For Halloween this year I wanted to go as a snake girl from a 1920's freak show and a key part of the costume was creating a realistic scale effect. After experimenting with several products I found that liquid latex created the most realistic look, was the easiest to apply, and held up the best throughout the night. While this instructable will show how I created my snake girl effect, I encourage you to think of how to use this technique to create your own mermaid, dragon, alien, or whatever.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The materials I ended up using were:
-Cream Based Face and Body Paints
-Loose Powder Foundation
Based on your own needs or aesthetics you may choose not to use some of these materials or experiment with some of your own. Some things to consider are the look you are trying to create, how much area you are trying to cover, colors you want to use, and cost of these materials. When I decided what worked best for me, I knew I did not want to cover my entire body in bright green scales. Instead wanted the scales to be more subdued, but still noticeable from a distance and cover different parts at different consistences. I also knew I wanted to wear this costume on other occasions.
I choose Maximum Impact Green Liquid Latex (available online at http://www.liquidlatex.com/liquidlatex.html ) which is sold for large applications since the smallest size is 16oz. There are a variety of other types and brands on the market that might suit your needs better. Unless you are covering yourself head to toe, you will probably not need much, after the one full application and several small applications I still have well over half.
If you do choose to experiment with other materials, please try to use products made for use on skin and test them on a small area before applying heavily to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction. While people with latex allergies probably know not to mess with liquid latex, you might still react poorly to certain products, even those made for that purpose, and might break out or get a rash.
The tools I ended up using were:
-A Small Cheap Paintbrush or pencil
-Foam Make-up Applicators
-Bobby Pins and Hair Ties
-An Extra Set of Hands
Again, based on your own needs you may need less or more tools as you see fit.