The purpose of this instructable is to give you an insight into how to sculpt and cast a basic one piece full face latex mask.
There are many different techniques to make masks and prosthetics using two half casts, injection, paper mache and so on and so on, however, this Instructable gives you an insight into a simple,cheap and effective lightweight full face mask that can be re-used.
This mask is a reasonably low cost application as you can re-use most of the materials.
The entire cost was approximately 2 Euros (when you have your initial resources already).
As you are using latex you must check that you are not allergic to rubber latex as you will be using it extensively around the edges of the mask and around the eyes, mouth and cheeks still do all the usual tests with the materials to check for allergies prior to application as you can see in the next step.
The whole process takes about an 10 hours not including the initial set-up and clear up processes, as you have to design, sculpt, refine the sculpt, cast the clay and then make the latex mask.
Hope you find it useful and enjoy yourselves trying it out.
Step 1: Skin Preparation and Allergy Testing
With all the products used in these instructables there is potential for allergic reactions. Certain common things may be unlikely, but paints, latex and other fx supplies have the potential to cause reactions. Large numbers of people are allergic to latex, and you do not want to find this out after you have just painted it all over your face.
The most common way to test products for allergies is to place a small amount (a few mm across) on the inside of your arm. This skin is very sensitive, and is also not visible normally, so not so much a concern if you do get a rash or staining.
You can do multiple 'dots' for your different products, and it is sensible to do this a day in advance so you can be sure there is no problem.
To ensure a smooth makeup application, it is sensible to exfoliate your skin first to remove the layer of dead skin on top, which will ensure that any prosthetics you apply will stay in place as long as you want them.
After exfoliating it is a good idea to moisturise. This is not only good for your skin, but should also help the smooth application of the makeup, and provide a slight barrier to prevent any staining that you might get from, e.g. fake blood.
When applying prosthetics to skin, or anywhere you will be putting liquid latex, you will most likely want to shave any hair (certainly on arms and legs) as it is extremely painful to pull these off when they are attached to hair. When applying Gelatine prosthetics they are easily washed off with warm soapy water.
Step 2: Materials Check List
Materials that you will require for this homemade prosthetic mask application are as follows:
Pre-prepared gelatine blocks. Check out my infected gelatine zombie bite instructable for details on how to make gelatine blocks: https://www.instructables.com/id/Infected-gelatine-...
Kryolan liquid latex (I get most of my make-up from Kryolan, have a look at the site for inspiration http://global.kryolan.com
Setting powder (or Talc this can be a little to course sometimes but good for practising)
Paint brush/make-up brush with soft bristles
Scissors (for triming prosthetic)
Hairdryer (for drying latex)
Plasteline clay (or equivalent)
Plaster of Paris base face/Dummy head/Polystyrene head (chose your base that suits you)
Plaster bandages (Optional)
Metalic paints (or metalic sprays)
Polymer super Sculpty clay
Sculpting and refining tools
Step 3: Making Your Base to Apply Your Clay
To make a basic halloween style mask (As per this Instructable)
Simply use an old mannequin dummy head, a polystyrene head (coated in several coats of of PVA glue first) or cast a rough plater of Paris head (Clay is harder to remove and will leave some plaster residue in the clay).
To make bespoke movie grade fitted masks
To make prosthetic masks like they use in the movies you need to first make a life cast of the person who will be wearing the mask if you want it to fit perfect and be comfortable for hours. This can be done with plaster or with a skin safe alginate, or silicon rubber.
Check out the links below for detailed instructions...
You then need to cast the head of the person from the mould. Once you've done this you use clay to model the mask on the face you cast.
When this is done you make another mold of the mask. To cast the mask, you pour or paint the latex/silicone material between the two molds. The latex/silicone will cure and can be removed from the mold and glued to the live person's face .
Step 4: Building Up You Clay Base Layer
I use Le Beau Touche (Hot Melt) as that is my preference which is a little sticky but doesn't stick to the Plaster of Paris as it is oil based.
For basic prosthetic sculpting even plasticine is acceptable it depends on the level of detail or 'refinement' that you require.
Add clay to your basic face structure (Plaster of Paris head/polystyrene head or mannequin head).
After you have covered the head with clay then start sculpting.
I did a quick cast in plater of paris on my face and made sure I had baby oil (Release agent) on my face and my hair but make sure the plaster isn't on there too long as it does heat up and may burn the skin.
If you choose this plaster of Paris base cast then make sure you leave the nose clear of plaster to allow adequate breathing.
Sculpt the main bulk of the shape with the tools then smooth out the clay with your fingers.
Build up the detail then move onto defining the face features in the next step
Step 5: Creating Face Features and Adapting the Sculpt
Be creative and sculpt exaggerated features constantly referring back to your reference picture.
I researched elephant skin and warthog for this piece.
As you can see in my pictures I played around with simple shapes to check what suited the design best with regards to sizes.
Don't concentrate on refining your design ay this stage that comes later.
Step 6: Getting Your Proportions Right and Finalising Your Design
At this stage you can spend more time making sure the proportions match your initial design from various angles and ask for a second opinion.
The demo video below gives you an insight into proportions and the start of refinement explained in the next step.
