Introduction: How to Make a Latex Mask With a 2 Part Mold

Picture of How to Make a Latex Mask With a 2 Part Mold

I made a full head latex mask of the predator using a 2 part plaster mold, this method is used to provide excellent detail. and a reusable mold.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

You will need the following things

a Polystyrene head (ebay)

10kg NewPlast modeling clay, this is a clay that is reusable like plasticine

20-25kg Crystacal R Plaster (this is a hard plaster, much harder than plaster of paris, do not use plaster of paris for this its too soft)

Jute Scrim (burlap)

Hot Glue Gun


Large Marbles or other round objects to make the key points.

1-2 litres of Liquid Latex

100ml Latex Thickener.

Talcum powder (Talc)

Plumbers Epoxy Putty (for mold repairs)

HouseHold Ammonia

Acrylic Paints


AirBrush Propellant or compressor.

Artists Paint Brushes.

Washing Up Liquid.

Tubs to mix paint in and store it for a short time.

Sheet Metal pieces

Dental Pick

Depending on the mask your doing you may also need some foam, i found buying a cheap yoga mat to chop up works well, i used this to fill the dreadlocks.

Step 2: Sculpting the Design

Picture of Sculpting the Design

Take your polystyrene head and build up layers of Newplast so that it matches the dimensions of your own head or slightly larger as the latex will shrink slightly in the mold.

Now you can start sculpting your mask design, mine is the predator so i just added layers on and manipulated them to the shape i needed.

its important to note that you should try and keep things simple, if you have complex parts on the design you will need to cut these off and mold them on there own.

Step 3: Preparing for the First Plaster Stage

Picture of Preparing for the First Plaster Stage

you need to decide where you want your seam line to be, somewhere it wont show too much or can be covered by paint.

when you know where your seam line will be hammer in pieces of steel to form a platform, overlap each piece and make sure they are in there fairly deep as they will need support the weight of the plaster.

Hot Glue the steel pieces together to make the structure stronger.

Roll out some newplast about half an inch thick and cut it a few inches wide and lay it on top of the steel pieces nice and tight to the sculpt

then make some walls around the edge of the newplast about an inch and a half high this will hold the plaster in.

Make a well down the bottom fairly deep, as the plaster will drip down and this well will catch it.

Now add your round objects to make the key points, if your using marbles push them in just over half way in. I ended up using Xmas Baubles cut in half.

You should coat the round objects in Vaseline to make them easier to remove from the plaster.

you can put a thin layer over the whole sculpt of Vaseline, as long as this doesn't effect the detail of the mask.

Step 4: Adding the First Stage of Plaster

Picture of Adding the First Stage of Plaster

Ok first off, i will say now always use only small amounts as this will go off very fast and you don't want it going off in the bucket or jug.

make sure you cover everything in plastic where your working esp the floor

Ok first off mix a thin mixture of plaster a little thicker than water, like a very thin syrup, this is called the beauty coat. The beauty coat is suppose to pick up all the detail of your sculpt. pour this slowly over the sculpt, using the paint brush (gently) move the plaster over it from the well, keep doing this until it starts to thicken on its own and sticks to the sculpt.

now mix up another batch of plaster to a more creamy consistency and pour it over the mold, using the brush work the plaster over the sculpt until it starts to stick and go off.

do another mix the same as above and do the same again.

once that is on there, take your Jute Scrim (burlap) and lay a layer of it over the plaster

put a creamy mix over the Jute Scrim, add another layer or Jute Scrim, do this for about 4 layers of Jute Scrim this will strengthen the mold.

Now add 2 more creamy layers of plaster and that should be all you need.

NOTE: make sure you have an equal thickness of plaster over the whole sculpt, between an inch to an inch and a half or more if you can afford the plaster. look out for weak points, on mine it was the bend on the seam line which i will show you later what happened.

