Coraline Button Eyes Makeup Part 2: Sculpting

The second Coraline video tutorial is all about the sculpting side and I had fun doing it.

Please view below or on YouTube and check out the transcript below which may be of use to you if you are interested in certain aspects or if you just plain can’t understand my garbled mouth-noise of a voice!

(I hope you like Crazy Jazz.)

If this is interesting to you then please leave a comment!

Happy button-stitching!


The article on how to make your own loop tools can be found here:
The plastiline I used was from Jacobson Chemicals in the UK, and is a material originally sourced from France. Find it here: separatorsScopas Parting Agent from Tiranti: ‘Liquid Tinfoil’ separator (UK):

Alcote Dental Separator:


Udent separator (US):

Video Transcript

“Hello, it’s Stuart Bray here with part 2 of the video series looking at the Coraline inspired makeup with the button eyes.

This video I was very excited about, very pleased to do all this…the sculpting video, the whole sculpting process.  Very, very fun thing to do and I was very pleased to document it in the detail that i did. Wanted to show you exactly what went on and how I did it.  So lets go take a look at the process.

Ok, if you recall in the first video, we looked at making cores. I made a plaster core and a modified resin core with the kind of extra area around the outside edge that we built out.  The first core we’re gonna be working on is the plaster core.

I’m going to paint on it a layer of KY Jelly…now if you don’t know what KY Jelly is then I suggest you ‘Google’ it.

(KY Jelly used as a release agent – available from pharmacy).   Let’s just say you can get it in a chemists.  You can use a good plaster separator.  (Other water activated plaster release agents include: Scopas Parting Agent and Alcote Dental Separator (US))

It’s a water-based release agent – you paint on the surface of the plaster and then it dries. Then you can sculpt on top of it and then when you are done, you then immerse the entire plaster head in water and it reactivates the release agent so then you can actually slide the sculpt off the plaster surface.

This is quite a handy technique because it allows you to actually sculpt a full head in one go so you know what the entire makeup looks like and then you can actually divide the makeup up into separate elements later.  So you can cut the chin, the nose, the forehead and the cheeks etc off and then put them on separate cores to make individual appliances rather than making one full piece.

I paint one good coat all over, and I allow it to dry overnight.

Now that the plaster is dry, you can begin work.

So the first thing I need to do is figure out where my buttons are going to sit on the face.  Incidentally, the buttons I’m using are just large coat buttons I bought from like, a fabric shop.

Okay, what I need to do is pencil in the boundaries of where I want my appliance to actually finish.  Now, I’m gonna be sculpting with a grey plastiline that I have, which is an oil based clay.

The next thing I need to do is melt some of this plastiline in a small saucepan I keep just for this purpose.  It took about 5 or 10 minutes to do this.  Just keep it on a low heat, keep stirring it and as it becomes more and more liquid, you can turn the heat off.

Drizzle the molten plastiline in between the pencil lines so I can still see them…I don’t want to lose those lines.  Now the plastiline has cooled down and solidified, I start using a sculpting tool to shape the areas in between the lines.  I want them to look like the lines are caused by the buttons being pulled into the skin, and they’re radiating out from that centre.

It’s a good idea to use a strong directional light – like a lamp – because then you can actually see the form much more easily.

You’ll notice I keep switching tools all the time.  It’s basically whatever feels right at any given moment – although I do tend to sort of cycle through the same three or four tools continuously (which, incidentally, are the griffon hook, a twisted brass loop tool, a small wooden tool and the rake).

I also did an article about how to make your own loop tools.  If you look underneath the video in YouTube), you’ll see an information box (It says ‘Show more’).  If you click on that to expand it, you shall find the link to take you straight to the article.

Now, some areas need some little additions so I’m going to add some small sausages of material, adding them and then blending them in to create those tight little ripples, and using the rake again you can see how easily they now blend into the surface.  They stop looking like additions on the surface and they have become part of the face.

So one last check with the buttons to make sure it looks like it should, and we are ready float this off onto our resin core.

So, in order to get this off the plaster without damaging it, what I’m gonna do is soak the entire head in a bucket of water overnight.  The plastiline is not affected by the water so these materials work very well together.