Step 7: Refining Your Basic Sculpt for an Added Realistic Look
In the picture with the small lump of clay and some simple thin wire you can make your own refinement tool to scrape over the clay in many directions to create skin texture if required.
Have a look at my Gelatine Zombie Bite instruct able for all the refinement techniques and video...https://www.instructables.com/id/Infected-gelatine...
Most of the refinement to add texture is done by scraping, poking or scoring the clay with a piece of plastic like a transparent bag on top to prevent the tool marks being too obvious. I have made most of my own refining tools to suit my own techniques.
The free mini lesson video below gives you some more 'refinement' advice.
Step 8: Adding More Skin Tone and Brushing Off Excess Clay
Play around with the texture at this stage, if you make a mistake just smooth it out wit your fingers and start again.
Make sure you lightly brush off any excess clay with a soft bristle brush. It shouldn't effect the detail too much as long as you do it light enough>
Step 9: Apply De-mould Agent or Baby Oil
If you are nervous about using the hot gelatine pre-prepaired mix and it sticking to the clay apply some release agent or baby oil but as the clay has oiling it already it is reasonably low tack.
I found this just helped a little to remove any loose particles and refined it a little more.
Step 10: Making Your Negative Mould Using a Thick Pre-paired Gelatine Mix
This is a very cheap alternative to using an expensive alginate. (Only apply to clay NOT the bare skin)
Note: The hot gelatine doesn't melt the clay that I have used and comes off easy but do a test patch on you clay material incase it melts it if different to my clay choice.
When using alginate, especially a seaweed based one it can often be very brittle and flaccid and requires a couple of layers of plaster bandages over the top prior to removing.
This gelatine mix, if made strong enough is flexible enough to create an effective mould but strong enough not to need bandages as support, but it all depends on how much gelatine you have used in your mix.
It will feel like an incredibly messy stage in the make but it all peels of most surfaces in one piece.
If you get it on material it melts easy with arm water.
Follow these simple steps:
- Position your sculpt in place that it is stable on a clean smooth surface (kitchen worktop or equivalent)
- Melt your gelatine not allowing it to bubble
- Pour the mix over you mask slowly making sure it fills all the holes, use a metal spoon to spread it around all over the clay.
- Let it set for around 4 hours
- Peel it off the clay slowly
- Go to clean up and chop up step.
Step 11: Applying Liquid Latex to You Thick Negative Gelatine Mould
At this stage pour a good amount of latex into the mould making sure to rotate the mold in your hands to get the liquid latex into all the recesses and work out air bubbles.
A small brush may help you work the latex into deeper parts of your mold.
After you are finished, turn the mold right side up to allow the excess latex to drain from the mold.
Catch this latex in a clean bucket and save it for the additional coats. Rotate the mold 90 degrees every 5 minutes, so that the latex is evenly distributed to the back, front, and sides of the mould or apply thin coats and dry with a hairdryer on a cold setting or it will melt and soften your gelatine mould.
This will help prevent the latex from pooling up, and becoming too thick in one spot.
A hair dryer on the lowest heat setting aimed inside of the mold will speed up the drying process.
With a hair dryer, it should only take around 5 minutes or so for the layer to dry. Repeat this process until you have built up at least six layers.
Leave overnight to allow the latex to fully cure.
- As you apply each coat of latex make sure that you do not keep covering the top of your mould or your edges of latex will be too thick and hard to conceal when applying to your face. Each layer of latex should leave about half a centimetre free from the last coat to allow a gradual thin towards the edge of the mask.
- When pouring the latex out of the mould each time do it from a different area or you will get a thick latex layer at that specific point.
- Use you finger to run around the outer latex layers to create a thin edge and to remove deep pockets of latex.
Step 12: Making Your Horns and Jewellery
I made my horns and jewellery from super sculpty polymer clay (hard) and baked them in the oven for 15 minutes then painted them with acrylic paint and gold and silver spray paint.
- Play with various materials to create different textures. The horns here where created by rolling the clay over simple chicken wire.
Step 13: Clean Up and Chop Up
Slowly peel out your latex prosthetic and apply talcum or setting powder as you go with a soft bristle make-up brush to stop it sticking to itself.
Cut up you gelatine mould into small pieces and stick in the freezer for future use or re-melt it and pour into ice cube trays then the freezer for more man gable blocks for later use
I have used this one batch of gelatine over 20 times already and it still works fine, it will last for months if you make sure you keep freezing it as soon as you are finished using it.
So it is cheaper than alginate but as it is incredibly hot tand it CANNOT be applied directly to the skin, just onto clay.
Step 14: Test Fit Your Prosthetic and Cut Breath and Sight Holes
As you latex mask is not made from foamed latex or foamed gelatine and has not been made to fit you exactly by creating a face cast then it will be a little loose, but as you can see from the pictures it is still very effective and is very low cost.
To cut out you nose, eyes and mouth holes cut small circles first and keep re-applying it to your face and adjusting the hole sizes when you take it back off.
When you are happy with the mask fit it is ready for painting and sticking which I will cover in my next instructable soon.
Try not to have sharp edges in the latex keep the cuts rounded or the mask may split easier, although if you have applied 5 - 6 layers of latex it will be fairly robust.