Step 5: Preparing for Stage 2 of the Plaster

Picture of Preparing for Stage 2 of the Plaster

Once the plaster has set on stage 1 remove all the newplast from the walls, then using some pliers pull out the pieces of steel carefully.

then peel off the newplast the plaster and the round objects used to make key points.

Now we need to repair the sculpt where the pieces of steel cut in.

then cover the plaster from stage 1 with Vaseline this will stop the plaster from stage 2 sticking to stage 1

add a couple of wedges of newplast to the edges of stage one, these will become pry points to separate the mold later on. do about 3 of these, one at the top, one on each side of the mold.

Now we need to build walls out of newplast to contain the plaster.

Step 6: Plaster Stage 2

Picture of Plaster Stage 2

the same as stage 1 we do the beauty coat

The a couple of creamy coats then some Jute Scrim (Burlap) then plaster and so on for about 4 layers the another 2 layers or more of just plaster until its between 1 and 1 and a half inches thick at least.

then let this set, this shouldn't take too long but i would leave it for a few hours to make sure its well set.

Step 7: Seperating the Mold and Cleaning Up

Picture of Seperating the Mold and Cleaning Up

Remove the walls from around the mold, then dig out the newplast from the pry points.

Using a large strong screw driver or bar, pry the mold apart carefully.

NOTE: you will see on the pictures there's a big crack in my mold this was due to a mistake i made when doing stage 1, i put key points on the top of the mold and also on the front of it, so when i cast stage 2 i managed to get them stuck together which i didn't notice and when i went to pry them apart it cracked the mold.

now you need to remove the polystyrene head and the newplast from both sides of the mold.

you will need to use the dental pick to pick out the bits from all the detailed parts. this will need to be done to all of the mold both halves, make sure you get all of it out.

Step 8: Latex Time

Picture of Latex Time

OK there is 2 ways to do this

1) you strap both parts of the mold together and then pour a little unthickened liquid latex in to the mold then swish it all around the mold and leave it until set, then repeat for at least 10 coats if not more, allowing the latex to pool in parts you want to be thicker.

and this is the way i did it which was because i had a gap in my mold due to the damage to my mold.


Paint both sections of the mold with a layer of thickened latex making sure you work it in to all the details. let this set and then do it 3 or 4 times more to make it thick enough. making sure you paint over the edges slightly then put the 2 halves together with latex between them.

now leave the whole love at least 24 if not 48 hours to set as much as possible, then de-mold it and leave it for another 24 hours to dry out some more.

then its ready to de-mold, just pull the mold apart and carefully pull out the latex.

Step 9: Creating the Extra Parts

Picture of Creating the Extra Parts

remembering that we cut off the extra bits that wouldn't fit in the mold, we need to mold these separately.

some of these can be cut in half like the mandibles and the big teeth, then we just build a wall around them out of newplast and pour plaster over them to form the mold.

then put thickened latex in the mold, do this a few times until the right thickness.

for the dreadlocks i just rolled out some newplast, covered it in Vaseline, i then paint on a mix of thickened latex and black acrylic paint, when this is dry i do a coat of normal thickened latex. you could dip the dreads in latex to coat them but i found this hard as i had no where to hang them up to dry.

when its all dried put talc on the outside and pull it back so its now inside out, making the outside black. fill this with little squares of the foam from the yoga mat then put a little latex on the end to seal it shut.

Step 10: Preparing to Paint

Picture of Preparing to Paint

Now we have the latex parts we need to clean them up and stick them together to be ready to paint them.

On all the parts trim off the excess latex from the seam lines using some sharp scissors, get as close as you can without cutting the main part of the mask.

Using a Dremel with a polish wheel run it over the seams where you just trimmed, this should remove small amounts of latex, do this until its flat to the mask.

Now i put latex on the base of the mandibles and using masking tape to hold them on the mask until the latex is set

do not stick the teeth in yet they need to be painted later.

