Sona Progress: Expanding Foam Comparison and Paper Mache (Etwahl - Part 2)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Check out Part 1 of Etwahl Making on how I made the base and started using expanding foam.

I couldn't find more bottles of Hilti, so I bought Great Stuff Big Gap Filler (for gaps greater than 1") from Amazon and Walmart ($3.77).   I thought results would be pretty similiar, but boy was I wrong.  I am not sure if maybe other things may be a factor, but I found that the consistency looked different and it dried differently.  I liked Hilti a lot better.  It came out in large amounts, fluffy and smooth.  Great Stuff came out smaller, and jagged-y, like whipped cream?  Didn't think much about it, and just finished off the bottle and used a spray bottle to help the expanding process.  After it dried, it looked like this:

Left side is Hilti (I was impatient and carved it already), with spots of Great Stuff to fill in some holes.  Right side is all Great Stuff, uncarved.  But look at the bottom 2 points!!!  The right side is lifting up...what??

Top half is Great Stuff. Bottom half/middle is Hilti.
So that this point, I am freaking out.  This is my first time working with expanding foam.  I don't know what happened and how to fix it.  Do I just cut off the right tooth and remake it? D:  It looks like during the drying process, Great Stuff foam CONTRACTS and pulls the foam together.  The cardboard was not strong enough to keep it straight.  I had no problems with Hilti on the other side.  Silly method, but I used a rubber band and held the left and right side together and see if that will pull the 2 sides back together.  I worked on other things, and a couple weeks later, it seemed to be back in place (as best it could).  Here is one half completely carved:

I used a total of 4 bottles of expanding foam to complete the prop.  (the top and bottom middle were not foamed.  I wanted to keep the flat surface, and lighter weight.)  Don't be afraid to keep carving!  As close to the cardboard frame as you can.  I like my etwahl to have a more Flat, Smooth, and Clean look.  I don't want that bulky and round look that I've seen so many have when using expanding foam.  

Still carving more!
and it is done!
Here is the finished look.  Sadly, I did not make the cardboard template of the wings large enough and also forgot to make it slant.  But I was too lazy to redo it and just foamed it.  Then I regretted not re-doing it lol -_-"  I tried to make it bigger with a little left over foam, and then also re-modeled it so it would slant upwards to appear bigger (pictures further down).

In this picture, you can see how the wings attach to the base.  Basically its like a pocket that ou slip it into.  The foam material allows it to stay in snugly and not slip out

To fix it so that it will slant up, I cut a slit where the attachment and the wing is.  I cut out a sliver, applied hot glue there and held it in place until it dried.

I used craft foam to create the 3 designs that jut out where the glowing strings go.

Step 3: Paper Mache

I didnt take many pictures of the next few steps.  But I did record many videos, which will be up on my Youtube Channel in the future.

I cut strips of newspaper, dipped them in a mixture of Half Water + Half Glue.  Removed excess moisture and then placed them randomly on the prop.  I did about 2 layers.  The rounded parts were the hardest to work with.  This helps give a solid base to start putting on Plaster paper and also not have to make too many layers of plaster paper.

After all that is dry and hardened, you can apply strips of plaster paper.  You can cut larger pieces to have less lines and ridges.  I did 2 layers on the front (the most important part!) and just one layer on parts of the back and underside.  I ran out before I could even cover the bottom side, but its not necessary.

For the 2nd layer, I used really large pieces so there would be minimal lines.  For the wings, I skipped the newspaper and went straight to plaster becuase there was just too many rounded corners that it would not adhere well.

Finished plastering!  I don't have pictures, but next step is just sanding it like crazy!  Until you are satisfied with how smooth it is.  My next Etwahl making post will be about the swirly designs and spray painting!

You can follow my cosplay progress on my Facebook Page

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