Smoothing out sliced cardboard

I’ve been finally getting around to a project that has eluded me for a long time, trying to create a life-size model of my head with enough precision to mold masks onto, so they fit smoothly. My 3d printer’s size limitations always kept me away from it, but laser cut cardboard doesn’t create a smooth surface.

So I thought: What if I fill in the gaps with spackle?
These are the initial results. I still have to sand it down, and I’m debating what to do once I have the smooth surface. I’d like something that I can actually mold hot acrylic and/or EVA foam to, but I haven’t had a moment to sit down this week.



I just realized, I’m going to need a LOT more cardboard to make myself a tailor’s mannequin! :laughing: Lucky I decided to go with the Pro.


Yeah, I’m always surprised at how much I go through. As a Prime addict I’ve been saving every big box that’s come my way and I still have trouble keeping up with my projects.


Great idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

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I don’t have any experience at all with this, but perhaps one of the products like these,, would be suitable for making a reverse mold when you finish your model. After that I’d try supporting the mold using expanded foam in a box. After that sets, I’d try pouring an equal mix of sand & plaster of paris as that makes a really good refractory material for mini metal forges, and should stand up to the heat of shaping other plastics.

I’m sure you’ll get better help from people on the forum who’ve actually done this. :grinning:


I am curious what technique you used to create the 3D scan of your head?

I had come across this some time back:

They use air dry clay to do the filling. I suspect your use of spackle is cheaper and easier to sand.


Why don’t you use heavy duty paper instead of cardboard? It’s much thinner and will give you more details and probably little need for plaster. It will take more time but the end product will be much better. Also why can’t you use the 3D printer? You can slice the head up into sections, print them and then glue them all together.

Very interesting - keep posting the results ( I wanna see the mask).

…some people will do anything to use the car pool lane…:grinning:

3 Likes might have something on it. They have videos on practically everything.


You could try smoothing on oogru, a diy Sugru-like substance. The bonus would be that it is water proof, so you could mold leather masks on it without destroying the form. If you made the cardboard interior a tad smaller, it would account for the added exterior mass and still fit yo’ face ;p Good luck!


I was unaware of this. Thanks!


nice. Sugru is expensive!

Thanks for finding the link :smiley:! Although similar materials, their properties are such that I use them for different things. Sugru has a stronger adhesion and a denser consistency, which makes it great for many things, including phone/tablet bumpers and hooks. Oogru is much softer and will pop off quickly if you make a hook or electronics bumps. But it works very well for projects that have some kind of support, like your head sculpt, or a supported mold negative to cast into. It is also much softer, so if you need to add pins(around) to situate a mask, they go in nicely.

My latest project was a cement casting, where I used Sugru to encase the form (vinyl munny doll), suspended it in a small enclosure (cardboard box), and filled the cavity between the form and the enclosure with Great Stuff foam. After I cut it out and removed the form, I coated the inside of the Oogru with Vaseline and then used rubber bands to hold it together and squirt cement into it with a sandwich bag. It was a 4" cast, and for a first time casting cement experiment, it went pretty well! Although I accidently broke off both arms and an ear, the form itself was fairly clean, with only a bit of seam mismatch. I was too impatient to let the cement cure completely in the mold, so since it was still soft, I wire brushed the whole thing to give it a rough texture. Once I epoxy the broken bits off, my cement munny will be complete! (insert Dr. Frankenstein laugh here)

Part of being an artist is knowing how to roll with your own mistakes😊


Sounds like you need to head over to Show and Tell.


Yeah, I wanna see your cement munny.

I’m still angry that I missed the chance to nab the giant cement munny from Pearl St in Boulder when the KidRobot store closed. I asked Paul Budnitz (via ello) what happened to it, and he didn’t know either.
It would be sad if it got destroyed.

edit: Poor memory. It was a Dunny, not a Munny.


So sad to see them close…

OTOH, don’t have the clerk asking me “oh, are these for your grandkids?” :neutral_face:


@scatterbrains, I’ll go do that ;p I glued the bits back on and also cast another one made out of hypertufa (mix of peat moss and cement), and here they are together:

The right one is the hypertufa, and it is still pretty wet after 2 or 3 days. Amazing how much less it weighs compared to the all-cement munny. They are only 4".

Can’t wait to try out some other cheap casting form ideas with the next size up!


Very cool! Hypertufa is something I’d love to experiment with, so it’s great to see the results of your work as well as how it compares to cement. Thanks!

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I would suggest bondo. very easy to sand, AND you can use a “cheese grater” style shaper on it for the high spot.

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So I’m clear on understanding this, the laser cuts the cardboard smoothly, but (due to the cardboard’s thickness) creates more of a ‘stepped’ relief instead of a smooth curve. Right?

When I first read this title, I thought it said that the laser doesnt cut the cardboard well and needs to be smoothed. Maybe I’m thinking too much. :slight_smile: