fiberglass mannequin in plaster?

Submitted by sanna on 7/1/02. ( )

Hi! I just discovered this cool forum in search of info concerning my new project. I am making a fiberglass resin mannequin (of myself- with assistance!), for sewing clothing as well as to be an "art piece". The mold will be two part (not including the head which I assume I will have to do separately in alginate and somehow attach later... that is another question, how to attach the head?), front and back separate, from plaster gauze. I have several questions. Basically if you have any tips on how to do this... please help... Does anyone have experience how to make a smooth transition between the front and back sections of the plaster gauze mold? I will have to put some oil or soap where the sections meet (I tried vaseline before and it worked ok but not great, maybe just because it was my first try). When the fiberglass resin has set, what is the best way to join the two sides of the mannequin? I don't want an ugly line up and down the sides! Maybe I should rethink this and put the front together with the back BEFORE casting, but then how to make the mannequin hollow? By drilling holes... eek, that sounds terrible. As you can see I am not very experienced with this.
Another question I have is regarding a mold release. I understand that shellac on the plaster and then wax over the shellac is a way to do it. What kind of wax? There is a spray wax, is there any specific kind for fiberglass resin?
I am beginning to visualize the process and it will be helpful if anyone can give a tip. By the way if you think of something better for this purpose than fiberglass let me know too, it's just that it would be lightweight compared to solid plaster, and it would be hard, so it can take the abuse of jabbing needles from sewing. Has anyone ever filled a bathtub with alginate? hehheh oh well, alginate I understand is not good for resin casting, nor is latex rubber (unsafe for the skin anyway?)
Thank you

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This response submitted by cur on 7/1/02. ( )

Most of what, "you believe, have heard, or understood" is not fact or practical. Think about your need, list each question separately and in numerical order and email them to me at the above address and I will answer them. Either I am getting too old to follow your narrative or just too lazy to keep bouncing back and forth to answer it. If you are serious, email me the questions and I will submit the answers you seek.

Sanna, you need a body shop.

This response submitted by JOhn C on 7/1/02. ( )

You can make a wet bedding for mold seams from celluose insulation. Use a magic marker to draw striaght lines down your sides this will be where the mold should stop. You should use the bedding to lay on or in while your helper pours the plaster.

FIrst coat should be about oatmeal thick. it should run and sag just a little this is your splash coat, once this starts hardening off setting. MIx the your helper should mix the nex coat a little thicker and pour over this first to a coating of about 2 inches. then do the reiforcement with the burlap and build the coating up. Once this start getting hot. you can remove it about five minutes into setting. Be sure you have the top very flat so you can litterly get back into the mold after its set up hard.

Now with cardboard, duct tape and a staple gun, build a dam around the edges, cut the damn so you can get back into the mold for comfort.

Using DAWN dishwashing soap apply this as a mold release where all the fresh plaster will pour onto. Be sure and coat it well! Or you may have to be broken out of the mold!

Now pour the back side splash coat. and so on until the back is done.

You may want to add a mold release to your body of VASOLINE. heat it until just liquid to apply.

You can use JOHNSON's PASTE WAX for furniture as a mold release, this come in a yellow flat type of can. Its carnuba wax. Must be applied and buffed out over the shellac sealer. Do this 3 or 4 times so it will release the part you are reproducing.

You can mold your head the same way as the body. You may need help to do your face with plaster or you can use alginate which you still should have help. Plug your nose and use a tube to breath of course. Do only a half at a time. Front half and then back half. Again cut away what you dont need and glass the halves together.

Yes you can make a mold with plaster #1 molding plaster, do the front, then the back, you will trim the remaning that is not needed fiberglass off.

Then is a simple mater off bonding the front and back together with additional matting and resin. You may need to grind away what is not need with a orbital sander.

Use of Auto body spot putty and the fill and sand method. If more than a little putty is needed in any one area use BONDO Auto body putty. NOT the reinforced stuff.

Attach the head to the body the same way you did the front and back halves.

Now if you did a good job molding the parts will be easily joined without a lot of grinding.

After you have everything joined up, you may nned to paint your new mannikin. You can choose to piant it with lacquers and a Auto Tuch up gun or have a Auto body shop paint it. If you have the equipment to paint use Polystranspars Lacquers and start off with a light flesh tone and sdjust up and down from that, as needed.

Hope this is what you were asking for like Cur, I think this is what you ask for. but am not totaly clear on it.

List of thing you will need are. #1 molding plaster, burlap for reinforcement (stronger than guaze) shellac and denatured alcohol to thin the shellac for the first two or three coats. Lumber yard.

Fiberglass resins and cloths and matts for adding strengtrh to the manninkin. Auto body filler (BONDO). Auto body spot putty for small indention repair. (Auto parts store that has auto painting supplies.) Gel coat for the first catylized layer in your mold.

Gray lacquer Auto body primer for fiberglass. You will be needing multible coats, sand each coat to show high and low spots, fill in the low spots with Bondo as needed or Spot putty as needed.

Wax from WALMART in the househood section, this is applied with a rag and buffed with a soft cotton cloth.

A book of boat hull or auto body repairs.

Time to experiment making the molds from plaster and doing the reproductions.

Experiment first by making a foot and hand arm etc. You can get very detailed with this method and every wrinkle, pimlpe etc will show. The great thing about this is you can remove and blemishes in the final product before painting.

Hope this helps you.
Sincerly John C

um!t a thougth

This response submitted by kiwi on 7/2/02. ( )

I heard of someone doing this once moulding them selves and one thing they forgot to do was ummmm not trying to be rude but they forgot to shave a few of the body hairs and you guesed it was sheer hell when they tryed to get the mould off and the put plenty of release on themselfs,, just a thougth to think about!
They did get one thing from it dident need a wax job for a few months
cheers kiwi


This response submitted by Gerry on 7/2/02. ( )

are you going to breath while encased in this mould? surely the rigidity when it starts to set up will prevent chest expansion and contraction.


This response submitted by sanna on 7/2/02. ( )

Thanks for the tips. Yes I will be able to breathe. And I am aware of the possibility of the hairs getting stuck and pulled out- I did a face once and had to wear a headband for weeks. (a receding hairline on a 24 y/o woman?) Of course I will have help and the help will watch the video I have on lifecasting. Thanks John for the detailed instruction. I will make a practice arm.


temporary low cost mold technology for rotational molding.

This response submitted by rotousa on 7/2/02. ( )

We have developed a low cost temporary composite mold technology to rapid prototype polyethylene parts.
if any one is interested may visit

Shallow breaths Gerry.

This response submitted by John C on 7/3/02. ( )

You could use bondo, but the MEN catylist may cause a reaction. Bondo od coarse has some advantages as its light wieght. but as it heats it could burn or be uncomftrouble.

movie prop sites

This response submitted by got-um on 07/13/2002. ( )

Check out sites about movie prop making

I've seen very good instructions on how they make full body casts with pumped muscles andd armored chest plates for the action movies

including very detailed instruction on how to do the seams and seperate the mold without use of a chainsaw.

it's out there. good luck

fiberglass mannequin in plaster?

This response submitted by george on 09/25/2002. ( )

yuo can check out it shows you how to make a full body cast for making costume armor but it can be useful to you to. just go how to section for info. hope this is useful to you.

You have all lost your mind!

This response submitted by J. Michael on 10/20/2002. ( )

Are you guys crazy. The information given to make a mold of yourself is totally wrong and dangerous. Look to a professional for knowledge before trying this and for gods sake don't follow the directions given here, you are risking your life doing so.

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