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Hair punching

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Greywolf (Julie Yakes)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:49 am    Post subject: Hair punching Reply with quote

Wookiee hair punching, a necessity for the face, is not a complicated thing. It is tedious and time consuming, but it’s what it takes to get a really nice natural-looking face.

Punching is used for wherever you have silicone. For some, this may be just the face, for others it may be more. This mask had a resin underskull with a silicone face, and since hot glue works very well on roughened resin, the hair on the underskull was glued on up to the edge of the silicone face.

This picture was early in the punching of the actual silicone mask.

Here's a closeup of that section. In the lower area that will later be covered by other hair, I used more strands of hair in each punch and spread the punches further apart, as other layers further up would cover it. This was purely a time-saving measure. I’ve seen videos that use huge hunks of hair, literally the thickness of a pencil, being shoved into a mask on the underlayers, but while that seems easy and labor-saving, I’m pretty meticulous and I wanted it to look as natural as I could. Therefore, I used maybe 12-20 strands in each of my punches at this stage.

I gradually reduced the number of hairs in each punch as I got closer to the edges of the exposed skin areas, and made them much closer together. In the areas where the individual punches would be visible, around the lips, nose, and eyes, I punched one hair at a time in very close proximity to one another, so that it would look like real hair growing out of the skin.

Here are the tools. These are simply sewing needles (standard size) with the eyes cut open and sharpened to become little sharp forks. Then, you put them into the handle of an x-acto knife. I included a closeup of the needle eyes. I made 2, so a friend could help me. (Note: If you are going to have a friend help you, make sure it’s a very good friend, as you are going to be working in VERY close proximity to one another, bent over each side of the mask). To cut the needle eyes, I used a Dremel with either a cutting wheel or a sanding drum to cut off the top of the needle, and then hand-sanded it inside the eye and out to remove any snags. I also sharpened mine with the sanding wheel so it would pierce the silicone more easily. If you don't have a Dremel, these could probably also be made by inserting the needle into the x-acto handle and then sanding the eye open by hand.

To prep the hair, take a hunk of hair and wrap it around your thumb. I found that angling the hair across my thumb made it both easier to hold in the supply hand, and easier to pick up with the tool. You then use the tool to pull off as many strands as you want. In this section, I want 10" long hair, so I used 20" strands of hair. Put the middle of the strands over your thumb, so you catch it in the middle and when you punch it in - voila! 10" long hair strands.

You will probably end up having to straighten the hair on your thumb a lot, but as annoying as that can be, it's actually a good thing as it forces you to open and move your hand every so often, which helps alleviate fatigue.

Here’s the actual punch. Take a little bit of hair - how much will depend on where it's going. Here in the rough area, this is about 12 strands. This area is mostly brown with the occasional strands of grey and black thrown in. Then you simply insert it into the silicone and withdraw the needle; the hair stays in on its own. You don't need glue - the silicone clings very tightly to the hair. While some may come out during handling or grooming, unless it's in a critical area, like around the lips or eyes or such, it's not a big deal. You’re going to be using a lot of hairspray on the face as well to style it, which will also help lock it in even further

And there it is - a new punch of Chewbacca hair.

Do that a few thousand times, and you get a wookiee mask!
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work, these are exactly the kind of things we need more of!

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