One thing I want to do is, while the plaster is soaking in the water, I’m gonna take the nose off with a hacksaw and a rotary tool.  Because the nose is actually surplus to requirements (we don’t need it for this), so we’re gonna just basically cut it off.

There was a little hole in the top after I cut it off then I noticed there was a little air pocket, which I missed when I was filling the core with resin.  So, what I’m gonna do is actually fill this with a bit of car body filler.

One neat trick is to use a little bit of cling film or plastic food wrap over the surface and smear that down, just kind of flatten it nice and smooth.  Then when the filler  has cured, you can peel that away and you are left with a smooth surface which requires minimal sanding.

Now we are ready to work on our resin core.

Once the edges are lifted up with the tool, it should slide off quite easily.  So now we have our sculpt, and the inside has an impression of the lifecast and theres a residue of KY Jelly in there, but we can just rinse that off in the water.

Now we can take the sculpture that has come from the plaster core and very carefully place it onto the resin core which is the same shape essentially, except now we actually have a sort of area around the outside of the sculpt which is flared out from the sides.

The plastiline has actually hardened up a little bit since it’s been in cold water.  When you press it down, just be careful to not leave any marks in the sculpted surface.

Now I’m ready to finish the sculpt on this core.  My job now is to get the edges really sweet and flattened out.  So, I go round carefully mopping up any water that I reveal as I go.

Now it’s a good idea to massage a little Vaseline or petroleum jelly around the edge just to help smooth it out.  It also helps the plastiline stay stuck to the core.

I already covered my detailing techniques in my three-part video tutorial series so if you haven’t seen these, I suggest you check them out – because they go into a lot more detail about how this kind of texturing works.

Using a small metal tool, I poke texture through the plastic to create a rough pore texture.

You could also heat the surface up gently with a hairdryer.  This softens the material and makes it easier to texture, and then you can place plastic food wrap over the it and press a coarse stipple sponge onto the surface.

If you peel away the plastic wrap, you reveal a nice, basic texture that you can work over ad into with the tools.  It’s very good for doing large areas quickly.

Into a solvent-proof container, (I’m using a little shot glass here) break up little blobs of plastiline and cover them over with lighter fluid (petroleum naphtha).

Obviously take all the precautions necessary when using a flammable liquid, so you want to do this in a ventilated area and you don’t want any naked flames or cigarettes or anything like that near this.

You can then mix into a smooth mixture.  You can add more plastiline or lighter fluid as necessary to get the right consistency.

Then taking a chap paint brush with the bristles cut down (an old toothbrush works well too), flick a thin coat of this mixture over the surface. This creates a raised texture, as with goose bumps or rougher skin.  All the texture we’ve done so far has been indented & pressed in.  So it is nice to have another layer of texture with this which comes out slightly.

Once the whole face has had a light coat of this, leave it to dry, and allow the lighter fluid to evaporate.  Probably takes about an hour.

Then using a drill with a countersink bit, I cut three location keys into the core.  These are used to ensure that the mould that we make later will relocate exactly every time.

I also add a little body filler and just smooth the inside of each key, just to make it easier to open the mould later.  Using the same mix, I also filled the lip line to smooth that out and take out any undercuts there.  All these steps go towards ensuring the mould we make later will open much more easily.

And that concludes the sculpting video.  Next time, we’ll take a look at the moulding process.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in tough through my site,  leave a comment or email me direct.  My email address is

Thanks for watching!”


 All material, images and text © Stuart Bray 2011

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12 Responses to Coraline Button Eyes Makeup Part 2: Sculpting

  1. circe says:

    loving your work! thanku

  2. Mila says:

    Followed your tutorial for the silicone cut, thanks for putting all this up, its a lot harder to find good resources than I thought!
    Here it is:

  3. jonathas says:

    muito bom mesmo a cada vídeo seu eu aprendo mais e mais ……..!!!!!

  4. Levi says:

    I love watching your work, it always makes me want to go sculpt! Keep up the great work!

  5. Odette says:

    Love this vid. Another fresh use for ky lol

  6. joe says:

    Great, great, great!

    I`m looking forward to the next part!

  7. Jules Kelly says:

    love it, you have the greatest easily understandable lessons bar none, thank you!

  8. tayce vale says:

    : ))))

  9. Another brilliant video – thanks Stuart!

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