Getting To Know Your Alginate

Alginate is the material of choice for making body molds for life casts. It is easy to use, easy to mix, skin safe and eco-friendly too. You will surely find something suitable given the broad range of options.

Alginate is the most commonly used material for making body molds. It is a natural substance derived from seaweed and is safe for the skin. It is easy to use as well.

Mixing is a straightforward process – take alginate and water in the specified proportions and they will mix easily to form a gel-like substance. A rapid mixing for 15 to 20 seconds will yield a smooth and creamy consistency that is ready to use. Small quantities can be mixed with hand but larger batches require a turbo mixer or speed drill.

The mix ratio is usually 1 part alginate to 3 parts water. However, the ratio changes depending on the formulation and some brands allow a much greater coverage with a mix ratio of 1 part alginate to 7 parts water.

However, care is required over the type of water used in the mix. Always use soft water (opt for distilled water if unsure) for mixing alginate as hard water will make the mix lumpy and ineffectual.

Once applied on the body, alginate will capture excellent forensic detail. The fine body hair, lines, wrinkles and even fingerprints are accurately copied in the mold and can be reproduced in the life cast.

What’s more, alginates are eco-friendly as well. Some of the formulas actually enrich the soil. Therefore, used alginate molds can be easily discarded without worrying about the effect on the environment.

That’s not all either. Alginate comes in a wide variety with silica free formulations available as well. The type of set can vary from regular to soft (for babies) and options of set time are also available ranging from 2 to 3 minutes, 4 to 5 minutes and even 5 to 7 minutes. There is fiber-infused alginate as well that offers improved tear strength and delayed shrinkage.

Life casting artists can easily source the various types of alginates from the EnvironMolds website,

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