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Making a Head for a Wrapped or Carved Body

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Jim B, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    the hitch with making a wrapped or carved body is you need a head to go on it.There are a few small mammal changeout heads available but not too many.That would be the easiest way.another way is to clean and use the original skull.That's the hardest way.A third way is to carve one out of foam or balsa wood.That doesn't take too long if you are a good carver.I have to confess,I haven't wrapped a body in years.I've been carving many of my small bodies from flexible foam and that gives me a body with as much flex as a wrapped body and is a joy to mount on.That's for another time.I sculpt a few small mammal heads and mold them-ones I mount a lot of or special mounts of my own.I hope this one picture will explain the process.I make an alginate mold of the animals face and cast this in bondo/resin or plaster.that is my death mask-face reference.You can also just use another animal of the same size and look at his head.I skin the animal and make a quick mold of the skinned head,in alginate.This is just pouring alginate in a small plastic cup and dunking the head in and allowing it to set up.I cast that carcass head in bondo.Plaster would work.Now your head model is 75% done.You have to sculpt back in lips,nose,whisker beds and grind out eye sockets.It's not a big deal.You have your death mask to give you dimensions and details.Remember to deduct the thickness of hair which is on your death mask.You can sculpt these small details with modelling clay or epoxy putty.it takes me about an hour to make one of these small heads.after it's molded,I can make as many as I need.I make a silicone mold of the head,again,by just pouring the silicone in a small plastic cup and dunking the head in.Some silicones don't like oil based clay.In that case,spray your model with Krylon paint or laquer before going into the silicone.it's a good idea to brush a coat of silcone on the model before dunking it.I use the silicone with a catalyst.My model has a little bit of neck on it and I staple a tongue depressor across the back of that to hold it from sinking to the bottom of the cup.Let the silicne fully cure and,remove the model and now you have a mold to pour foam heads.The large neck diameter opening allows the foam to flow out so the flexible mold is not distorted.If you want to make larger heads like bobcat etc.,you may have to make a more substantial mold like a 2 piece fiberglass one.This is a fast,simple mold for small heads.You don't need a release agent with the silicone- just pour it in.If you want to do a wrapped body,you can make a loop on the end of you body wire and stick it down in the mold when you pour the foam and the head comes out with the body wire attached.When using foam to alter forms or make bases,just keep you small molds handy and pour the leftover foam in as you go.This may sound complicated but it is not.It takes almost longer to explai than do.After my work day is over,I sit down and take a relaxing 1/2 hour to hour and sculpt one of the little heads.It takes very little time to dunk one in a cup of silicone.In the top of the picture is a cast of a skinned,marten head.under that is a marten face cast(death mask).Below that is a finished marten head for,then spotted skunk and large weasel head forms.The blue stuff in the cup is my mold.Mark on the outside of the cup what it is and how much foam it takes to fill it.The mold should make many,many heads.This is fun stuff guys.[​IMG]
     
  2. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Here's a marten mounted using this method.With a pre-molded head,it took an hour to make the body.[​IMG]
     

  3. Jim B you are my hero.
     
  4. Lisa M

    Lisa M Swing like no one is watching...lol

    Jim, thank you SO much for taking the time to write this up! I just nominated it for the tutorial category that'll be here some day. I found it a little hard to read though. :( at me. Usually I don't care about punctuation etc in other peoples posts. I just want your very helpful post to be a little easier to read for other folks too. I am going to copy & paste your instructions, then space things out a bit. I hope that's alright. Thank you again for taking the time. It was very nice of you. ;) Lisa

     
  5. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Codi thanks,hope there's something there you can use. Lisa,thanks for you help.I'm not much of a typist.After writing all that out,I wondered if anyone would bother to read it.It looked like one big mess to me.I guess a step by step tutorial with several pictures would have broken it up better.I didn't have a project in the works,just put a few things together for one simple picture and then explained the process.I will say,if one will take the time to wade through this,it's a fairly simple process for those that want to dabble with some small sculpting,and end up with a head form that is very usable.explaining the process is almost more complicated than doing it.
     
  6. BigSwede

    BigSwede Member

    Thank you for sharing, very instructive. I do not live in Taxidermy Land (USA) so I sometimes have to make my own forms and heads. We have ONE supplier in Sweden... your finished foam heads looks EXCELLENT.

    B S
     
  7. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Thanks Big Swede.Do you carve heads or sculpt your own?
     
  8. oldterryr

    oldterryr Terry's in Heaven with no worries at all.

    very worthwhile post - george should read
     
  9. mk

    mk -30 below

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    Jim B AWESOME post! very informational. do you think you could post a pic of what one of your wrapped bodies look like before you taxi the skin on it? thanks-matt
     
  10. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    thanks Terry,It's a lot better since Lisa M unjumbled it for me.mk,if you read it again,I haven't wrapped bodies for many years.I posted since wrapped bodies have been talked about recently and it was brought up that you need a head to go on the wrapped body.I carve most of my small bodies now and for the species that I frequently do,I use this method so I can reproduce heads,rather than carve or clean one each time.
     
  11. mk

    mk -30 below

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    opps sorry jim B i guess i got carried away there reading your post. how do you go about carving your body for small mammals, same way as fish?
     
  12. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    mk,very similar.I'll do something on it one day but it's fairly time consuming to explain.
     
  13. mk

    mk -30 below

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    IL
    cool, thanks jim
     
  14. coal39

    coal39 New Member

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    Hey Jim just voice record it and send it to Lisa M and let her type it out for you. Thanks Jim B for the tutorial and thanks Lisa M for making it easier to read. What a team.
     
  15. That was awsome. I also really like the tip on using kryolan paint on clay when doing a silicone mold... I never thought of that, and I've definately screwed up molds before because no one told me silicone and oil-based clay don't alway mix well. Thanks!
    -Bonnie
     
  16. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Good idea Coal.She'd make me look smart.I sculpted a mink head the other night here are a few pictures.I started off sculpting the nose.If you don't have a death mask,you need an eye to nose measurement plus distance from top of nose to lip and of course nose dimensions.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  17. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Next sculpted the whisker beds and blended those to the nose.You need a width measurement for these.The lip line comes almost down to the tip of the canine which is in the carcass cast head.[​IMG]
     
  19. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Next the chin.It doesn't take much clay.Don't cover the canine tip,it's a reference point.[​IMG]
     
  20. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

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    Next is the rest of the lipline including mouth corners.Here you need a measurement from corner of eye to mouth corner,mouth corner to front lip and distance between mouth corners.[​IMG]