I was wondering if someone have any advices on how to flock silicone (using a flocking machine)?
I know it is easier on foam latex, but I would like to try on silicone because of the durability.
My first try (with no machine) was to thin down a platinum silicone than spray wet on my cast (which is silicone too) then flock by hand, then oven 60° for 20 min.
Result seems to be strong but I don t even know if it ll work with the machine...
I use an electrostatic flocking gun, which makes the fibres land end-on. I've done the hair on some silicone heads, coating the area I wanted to flock with the Platsil gel-10. I didn't thin it down, I wanted a layer thick enough for the fibres to sink in a little, so they stay stuck on. It worked well.
I should add - I don't spray the silicone on, I brush it on.
I've done more flocking with foam latex and a water based flocking glue, which is like a white PVA that dries clear, but more flexible. When I've had too thin a coat of glue, the flock has had a tendency to come off when I handle the puppet. That's more of an issue with a furry creature, where it's flocked all over, than just the hair on the head where you don't touch it so much, but the flock does seem to have stuck well on the silicone heads.
When you use silicone, do you have any trouble with the silicone adding a gloss finish to the surface?
Just matt it down with a matt translucent powder for make up or talc if you haven't the money.
I've also used confectioner's sugar (easy to wash off, and tasty, too! :-) ), but never flocked. Putting power on before could interfere with attaching the flocking, and putting it on after might be hard because the flocking would be in the way.
With the shorter fibres I got a dense covering of flock on the silicone heads, so matting the surface wasn't an issue.
With this latex puppet I used some longer fires - 6mm and 10mm - which don't cover very well. That was part of the plan, I wanted a sparse covering, so you could see the bones and wrinkly skin through the fur. (Came up a bit more uneven than I planned, but it will do.) But the flock glue does dry glossy, just like the silicone, and of course it showed. I sprinkled talc onto it, then blew it off with my airbrush after it was fully dried. I could have washed it, but the foam latex soaks up the water so it takes a long time to dry, and I didn't need to so I didn't.
With silicone, if the gloss was showing through the flock, I'd use matting powder (which is icing sugar basically) and wash it off with water. If I was seeing enough of the skin to see that it's glossy, I figure I can get the powder onto it after flocking to matt it, and wash it off.
Does it have an earth wire with an alligator clip, that you clip on to the puppet that you are flocking? I recently bought a small cheap 9 volt flocker that has that, and without the earth wire being connected, nothing happens at all. The flock just falls any which way.
Even with the wire connected, there isn't a very strong charge, you have to hold the flicker above the puppet and the flock falls straight down. It won't go up or sideways. But there is just enough charge for it to land end-on. It can't do the 10mm fibres at all, and the 6mm very poorly, but is adequate with 4mm and under.
With my old home-made (but not by me) 240v flocker, it is much more powerful, even though it is cracked and losing some of its power, and the flock will be attracted strongly enough to fly upwards or sideways onto the puppet. You can see the hairs react as you pass it close to the head, with them flying back and forth. That's the one I used for the silicone puppet head. It doesn't need a wire clipped on.
So maybe the silicone doesn't conduct the electricity well enough for the earth wire (if yours has one) to work? I would expect it to, because I have used the 9v one on latex, urethane foam, and on cardboard, and as long as you clip the wire on it works on all those materials. But I haven't tried it on silicone yet.
This is the silicone head, made of Platsil Gel-10 skin and Smooth-On Ecoflex 00-30 to fill it. They are both platinum silicones, and you can even mix them together, so the bend wouldn't make a difference.