Step 11: Time to Paint It

Picture of Time to Paint It

there is a few coats that need to be done to build up the effect of the skin.

to mix up the paint is fairly simple, you mix the required Acrylic paint until you have the right color required, then pour in latex 1 and a half times the amount of paint. Now you need to add the ammonia until the paint is a watery consistency, this is important because if its too thick it will clog up the airbrush.

NOTE: when using this paint you should be wearing a mask as breathing in the ammonia is really bad for you.

First off you need to paint on the base coat, this will be the main color of the mask in most cases, in this case i used an off white (Antique White), you will need to spray the whole thing which may require a couple of coats to cover the color of the latex.

Once this is dry you can move to the next color, each coat should dry fairly fast as they are thin.

Next color is Yellow, sprayed round the back, and around the top of the head and inside the eye sockets.

next color is the red/brown which is sprayed over the yellow but leaving some of it showing, also spray a few spots along the edge of the yellow.

next is the darker brown, again spray this over the red/brown but leaving some of it showing again, also spray a few dots like before.

Last color is the black, this has to be sprayed in almost triangle shapes, also again a few spots like before.

the teeth should be sprayed separately then stuck on afterward.
Spray them white, then the base a watered down yellow (using ammonia to water it down) to about half way, then using a watered down brown (using ammonia to water it down)  on the base.

the quills can be made from cocktail sticks coated in black latex (black acrylic paint mixed with latex) then stuck on using the same mix.

Step 12: Finishing Off

Picture of Finishing Off

Using the black paint and latex mix we put this on the end of each dreadlock and stick them in pre-made holes, using masking tape to hold them in place, its best to do one layer at a time, leave them 24 hours before removing the tape and moving to the next layer.


LizaS21 (author)2017-04-26

This is great, thank you!
How should one solve the problem of potential key points? Should they not be near anything too narrow, like the neck? Should they line up with the pry points? Thanks again!

n1cod3mus (author)LizaS212017-04-27

also check out my updated instructable

n1cod3mus (author)LizaS212017-04-27

the keys are just so the 2 halves of the mould will line up correctly.

Sashuke25 (author)2013-08-18

I was thinking about buying that exact latex for a slightly smaller but also two part mask (Cosplaying as Madame Vastra from Doctor Who. Aaand it's my first mask ¬.¬)
Two questions, a) Is it safe to be in contact with skin both as a mask and an alternative to spirit gum? b) Was 1L enough for you to make that WHOLE mask?
Also, regarding the plaster, how much would you say you used to make the entire mold at the end? Finally, do you have an alternative to painting the mask instead of buying specialised paints- I've got standard acrylics andd pastels etc.
Sorry for all the interrogations, I just don't want to waste any money :-D Thanks for the best tutorial online~ (Seriously though)

n1cod3mus (author)Sashuke252013-08-20

A) you can apply latex directly to the skin but it would be best to buy skin safe latex, having said that you couldn't use this to stick the mask to your face as the latex would remain attached to the mask at the end, and if you use it more than once it will start to build up inside. Spirit gum is your best bet, you can get it in most costume shops.

b) yes it was enough but the coating wasnt very even, I have since found a better more professional method which does require a hell of a lot more latex but you end up with an even coat and its quicker to do. clamp the 2 halves of the mold together and seal the edge using hot glue or duct tape. then slowly pour latex in to the mold until its full, leave it for about 30 minutes then empty the latex out, then leave it to dry inside the mold for 24 hours. use baby powder inside before you separate the 2 halves of the mold.

c) painting it, if you want to use acrylic paint then you need to mix it with latex to make it flex, what your doing is using the acrylic as a color for the latex. if you want to use it in an airbrush you need to water it down with ammonia, but wear a decent mask if your going to spray it, not a cheap paper one from the diy store. this is how I painted mine and it works a treat you don't need specialist paints.

