What is a Face Mold?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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A face mold is a cast of person's face. There are a number of different ways in which face molds can be used, ranging from the design of theatrical makeup to arts and crafts. Supplies for making face molds are available at many craft stores, and people can also find supplies through theatrical warehouses.

There are a number of different way to make face molds. One simple technique involves applying strips of gauze soaked in plaster of Paris to the face, and allowing the strips to harden before gently peeling the mold away. The subject usually applies lubricant to the skin first, to prevent sticking, and straws may be stuck in the nose to ensure that the subject can breathe. Molds can also be made from latex and other materials, which may be painted onto the face. People can also make molds by pressing their faces into a moldable material to create an impression.

The original casting of a face may or may not be used as a mold, depending on what it is made from. When it is used as a mold, materials being molded — like clay, silicone, or plastic — can be poured directly into the mold, allowed to harden, and then pulled out. In other cases, the face mold is used to make a more durable mold which can then be used to create replicas of the face.


In the film and television industry, special effects coordinators make face molds for the purpose of developing prosthetics which will fit an actor's face perfectly. These prosthetics can be used to create mockups of injuries, deformities, or structures that might be seen on the face of an alien or monster. The face mold allows the designer to customize the prosthetic and confirm that it will fit.

Molds are also sometimes used in the medical community for various purposes. People with bad facial burns, for example, may wear a plastic mask which is designed to protect the burns and reduce scarring, and this mask must be perfectly fitted with the assistance of a face mold. Likewise, a mold can be taken of a face with a challenging injury or deformity so that a surgeon has a real life model to examine when planning a surgery.

Crafters can also utilize the face mold to make masks and other works of art based on the human face. People may also create scaled-down molds to make faces for dolls and other figurines, or for things like making cakes and other desserts in the shape of a person's face.


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Post 3

@irontoenail - I think there have been cases where actors have been put into the mold and have refused to go further and have had to quit the role, because they were too claustrophobic about it. It's a really personal thing though. I know some people who would never go near that kind of experience and others who wouldn't be bothered at all.

I've never done one for a human face, but I've done them for dolls in order to make castings for polymer clay models. It's a lot easier when you don't have to worry about the person breathing or not. In fact, they used to make molds of people who were recently dead so they could make bronze castings of their faces. You can see castings like that (often called "death masks") in museums.

Post 2

@croydon - The problem I've found the one time I did this was that it made me completely claustrophobic. Your eyes are covered, your mouth is covered, you can barely breathe through your nose and it's just really scary.

I could only stand it for a few minutes, so it's a good thing the person who was making the mask was quick about it. I've always thought the people who wear those sorts of masks, made from face molds, in the movies must be crazy. I've heard that they will often have to go in at 4am in the morning in order to get their makeup and masks on and then are stuck in the things for the rest of the

day, often to the point where they can't eat, because it might damage the mask.

That really makes me shudder to even think about it. I mean, aside from the fact that they would be under the hot lights and everything for hours, the claustrophobia would be terrible.

Post 1

I did an art course a few years ago and one of the first things we did was make a face mold. We were supposed to try and make one of someone else and then, if possible, get them to make one of us as well.

I made one of my mother and it was surprisingly easy. You can buy a roll of gauze that's already impregnated with plaster of Paris, so all you have to do is soak it briefly in water and then apply it. Put some petroleum jelly over the skin first. Then, it dries in a few minutes and you take it out and you can apply the jelly to the mold and fill it with


In the end I had a few copies of my mother's face, which I could carve or paint or whatever. The one thing I would suggest is to make sure you cover enough of the face with bandages. You want quite a large amount of the face to be copied and you can always cut it away afterwards if you don't want it.

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