Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Today we will walk through the making of the Aficionado Studios Detachable Re-attachable MAGIC Moustache, which is a plastic novelty brooch with a neodymium, or “rare earth,” magnet inside. The secret to this parlor trick is a second magnet concealed in the wearers mouth, between the upper front teeth and upper lip. * Ta daaa! *
I use Smooth-Cast ONYX®, which is a mercury-free urethane resin that cures at room temperature to a deep black, solid plastic. This product has high viscosity and the benefit of mixing in a 1A:1B ratio, which yields a bubble-free moustache. For these type of small castings, I use squeeze bottles available at any restaurant supply store to dispense a equal amounts of each plastic into CLEAR plastic cups. And mix back and forth.
Depending on how many pours you are attempting with a single batch, and the complexity of your mold, you have the option to use Smooth-Cast ONYX Fast or Slow.
Slow has a pot life of 5 minutes, but you want to be poured by about 3.5 minutes as the mixtures viscosity has lowered during activation and you will not have as successful of a pour the closer you are to 5 minutes.
Fast has a Pot-life of 2.5 minutes and the same rule applies, if you haven’t finished mixing and pouring by 2 minutes, you will experience bubbles and a loss of detail because the plastic has activated.
While there is only a small difference in pot life time, there is a substantial difference in the de-mold time, where Fast can be de-molded within 15 minutes, but Slow has to cure for 90 minutes before de-molding.
Generally, the longer the plastic takes to set-up, the more successful your casts will be.
My molds are all made of Dragon Skin® High Performance Silicone Rubber, which is a durable and long lasting silicone that can be used to cast a wide variety of media.
I spray each mold with universal mold release and pour a small amount of the plastic mixture into each mold and let the plastic set up. The amount of plastic poured in this first step is crucial. Pour too little and the magnet will be visible on the front of the finished ‘stache; Pour too much and the magnet will not embed completely.
I get my magnets from K&J Magnetics, because of the range of shapes, grades, and sizes of magnets available. I buy the N52 grade, because it is a very strong and dense magnet. Nothing worse than a weak ‘stache. This is also one of the few companies that offers a rubber coated option for your magnets, depending on their size.
I lay the magnet on the hardened plastic directly in the middle of the mold; I always make sure that the polarity of the magnets is uniform, for display and hanging purposes, I want them all to face in the same direction, as opposed to repelling each other (which would make for funny hanging) It’s important for this reason to keep one sample on hand at all times.
Once the magnet is in place it is time for the final pour, which will cover and encase the magnet in the moustache. The plastic adheres to itself seamlessly as long as no mold release has been sprayed between pours.
After the plastic has set up it is time to de-mold and finish. This is my favorite step because there are moustaches ALL OVER MY STUDIO, they stick to tools, anvils, foredom attachments.... I find them in the DARNDEST places sometimes!
Since they are magnetic, I use a set of diamond bit brass files to finish the edges. It’s important to make sure the edges are not sharp, especially because it’s designed to sit under the nose where the skin is oh so sensitive. Finally, a quick polish and cleaning and they are ready to be packaged.
For a little novelty product like this, packaging is everything. I print all my cards through NextDayFliers because they are inexpensive, great quality, and I can pick them up at the warehouse so if I’m in a time pinch - I don’t need to wait for shipping.
All novelty packaging has one thing in common. It is funny. So I made sure my packaging was really FUN. From the design of the cartoon face down to the absurd instructions on the back encouraging outlandish behavior on the part of the wearer.
The magnetic moustache is stuck to the card with its second magnet holding it from behind. The card is signed/numbered (this is an artistic limited series, after all) and sealed in a clear envelope.
BUT work is not yet done. Designing packaging means you are imagining yourself to be the recipient of the product. How would you like your work to be perceived? I want mine to be sophisticated and a little over the top, so for orders placed through my website (www.aficionadostudios.com), the MAGIC Moustache ships in fancy pin-strip boxes with a laser-cut acrylic bow-tie on the front. Classy!
Fore EVEN MORE information on the MAGIC Moustache CLICK HERE
Follow me on Twitter @AficionadoGuise and on instagram @AficionadoStudios and watch me like a voyeur! ;)
This - both your work and your description of it - is fabulous.
Melissa, you just made my day :) Thanks.