed to release it’s bubbles naturally as the resin heats up (heat rises!). However, if the piece you are casting is too thick for the epoxy, it’s just too much resin for the bubbles to move out of. Switch to polyester for this particular piece.
Humidity and heat also play a role in the curing of your resin. You know how it says on the box that you want an ideal temp of about 75 degrees? Well, resin cures through a chemical based heat, so if you set your resin outside on a 95 degree day, you’re going to get bubbles. It cured too fast because the extra heat contributed. I have cast resin in both Florida and Colorado now, and I can tell you the resin set completely different in two locations because of the humidity. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it’s against you, depending on the day. (I told you this is touchy stuff!) Humidity can keep the temperature consistent, or if you get too much of it, it will just make it wet and sticky and not set up right. :/ It also says right on the boxes to watch your temperature and humidity because it will effect your resin.
With Epoxy the one to one ratio also has to be juuuuust right, otherwise, no bueno! Make sure you are stirring correctly too! You need to stir for a minute, stopping every so often to scrape the sides so that way you make sure it’s mixing consistently.
Just make sure you thoroughly read through the literature provided to you before using any type of resin or mold making kits! A lot of times this will answer all your questions.
If you are using polyester and you are getting the bubbles, your resin is setting up too fast or you waited too long to pour it into the mold and it started to set on you before you even got there. Which is the same thing really. It’s a common thing with polyester as it heats up more than the epoxy, and therefore sets faster. This means you either need to back off the catalyst, or set the resin in a slightly cooler place.
If you do some further research and you go to the Castin’ Craft website, they will actually go over FAQ on resin casting with rubber or silicone based molds. They explain that the plastic molds that they make retain heat super well, and that’s why it sets up so nicely! A rubber or silicone mold will release heat faster, and therefore the resin will cool down and not keep a consistent heat. It results in impurities in your resin casting. This is from not curing on the surface facing the mold to bubbles, or not curing at all! If you are using epoxy, you’re going to have a hard time with this, as it’s a one to one mixture and you have no control over the chemical cure. This means you have to problem solve how to keep the temperature consistent. If you are using polyester Castin’ Craft suggests more catalyst, placing saran wrap over it to retain the heat, or placing into a convection oven. (Beware, this is STINKY! Please make sure you follow the instructions on their website and have a well ventilated area! Always always follow proper precautions!!!!!)
Lastly, what mold ARE you using? Are you using the push mold putty? Are you using the paint on molds? Or the pour on? The thinner your mold is, the quicker it will release it’s heat. Keep that in mind when you choose what mold making kit you want to use. The putty will retain heat pretty darn well, but if it’s thin in a spot, beware! The paint on stuff is awesome because you SHOULD be making a plaster base for it to rest in once you are done. Plaster retains heat 10 times better than the plastic so it’s great for keeping it in, just make sure you aren’t letting it heat up too fast because of this! (Remember the whole “resin is touchy?” yeah, keep remembering that.) The pour on stuff, ugh! Make sure you made your mold super thick in this case. (As in 1/2 inch to inch base with nothing in it before your negative starts.) In some cases where the pour on stuff ended up being so thin that I kept getting impurities, I actually started making plaster bases for them too just to fight the release of heat.
Let’s sum up: Read your literature, measure correctly, mix correctly, you want a consistent temperature, you have to use the correct resin for the project, AND the correct type of mold for the project. Also, resin is touchy.
Q: I was wondering if you knew any wig-safe dyes? I’m doing Poison Ivy and have a long blonde wig (not a cheap one)..I’d like to dye it red but don’t know which dyes are safe. I’m sorry to bother you but I knew you’d probably know! Thanks for your time reading this!
A: If you do not have a human hair wig, it cannot be dyed in a traditional sense. Synthetic wigs do not accept dye. You can attempt to put various types of ink on it, but it isn’t permanent and it can run given certain circumstances. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Some people try and sell “authentic wig dye” and they are full of crap.)
If you google “wig dying method”, you can find a couple different ways to “dye” your wig. Just understand that water (including sweat) can cause it to run. (I used a sharpie method to “dye” my Uranus wig. Over time, the color has faded. I just gave my wig a good washing and the last of the color came out.)
Q: What makes for good molds? Are there specific resin molds or can you use pretty much anything?
A: Yes, there are specific resin molds. You cannot use pretty much anything. Be careful, though. There are premade molds out there, but you have to make sure they are for resin. Resin generates a lot of heat as it cures, and typical soap molds will melt from the heat and be destroyed. We’ve also found out that some homemade resin molds that were vaccuformed can’t stand the heat from polyester, as polyester cures at a higher temperature than epoxy.
If you have something specific you want a mold of, you can try making a mold yourself. 90% of the molds we use are from homemade molds, rather than preexisting ones.
Q: When buying previously worn and styled wigs from an unknown seller, is there any way to clean it before wearing it?
A: Good question! Yes and no. If it’s something you can wash then restyle, I recommend doing it. You simply rinse the wig in warm water (not too hot), use your favorite shampoo, scrub it down, rinse it, then put in conditioner. Leave it in for a moment, then rinse it out in warm water. From there, pat it dry with a towel, and then let it drip dry. Once it is dry, you can style it as usual.
Now, if you buy something from a seller and you can’t wash it because it’s prestyled, then you can use another trick. Get some rubbing alcohol, an old wash cloth, and wipe down the inside of the wig. Pay particular attention to the bands and any parts that rest up against the skin, and gently rub in the alcohol with the cloth. While it won’t get the dirt out of the hair, it will get the grime out of the parts that sit up against your head.
If you have an allergy to rubbing alcohol, you can use regular vinegar instead. It will do the same thing. It just smells nasty.