Over the past 12 hours, I've run a few more tests using the techniques described by David Pea, which are turning out really well. Overall opacity is good, though not completely perfect. However, given the fact that the only time you see problems are when you hold it up to light, I think I am willing to sacrivice a sliver of opacity for the tradeoff of having a much more lightweight end product.
Here's how a scrap looks right when it comes off the mold. The color of the outer skin is still not quite right, but fairly close. A little too strong on the brown side.
Here are a couple of samples together, from different pigment tests.
Here's a layup of my third and final run. Shows how I embed the fabric on top of the latex.
And here are the three final samples together.
I consider this test and new process a total success. The opacity is good, bubbles in the latex are absolutely minimal, and the overall finish is very nice. Better than what I was getting before. My next step is to order up some supplies to do a full cape.
In other news, I went to demold the chest emblem that I repaired yesterday, only to learn that there was another little bubble in it. I patched that this morning, so it should be ready to go tonight. This will be my third chest emblem out of the mold so far, and I'm really excited with how nice they look. I will probably retire the mold after this. I just want to make sure I have a few on hand for costuming needs.
It's currently snowing like a mofo out here, so I will be trapped at home for the next few days. This will give me a good opportunity to focus on a few remaining items on the cape, like getting supplies lined up and ordering a sewing machine.