In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. In this special Halloween episode of DiResta, Jimmy wields a slasher-worthy kitchen knife and goes all Norman Bates on a block of styro. When the carnage is over, he emerges with a sweet Star Wars stormtrooper helmet for Halloween. We suggest you might want to employ a slightly less murderous carving tool. -Gareth Branwyn



  • Magic Sculp
  • Dow Blueboard Styrofoam
  • 3M 77 Spray Glue
  • Acrylic Paints


  • Kitchen Knife
  • Band Saw
  • Sureform Tool

Jimmy’s Notes:

I’ve been trying to think of a good project to use Magic Sculp on. It’s a great product: mix the 2 part clay together and it will cure over several hours to a hard plastic. It files and sands easily, too. Before it cures, you can use water to smooth and shape your project. For Halloween, I wanted to make a mask. I’ve always loved Star Wars characters, especially the stormtroopers. When I found a 4″ thick piece of Styrofoam blueboard insulation in the trash, I got inspired to undertake a stormtrooper helmet. I found the kitchen knife last year at a flea market for $2. The process of sculpting is very specific and each sculptor has a different method. I like a big knife. The idea of worn texture adds history and character to an object. I used acrylic paint and the dry brush technique to make the helmet look old and tired. For the eyes, I used some perforated aluminum I picked up years ago at the hardware store.

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Jimmy DiResta

Jimmy DiResta

I make stuff.

  • Adam Flaherty

    A couple of alternative tools to use when cutting foam are a hot wire (many varieties from CNC to hand-held) and an electric carving knife (the kind used for carving turkey, usually found at thrift stores). Link Bundle:

  • gunter

    sorry, is there a link to the video? is there a video?

    • Gareth Branwyn

      The video is embedded in this post. Do you not see it?

      • gunter

        looks like it might be just me? I see a sketch of the helmet, which links to the image, but no video that I can see (maybe I am just being dim?) I don’t think I have an usual set up, Pretty standard work supplied Win7/IE8

        • gunter

          sorry, “I don’t think I have an unusual setup” not what I wrote.

        • Jim

          I could not see the video using IE8 but switching to Firefox let me see it.

  • Charles Haase

    Awesome work! Can you give us an idea of how long it took to make?

    • jimmydiresta

      thank you! this took about 10 hours all in over 3 days .. i let the magic sculpt cure over night after each application…

  • James Patrick

    Sweet build. Have you considered using spray paint or other chemicals to dissolve the foam?

  • ka mitchell

    Hi Jimmy, miss you ,the rat boy and all.Hey who knew P. Diddee would mess up you, Jlo and me , with his songs.MAKE America beautiful, reMAKE some more treasures out of what the compacients see as trash.I hope they last a thousand years and lead to future civilizations finding out we were not so bad after all,JUST MISGUIDED.

    • jimmydiresta

      hahah thank you for the love ! ill always keep picking the trash !… that is where i got the blue foam BTW ..

  • Matt

    How big do those blocks of blue foam need to be? I’d like to make this, but I’m afraid everything will be out of proportion! Thanks!! Amazing job btw! It’s simply genius.

  • Pam

    Can I use prepared clay? There isn´t Magic Sculp in my country.