I don't want to say how much I ultimately spent on this but let's just say you could buy a very nice late-model used car for the same amount of money. The reason I went with a makeup professional is because of the sheer scale of the project and the need to get a full cast of my body made (kids, don't try this at home!).
The make-up guy I was dealing with (Jonah) sounded about 45 on the phone but turned out to be only 22 years old! However he has 12 years experience including "Babylon 5", "Home Alone 3" and working at Universal Studios Florida. He also hangs out with Pat, a guy who has been in the industry forever and with many, many Big Name credits. Between the two of them there wasn't much they didn't know how to do. On the first day in their studio near Orlando they started off doing a full head cast of me down to the top of my shoulders. It was just like you've ever seen it on those make-up videos (or "Movie Magic"): they glued a bald cap to me, covered my head in alginate, then put plaster bandages on the front and back. They thought I had fallen asleep at one point but it was just because I didn't want to make any noises. After they pulled it off, they then filled this with Ultracal 30 plaster and hemp to make a positive bust. It is better than the one I had made two years ago here in Seattle, except my lips looked like a camel's, and one ear was bent over alarmingly (from the weight of the alginate). But all that can be fixed. Next we cast each of my hands up to the elbows. They mixed a layer of green alginate on a piece of wood, then had me lay my hand on it and then they covered it with the rest of the alginate. Then more plaster bandages and waited for it to set up. I then worked my hand loose and with a huge sucking sound pulled it out. This was then filled up with a black urethane that when hardened is stronger than plaster. Except for a few air bubbles, it precisely reproduced my hand, right down to the fingerprints. That was it for Day One. Day Two was bodycast day. I put on a black lycra catsuit (which I was wearing my corset underneath) and then was wrapped like a mummy in saran wrap. I then laid on my back on a table while plaster bandages were applied on the top of my body, arms and legs. Once these set up I had to be flipped over. This was probably the scariest thing of the whole process because if they had dropped me I'd have shattered into a million pieces. Now on my stomach (and locked in by the bandages) they covered my back. I had to stay like this for 20 minutes or so and finally they split them in half and let me crawl out. It wasn't necessary to get complete accuracy for this cast, just the right shape of my body since the suit will shrink a bit when they make it anyway.
The next day, after I had left, they made the plaster positive from the bodycast. They would use water-based clay to sculpt the "female" parts over it. The actual mold for the bodysuit is done in fiberglass. A lycra unitard forms the interior of the suit. To make the suit, the lycra is put on my clay-free lifecast. The fiberglass has a thin layer of latex applied to it to build up the "skin" layer. Then the lifecast-with-the-lycra suit is put inside the fiberglass mold with foam latex injected which adheres to the lycra and fills all the gaps. So the layers are (from outside to in): latex, foam latex, lycra. The head was sculpted in oil-based clay over my lifecast (using Roma #3 clay - with the humidity in Florida they use a slightly harder type than I would in Seattle for instance). The head was cast in a two-part plaster mold from which the latex mask is pulled from (just as I do "Kerry" masks). The gloves are done the same way.
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