Friday, June 25, 2010

Latex Emily

I think that latex underwear with a "Hello Kitty" decal is way too cute for some, so I chose a different and more counterculture character for this tutorial post: Emily the Strange from Cosmic Debris Etc, Inc.

You can see the image I selected to recreate in latex in the lower left corner of the first picture. Above is a (inverted for no particular reason) copy I printed onto a piece of adhesive label.

You also need some latex leftovers in black (0.25mm here), red (0.4mm) and white (0.4mm; not shown on the picture) and some cutting tools of your choice.

I started by glueing the adhesive label to the (cleaned with thinner) piece of black latex. Then I cut the contours of the Emily image with my cutter and the small scissors (use the tool you feel most confident with). As the character is quite complex and has very thin contour lines, this took a while and required patience and concentration during work. You can see the finished black part (without some face details) from the backside on the second picture.

I repeated the process with the red piece of latex, where I cut out the slingshot and the small ball. Because the red parts are later glued behind the black parts, there is no need to cut the the inner contours of the slingshot (see third picture).

On the third picture you can see, that I glued the black pieces (including face details) with the adhesive label side to a piece of paper with a mirrored print of the original motif. This fixes all parts in position and makes the addition of the red parts easier, especially when cleaning all surfaces with thinner.

As a last step I glued the black/red piece onto a small sheet of white latex.

Normally I would clean both parts with thinner and also apply latex milk onto both parts before I let them dry and put them together. For the creation of decals it is sufficient to apply the latex milk to only one part (here the black one) so you do not need to remove the glue from the other one (the red and white ones) later.

It is still necessary to cut the white latex into form. I followed the black contours and the right arm (I transferred it with another printed adhesive label) with the cutter and used some thinner to clean the decal from glue leftovers. The thinner has the additional benefit, that the edges of the black contours kind of "melt" to the red and white parts below. This gives the decal a cleaner texture.

On the last picture you can see the final work lying on a black background. I have talced the decal to preserve it until later (you might notice the matt look and the talcum powder in particular within the slingshot contours). I will show you a polished version later.

Caveat: you will notice that my contour lines are not as thin as the original ones. The reasons are, that on the one hand I might have been too anxious of cutting the contours too thin and spoiling my work. On the other hand the "melting" with thinner also added some width to the contours.

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