The Ins and Outs of Latex Rubber

Latex rubber is an artist’s weapon that can be wielded in varying manners. The properties and versatility of liquid latex rubber are to be experienced to be believed. Let’s find out more about this….

Liquid latex rubber is a versatile product that lends itself well to varied applications. The wonderful part about the rubber is that it is suitable for making both molds and casts. Changing the viscosity will change the application – latex molds require more thick and viscous formulations than casts. The degree of flexibility of the latex can be further controlled by adding an appropriate filler during the casting process.

Latex mold rubber is commonly used for mold making as it is economical, durable and easy to use. The molds will be tough, tear resistant and can be reused multiple times. They are used to cast plaster, polyester resin, urethane and even abrasive materials like concrete.

On the other hand, the casting variant of latex rubber is used for making hollow molded rubber articles like toys, balls, props and even display articles. It enjoys great patronage for making masks, puppet heads and even special effects like wrinkles, scars and gashes for theatrical work.

Latex rubber can be brushed, sprayed, poured or dipped for making the molds and casts. Brushing requires successive coats and sufficient time should be allowed for drying between each coat. This process is continued till the desired thickness is obtained. Spraying will also involve a similar process.

Latex is usually cast in plaster molds because of the porous nature of plaster. When the rubber is poured into the mold, the plaster sucks the water out and leaves a thin latex skin behind. Slip latex casting is a commonly preferred method as it is comparatively easy and does not leave any brush marks either.

When it comes to demolding the latex mold or cast, an easy trick is to dust the latex with talcum powder before peeling it off slowly. The powder will keep the fresh latex from sticking to itself. The latex mold will need to be supported before casting so that the flexible rubber can retain its shape.

Latex rubber is also used to form a protective coat on different items. The latex coat can make fabrics waterproof. It can also form a protective covering on tools that will provide a sound and comfortable grip even while insulating them against electrical hazards.

The most common use of latex rubber is for making a latex mask. This can be used for special effects in movies or even a fun element for Halloween and other occasions. It is usually cast in a face mold made of plaster bandages and then the desired characteristics are built on it step by step.

Other tips to keep in mind when working with latex rubber is that it contains a good amount of alcohol. Proper ventilation is required and do not inhale it too deeply or frequently. Similarly, the rubber will become unusable if frozen. Store it carefully in the winter months of the year.

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