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HX-200 Special Effects 

Originally compounded for casting and mask making, HX-200 has been used by scenic artists to create special effects for the theater industry for many years. The unique properties of HX-200 pre-vulcanized Natural Latex lends itself to the following uses:

  1. Coating pieces that are sculpted from styrofoam. The HX-200 will shrink around an object and pick up every detail. The sculpted piece may then be spray-painted or finished in any fashion.
  2. When you mix HX-200 and 2 1/2 parts of HX-Filler, you can insert layers of burlap between coatings to achieve a very hard effect. It is best to use a burlap with a small mesh opening.
  3. By using HX-200 and HX-Filler, flexible props may be created.
  4. HX-200 may be used to blunt sharp instruments such as spears or knives.
  5. HX-200 may also be used to texture garments to give various looks.
  6. Masks for various productions such as horror movies are designed with HX-200.
  7. Animation, and animatronics.
  8. These are just several of the major uses of HX-200.

Since HX-200 is very versatile, you will probably find many more uses.

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Making Puppets with HX-200 

Using HX-200 for making puppets follows some very simple procedures and is not really difficult at all. Depending upon how hard a cast you may wish to obtain, vary the amount of HX-Filler with respect to the HX-200.

The following combination should serve as a guideline:

  • 1 part HX-200 to 1 part HX-Filler soft
  • 1 part HX-200 to 2 parts HX-Filler medium
  • 1 part HX-200 to 3 parts HX-Filler hard

This can be done either by volume or by weight.

Using pottery plaster or # 1 Art Plaster, make a negative plaster mold. All seams should be water tight. Use modeling clay to close all seams.

Pour the mixed compound into the plaster mold slowly to avoid bubbles. Tilt the mold, if it has any undercuts, to allow the slurry to reach any hidden surfaces.

Depending on the thickness of the cast desired, allow a deposit time of between 10 minutes and one hour. THE HIGHER THE FILLER RATIO-THE SHORTER IS THE DEPOSIT TIME.

Drain the slurry into a container and keep covered for future use.

Allow the mold, with its deposited cast, to dry for several hours. You may hasten the drying time by drying it in a oven at between 10 and 120 degrees F.

There will be about a 5% shrinkage. Please allow for the shrinkage when preparing your model.

The cast must be quite dry before it is removed from the mold.

After you have removed it from the mold, further air or heat drying may be necessary.

My discovery of Holden's quite literally revolutionized my work by answering a number of questions concerning working in small quarters and working a greater speed.

About twelve years ago, I had been doing one the kind of portrait dolls and puppets either out of paper maché, wood composition and/or carved wood. I had my work in a window of a Greenwich Village shop that Christmas. A woman stopped in to admire the movie star puppets and asked me what they were made of . As it turned out, she was also a sculptor and specialized in window display figures. She suggested I try latex. She gave me the name of Cementex on Canal Street.

Today I use latex for all the body parts of my figures. The bodies are made of twelve pieces (strung together on heavy elastic cord). The general effect is rather like a jointed, but stiff, marionette or an artist's mannequin. At first I had a little trouble coming up with the right formula to get the latex as hard as possible and to still maintain strength. Some early pieces were either too rubbery or tended to crumble or crack when I opened the molds. The mixture I have been using with success is about two cups of Latex HX-200 to three cups of HX-Filler plus about ten percent of the Lac 45. I found that with the addition of the Lac 45, the pieces can be cast with thinner walls and still become almost rock hard when they dry.

I have been able to work in my apartment without the neighbors complaining about fumes. And while the actual process of pouring is not too difficult in my kitchen, I have also expanded my workshop to the basement of my family's home in Minnesota. Holden's arranges to pack the latex and filler and has it shipped to the Twin Cities so when I arrive it's waiting and I can start production.
-by Ron Kron

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