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March 8, 2023

Translucent Urethane Rubber: How to use it in your Haunt

Translucent Urethane Rubber: How to use it in your Haunt, who just celebrated their successful 2nd year at the show, specializes in creating static props with translucent urethane rubber. Today, we’ll learn more about why that matters. Support for this episode comes from Gantom...

RibFX, who just celebrated their successful 2nd year at the show, specializes in creating static props with translucent urethane rubber. Today, we’ll learn more about why that matters. Support for this episode comes from Gantom Lighting and Controls. See what you’re missing with a free demo. Subscribe to everything from the Haunted Attraction Network here.


Rib: Hi, I'm Rib with RibFX and you're at Transworld 2023. This is our second year here at Transworld, we're expanding. Our first year was awesome, we did gangbusters, we did twice as much as we thought we were going to do, and now this is the fruits of our labor and our expansion. We've got a lot of new props to show you, tons of new designs, new characters, new innovations and we're happy to show it to you. So, this right here is a prop that really highlights the materials that we use. Unlike other vendors, we don't use latex or self-skinning polyfoam, we use a translucent urethane rubber which is a lot more impact resistant and durable. The translucency lends to a more premium look, almost like silicone, but not at the cost of silicone. It also lends itself to doing these kinds of cool lighting effects where we can cast these lights in here and you can have a lot more going on with the static prop. With something like this, you can control it with an app on your phone, dial it in, and we have a tumor pod over here that is something similar. So, that really highlights the uniqueness of the materials that we use. 

Philip Hernandez: So, the difference is in the material is it's cheaper, it's lighter, and it is a little bit more transparent. 

Rib: Essentially. So, Latex is what most people know.

Philip Hernandez: Everything is latex, yeah. 

Rib: Which is an organic product, it will break down over time, but it's still cool. I love, everybody loves Latex. Then there's self-skinning polyfoam. But unlike that, this is rubber, so it will never break or fall apart because it's not open cell. It could take water, you can hose it down, and the fact that it's translucent gives you a better paint look. So, it looks like silicone but it's not going to cost as much as silicone. 

Philip Hernandez: And it's going to be sealed, effectively?

Rib: Yeah, absolutely. A good example of that is right here. So, this is our little vagrant clown line. One of the things, too, is I like our characters to be very story driven. So, each character lives in its own world, so these characters are in their own little vagrant clown world. You see the same things over and over again, so I'm trying to bring things that I've never seen before and things that would make me interested in it. I want to see the Cthulhu I want to see in a haunted house, and this is what I came up with, a giant fish. These kinds of Innsmouth characters that are scary, I like also a little whimsical, I like things that have a little bit of humor to them as well. If something can be scary and funny at the same time, it feels a little more impactful. But these are some of the more popular characters last year, because I think when you present a haunt owner with something that they haven't seen before, I think it makes their creative mind fire a little bit, and these are characters that you can build scenes around, and that's really what I'm trying to focus on. This is our second year, so we're trying to build out our categories a little bit. Some of the Evergreen stuff, but with our techniques, our realism. Having static characters put in different poses that you can mount in different ways so everything's not just a mannequin, everything looks a little different, more dynamic. Detail, just adding layers and layers of detail, hair, all of this, and you can feel the urethane on this one right here. That's really very durable.

Philip Hernandez: And you have Santa. 

Rib: We have Santa. You got to do a little bit of Christmas.

Philip Hernandez: Do you have to do a little bit of Christmas? 

Rib: If we're going to do it, that's what I'm going to do. 

Philip Hernandez: Tell us a little bit about delivery schedule, like when do people need to order to get stuff in time?

Rib: Definitely Transworld is the time to order. So, this is where I book out my whole year basically, because Transworld is the show where you can do that. I'm not going to all these different shows. I'm here, everybody's all in one place, we're going to take the orders and my whole year is booked. So, if you're here, that's great, but after the show contact us and we'll see what we can do. Last year was our first year, as I said, we did twice as much as our projection. We still managed to do 100% delivery on time. So, that's something we're really proud of.

Philip Hernandez: Congratulations. That's incredible. 

Rib: Yeah, absolutely. We definitely have a customer service focus, because I feel that's something that I can add to this business as well. 

Philip Hernandez: This is only your second year, but you're expanding. Where do you see yourself going next year? Are you expanding the product catalog out more?

Rib: I think expanding the product catalog out more, stretching the limits of what we can do with the material, maybe adding some animation in there. I like subtle animations. One of the cool things about the urethane rubber is it's very flexible. I like things that maybe slowly breathe or have a slight animation, to me, which are a lot cooler and add ambiance to scenes. 

Philip Hernandez: And the lighting, I think that lighting is pretty unique.  

Rib: the lighting is unique, it adds value to a static prop, you know? 

Philip Hernandez: It really does, yeah. 

Rib: And again, ambiance.

Philip Hernandez: Even this, just the steady pulsing, makes it feel like there's a lot more going on. 

Rib: Absolutely. I want to be able to push the limits a little bit of yeah, quality and character creation, and some things might be, "is anybody going to like this?" Like the Pumpkin Mother, it's a little unique, or a giant fish, but those end up being the most popular. Because I think people come to Transworld, not just to buy, but to get inspiration. If a haunt owner says, "I haven't seen that before," they know that their customer hasn't seen it before, and that's a value add as well to the product. or Rib.FX on Instagram and just shoot me a line or give me a call and let's make something cool. 


Michael Ribagin

Head Monster Maker at RibFX

Micahel "Rib" Ribagin founded RibFX in 2021. He and his team have decades of experience making quality detailed props for haunts, theme parks, and in the film and television industries.