DavidO19 (author)n1cod3mus2015-06-24

Leaving a full moulds-worth of latex in the mould and then pouring it out afterwards, is the stuff you pour out after useable still if you were to put it back into the bottle, or will it just continue to cure?
Very helpful instructable by the way!! Answered loads of questions I had :)

n1cod3mus (author)DavidO192015-06-24

yes it is still usable afterwards.

you can paint the latex on to the mould in layers but its time consuming and not as smooth on the inside and not as easy.

n1cod3mus (author)n1cod3mus2013-08-20

oh and btw spirit gum is what they use to stick masks to faces in the TV and movie industry, but make you buy the spirit gum remover as well. both are cheap and will only cost about £2 each a pot

timevortex (author)2015-04-08

could you use resin instead of latex with this technique?

n1cod3mus (author)timevortex2015-04-08

no, the resin would get stuck in the mould, you would want a silicone mould with a fibre glass jacket if you wanted to use resin. you would roto cast it also known as slush casting.

bethblog (author)2015-03-09

For the Alginate and plaster bandages have you check out Dalchem? They are Australia's leading supplier of moulding, casting, and modelling materials. What I like is that they have an extensive range of products which are sourced from around the world to bring you the very latest technologies. They also provide expert advice on the correct material selection, and guidance on how to set up and use the products.

XenoQueen (author)2014-11-07

Hi I was wondering if you could use any kind of clay? Or for different materials you need different clay for each thing.

n1cod3mus (author)XenoQueen2014-11-07

if you use normal clay it will dry and get stuck in the mold

Partybot (author)2014-02-13

I'm trying to make a latex skin covered in round dome shaped bumps for a dinosaur costume. Carving a raised smooth bump is a pain especially in big numbers.

Do you think it would work to dremel/imprint half dome indentations into a surface, apply a mold release agent, pour/apply the latex, let cure, and peel off the surface? Any recommendations on the material to use as the surface?

Thanks in advance!

n1cod3mus (author)Partybot2014-02-13

I would cut them out and then stick them on, or you could do the reverse like you say cut an indent and then pour latex on to it.

i would cut a disc, put a handle on one side then put a loop of ridged wire on the other, push the wire in then rotate the disc and it will cut a round dip out consistently.

loanshark (author)2012-05-09

Holy crap this is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

n1cod3mus (author)loanshark2012-05-29

thanks no problem, I would have released the new mold photos but its been a bit hectic for me as i just bought a house and lost my job :-(

ferry_vue (author)2011-01-20

Amazing work! do you specialize in costume design and special effects? Cause this is a great tutorial.

n1cod3mus (author)ferry_vue2011-01-20

thanks, I dont do it professionally but personally, i just enjoy doing projects properly so i did a load of research and figured out the best way to do it and documented it so others could follow my foot steps or improve on them.

the key is not to scrimp on materials.

djimdy (author)n1cod3mus2012-02-03

This is the most worthwhile advice. It's so frustrating to try to save a few bucks, only to lose all that sweat equity when the project falls apart at the end.

n1cod3mus (author)ferry_vue2011-01-20

I've made a few of these from the same mold now and sold them on ebay

Mermaid716 (author)2011-10-17

I've got to tell you this is absolutley incredible! How you did everything, all the steps. You're amazing and I think you missed your calling.
Wierd question, since I don't think I'd ever be able to make this will you make any more and sell the mask?

n1cod3mus (author)Mermaid7162011-10-25

Hi there, sorry for the delay, yes i will be making them and selling a limited number of them, i have one of these left with out dreadlocks but its painted, it is the last one as i have destroyed the mold using a hammer, which was really hard to do.

But i have since made a new mold, i haven't tested it out yet but it will be slightly larger than this one, and have a little more detail.

well i say i haven't tested it out, i tried a different method of making the mask by filling the mold with latex, but this failed even with trying to seal the mold, it just leaked out. I was documenting the process again to put on here but I may have to return to painting the latex in to the mold.

I'll PM you about them.

Mermaid716 (author)n1cod3mus2011-10-26

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the reply. Can you send me a pix of the new mask?
I think I might just go with the other without the dreads cause that's a little high in US dollars, plus shipping. Thanks though and I look forward to the pix. You are very talented!

