The Oscar statue, otherwise known as the Academy Award of Merit, is the prize presented to film industry winners at the Academy Awards each year. Since the real awards cannot be bought and fake copies are not legal to sell, it is difficult to acquire prop Oscars for use in amateur plays, costuming and other hobby pursuits. The best solution is to create your own prop Oscar statue, using classic prop making techniques, so that you can have complete control over the look and size of the statue without the hassle. To make your own Oscar statue from plaster and fibreglass, complete the following instructions.
Create a clay sculpture of the Oscar statue out of Sculpey, using photo references from the Academy Awards website or other images on the internet. You must make your own sculpture to have a true representation of the Oscar, as the copies sold in stores are deliberately inaccurate. Bake the Sculpey in the oven, as directed on the package, then sand down the surface with sandpaper.
Divide the Oscar statue sculpture in half lengthwise by building up a wall of modelling clay along the middle. Coat the whole sculpture with a mould release agent.
Create a small batch of plaster by mixing gypsum into water, until you have a soupy consistency. Paint an impression coat of plaster from this batch onto one side of the sculpture, all the way up to the modelling clay line, then let the coat cure for six hours. When the coat is fully cured, mix up another batch of plaster and apply a second coat. Over this wet coat, apply strips of burlap, then another coat of plaster. Let this coat dry to the touch, then continue adding layers of plaster and burlap until you have a thick, sturdy mould side. Turn the sculpture over and repeat the plaster process on the opposite side. Let the entire mould cure for six hours.
Remove both mould halves from the sculpture, and clean the insides free of all clay. Paint the inside of each mould half and let it dry, then coat both halves with polyvinyl alcohol.
Create a small batch of resin by mixing the resin with the catalyst, according to the directions on your particular product. Paint an impression coat of resin on the inside of each mould half, then let it set completely. Over the impression coat, lay strips of fibreglass cloth, covering all areas, and paint over it with another coat of resin. Continue adding layers of fibreglass and resin until you have the desired statue thickness, then let the fibreglass cure for a few hours. While the fibreglass is still flexible, pull it out of the mould halves, then place it back in to continue curing.
Remove the fibreglass from the mould halves when it is completely hard. Cut the excess fibreglass away from the edges, then fit the halves together and tape them in place. Along the seam, lay down a few pieces of fibreglass cloth and paint over them with resin. Remove the tape as you work. Let the fibreglass cure completely.
File and sand away the raised fibreglass along the seam, so that it fits in with the rest of the statue. Paint the fibreglass Oscar statue gold, like the real Oscar, then coat it with a sealing spray like Krylon Crystal Clear.
Laminating resin is highly toxic. Always wear latex gloves and a vapour mask when working with resin. Also wear a particle mask when doing any fibreglass filing and sanding. Be careful not to use your Oscar statue for anything but personal use, as the design rights are fiercely protected by the Academy.
Things you need
- Sculpey clay sculpture
- Mold release agent
- Polyvinyl alcohol
- Modelling clay
- Protected, well-ventilated working area
- Vapour filtration mask
- Burlap strips
- Latex gloves
- Laminating resin
- Fibreglass cloth
- Bowl and stirring tool
- Masking tape
- Particle mask
- Files and sandpaper
- Sealing spray