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Snakeskin Texture, Reinforced Delicacy?

This may be a long shot, but does anyone have an alternative for snakeskin texturing that isn’t a one-time use (rolling mill)? Snakeskin is pretty delicate, not sure if it can be sprayed with a clear coat (rustoleum) or if that would just make it more brittle. I know there are texture plates, but I haven’t seen them in person and they look rather “cheap” via sample pics, so to speak. Any ideas other than just find sources for snakeskin when needed?

Thank you :]

You might want to consider using a nylon mesh. In the past, I’ve purchased a body wash scrubber at the local pharmacy, taken it apart, sandwiched it between two pieces of metal and used that for a fine pattern. Larger patterns can be made with the kinds of nylon bags that garlic is sometimes sold in. Largest patterns can come from the onion bags sold in grocery stores. The best part of this is you can stretch the mesh in different directions before sandwiching to get different shapes. I know it doesn’t look exactly like snake skin, but experiment and you can probably come close.

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Naugahyde-type material is available in realistic patterns like snake, alligator, ostrich, even elephant. It’s vinyl backed by fabric and might be worth experimenting with since you’d only need a fraction of a yard. Here’s a link to one dealer: but I’ve bought Naugahyde ‘alligator’ at a local fabric store for costumes and I’ve seen the snakeskin, too. The textures are deep.

Thank you for the recommendations. I’ll definitely have to give the “Naugahyde-type material” a go, the patterns seem well done at least :]

The texture of natural materials holds up better under the pressure of a rolling mill. The texture on man-made materials tends to completely flatten during roller printing, as if there was no texture.

If you are setup for etching and have a computer scanner, you could scan
the snake skin. You can then play with the brightness/contrasts to get a
good image. Print out your final image using a monochrome laser printer,
and then you can use the old school toner transfer method to etch a raised
positive. If you are aiming for a negative imprint, you can invert the
image in most photo editing apps. You could also use the etched positive to
roller press a negative plate use a rolling mill.

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Only a suggestion…try the real thing. There’s an endless supply of snake sheds from zoos, pet shops reptile dealers and any of your friends that keep a snake. A rolling mill is likely to be overkill for capturing something so delicate, but a quality casting might fill your neds for snakeskin pattern.

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What about etching it in. Use a resist and drawing in the pattern. Might
be another option. That could be done after the piece is fabricated.

I think that you might be able to glue or use sticky wax to adhere the skin to a flat plate. Doesn’t matter - Plexiglas, aluminium,etc. If you don’t have a mold frame you can improvise or find another jeweler that has mold making capability. RGA has a cold pour molding compound that you can pour over the skin. wax can then be poured into the open mold. once you have a satisfactory pour - it might take a few - you’ll want to flatten the “back” (top of the pour) so you have a cast ready piece. Have it cast in brass/bronze or better yet, there are some really hard dental alloys. You should end up with a casting that you can solder a sheet of brass and use again and again.
Similar to ruthsart1 suggestion.

FYI … this is what nylon mesh looks like per dkuchta’s recommendation. The cells might be too uniform for your use.

This was plastic mesh … forget where I got it. You can get similar stuff at a fabric store. You can’t change the shape of the plastic mesh … but if you get the right fabric you can pull it around bit to change the cell shape.

You can use a piece of screen of the type used for a screen door. You can pull it around to get irregular shapes. Lay it on the sheet of metal you want textured, lay a sheet of metal on top of that, forming a sandwich. Put it thru the rollers or hammer it. Have fun. tom

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I’ll look into the mold idea, would definitely like to have something I can reuse, just wasn’t sure if it would be too delicate to even make one. Thanks for recommending!
Most zoos I’ve come across will not give up their skins, not even the one I work for :wink: I may have to acquire some from private individuals/internet if I want a variety.
I do love that plastic mesh look, uniform or not, so I’ll have to do some searching for that one and similar!

Thank you for all of the recommendations, very much appreciated!

Brass wire woven mesh is best for this. You can deform the mesh, poke holes in it, and create a very realistic snake skin.