LouisCorelli (author)2011-02-28

Sorry if this is a silly question, I'm new to this. After you had made the mould with the plaster could you use the mould to create a bust that you could airbrush? And if so what material would your pour in the mould to make the bust? Thankyou so much by the way, you explain the process in a way that's far easier to some of the other tutorials out there.

n1cod3mus (author)LouisCorelli2011-03-02

i would make a latex copy of the mask using the mold, take it out of the mold and use something like A B foam

to be honest this is a lot of hassle and you would be better off just buying a polystyrene head off ebay, plus if you put anything that isnt rubbery in the mold its likely to stay in the mold.

thanks, i tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, and took as my pics as i could with my plaster covered hands at the time lol

Zergling_pack (author)2011-02-06

A couple of questions, but first amazing work!
First, what would the total cost be roughly, of course.
Second, in step 11 the wrinkles around the mouth they don't look painted on how did you do them? If they are painted, wow that is some amazing painting.
Third, how would you make the mouth look wet?
Fourth, is the mask hard or rubbery like the masks you buy at a store?
Lastly, if it is too large for the person's head would you just add foam pieces on the inside of the mask?

Sorry for all the questions I just would really hate to mess up expecally if doing this costs a lot. Thanks for your time as well.

n1cod3mus (author)Zergling_pack2011-02-06

1) well the plaster cost me about £30 for 25kg and the latex is about £20 for 5 litres, plus acrylic paints at £3 a pot, and some ammonia at £3, if your using canned Air for Airbrushing it cost about £9 a can and i used up 4, then bought a compressor for later projects.

2) the wrinkles i cut in to the sculpt before i made the mold

3) you could need to spray the mouth with something glossy, you could use PVA glue but this would crack up if that area go squished

4) the mask is rubbery like the ones you buy

5) if you put a slit up the back and find it is too big you could always put velcro on it and over lap the back to pull it in

Zergling_pack (author)n1cod3mus2011-02-07

Well that isn't as much as I thought it would be. Thank you for the quick reply and information!

n1cod3mus (author)Zergling_pack2011-02-08

No worrys, You can buy most of the materials from or

I get my latex from tomps as i know its good quality they also do the crystacal R as well but sometimes its cheaper to get it from clayman

superant10000 (author)2011-01-01

This is a great instructable and an amazing product.
It shows that you put a lot of effort into this, nice one!

n1cod3mus (author)superant100002011-01-02

thanks appreciate the nice comments, yes there was a fair bit of effort for this one yes, and i will have to do it again due to the shrinkage as this one doesn't fit me unfortunately.

i will be doing another instructable soon on how to make the body for it, i have to admit this will be helped out by a fellow instructable member who did an awesome werewolf costume but he was so excited about making it he forgot to document it so i will document mine when i do it.

so don't forget to subscribe ;-)

Dream Dragon (author)2010-12-15

A really nicely documented project. Can you put a number on the "shrinkage"? 2%, 5%, 10%, could be useful to know.

n1cod3mus (author)Dream Dragon2010-12-15

its hard to say really, maybe 10%

Clayton H. (author)2010-12-14

Any pictures of it on your head? I think it looks kinda weird without eyes. Like your staring into a black hole and it's just sucking you into it .
Anyway, Great Project!

n1cod3mus (author)Clayton H.2010-12-14

Tis done my friend, on the last step, i didnt put it up before because i have a fat head hehe and it doesnt fit me as well as it should, which is why i mention making your sculpt larger than you need it as you will experience shrinking.

Cyberscann54 (author)n1cod3mus2010-12-14

it dont fit you hmmm you should have made a mold of your own head rather than buying a head on ebay

n1cod3mus (author)Cyberscann542010-12-15

to make a mold of my own head i would need help for one, and 2 i would need Alganate and Plaster bandages.

I dont have any of those, so i made the best of what i had at the time, now i know, and you do too, that you will get some shrinkage.

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