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Joe Blow (Part 4 – Head)

Continues from Joe Blow (Part 3 – Ball-Socket Armature)

Armature is done and I am going to make the body parts.
As usual, I will be using the stuff we sell at Morezmore (www.morezmore.com).

Eyes.
I am using delrin ball 7mm, with drilled holes – to make them rotate inside the head.
I described how to drill the holes in tiny balls earlier in Delrin Eye Balls for Stop Motion Puppets.
The method works great from small balls, but for larger balls I needed something else.
The research brought this little gizmo. I bought one to try, liked it very much and added it to Morezmore inventory.
M00638 MOREZMORE Mini Eye Drilling Vise Jewelry Pearl Bead Hole Drill Vice

Step by step:
1. Put a delrin ball into the vise, tighten.
2. Start a hole with a knife
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3. Drill with a small 1mm drill bit (it is just easier to start with a thin one first)

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4. Drill with a 2mm drill bit.

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5. Put into clay so they do not roll.
6. Paint with enamel (I am using Testor’s black)

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7. Let it dry.

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Expression Face Plates.
What I wanted to make: a head (rather half of it), with magnets, which accepts replaceable face plates, all of the parts made out of polymer clay. The plan was to make a neutral default face, make a push mold and keep making plates, changing the expression while the clay is still unbaked, then bake the face plate.

I started taking photos of the mold process, but the first attempt (and the second and the third and the forth, total 7) was unsuccessful, I got frustrated and stopped making photos. When I finally got what I wanted, I realized I do not have a set of photos to show how I made that mold.

Basically, it is a 2 part plaster mold which forms a hard shell, inside which there is a silicone core. I will make it again – on another puppet, perhaps, and post about it later. You will see that mold on the photos below. The silicone core purpose – silicone push molds are easier to get the face clay impression out, but they don’t hold the outer shape very well, unless you pour a lot. I wanted the mold to be hard on the outside and soft inside.

Although it took me 3 weeks, I did figure it out.
Here is the first plate:

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Second plate:
Here is the trick to make that neat seam that took me 3 weeks to figure out.
First make a blank piece (let’s call it sliver) to fit snugly onto the head, bake it and then build the face on top of that sliver

Step by step:
Vaseline petroleum jelly on the head to prevent raw clay from sticking to the baked clay.
Living Doll polymer clay and roller

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Trace the seam with something sharp, like this half-round micro spatula for easy removal after baking otherwise it will fuse together and the edges might break off.

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Bake.
Wait until it completely cools off and gently pry the sliver of the head.

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Here is my push mold that I was talking about above.
Paint with translucent liquid sculpey to make the raw clay adhere to baked clay.

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Make the clay a little softer and more pliable by adding Sculpey smoothing polymer oil and mixing the clay well.

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Pack the push mold with clay tightly.

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Put the baked sliver on top and push down.
Pull out the face, smooth it out.

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It is ready to be modified. The baked sliver under the raw clay allows to hold it while sculpting and not to worry that you are messing up the other side of the face plate.

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Here are the face plates that I made this morning:
Joe being neutral
Joe being nice
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Joe being nasty

The method is promising and I am going to try to refine it.

Continues on Part 5

To be continued…

3 comments on “Joe Blow (Part 4 – Head)

  1. Hi, Natasha – What size balls do you recommend for 6” (1/12) scale figures? Will these Delrin balls stand up to baking temps (250 degF)? Carlo

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    • Hey, Carlo. Here is how I calculate. If the figure is in realistic proportions: human eyeball is 24 mm, so 1/12 scale is 2mm. Can get away with 3mm.
      1/6 scale realistic – 4mm. Cartoonish (like Joe) – 7mm, realistic but pretty doll-like -5mm or 6mm.
      Yes! Delrin can be baked!
      The melting temperature of Delrin is 375 degrees F (157 degrees C). Polymer clay baking temperature is 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). So I expected the balls to sustain the temperature without problems. And they did – no problem at all.

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