How to Make Zombie Makeup




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Hey everyone,

If you've made indie films, you've probably though about making (or made) a zombie movie. I don't know why, but zombies are an irresistible gem in the lexicon of potential movie subjects (not to mention Halloween costumes).

Watch our video to see in action the steps to make Zombie makeup. And if you enjoy it, subscribe to our itunes and visit our site.

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Well first things first. Here's the shopping list:

1. Liquid Latex (flesh tone).
(You should be able to buy this at any decent costume shop, or you can get it online at places like )

2. Toilet Paper.
(Or "Bathroom Tissue" for all you people who are afraid to say "toilet".)

3. A Basic, multi-color make-up kit.
(I used a 5 color "aging kit" that I bought at a costume shop, but you could use any make-up as long as it has some flesh tones, reds, and maybe some greens. It all depends on how "dead" you want your zombie to look.)

4. White face cream.
(This is going to be the base of almost any movie make-up you'll do. It's like primer for your effect. You can get this at ANY costume shop.)

A few warnings...

First things first, when working with liquid latex you need to make sure your actor/actress is not allergic. Apply a small patch to the under side of their forearm and wait at least 15 minutes to see if it gets red and swollen. Most people are not allergic, but you don't want a pissed off actor with a red and puffy face in your life...believe me! Now that you know your subject is allergy free, have them wash there face, then put their hair back with something. Also men (or women I guess) should shave all excess hair off their face. Eyebrows are OK, but a beard or some stubble is really going to be painful when you try and remove the latex. Latex in your hair is a very bad thing. Heed these few warnings and your zombie make-up will go much smoother.

Step 1: The Base Layer

First thing you do is apply a thin, but even layer of liquid latex to the subjects face. This will be our base layer. Wait 15 minute for it to dry. You'll notice that as liquid latex dries it turns mostly clear.

Step 2: The TP Stage

Next comes the toilet paper or "TP". What is so amazing is that you can make a lot of different skin effects with just TP and liquid latex. For this particular zombie I made the cheeks look all wrinkly and dead, and (as you'll see below) an open gash on his forehead. But you can do a lot more by just playing with these two elements. The more you add to you subjects face the more you have to play with and make gross looking.

For the gross looking cheeks I put a single layer of TP on each cheek, then using a liberal amount of liquid latex I sealed them to my actor's face. Allow to dry.

Step 3: Blending the Layers

So now you have some gross looking white skin on your actor's face and you need to blend everything together. Start with a base layer of white cream make-up. Don't worry when you actor starts looking like a mime with leprosy, the white make-up just acts like a primer to build the rest of the color.

Step 4: The Gash

Now go and rip open that extra "flesh" we built up on the forehead. You might have to get the tear started with something sharp, so please be very careful. Open up the gash in an irregular pattern and fold back the extra flesh to reveal your actors real skin. Then fill in the inside of the wound with really dark make-up. I just mixed red and black. This should create a really cool looking wound.

Step 5: Darken the Eyes

The next thing I would do is darken around the eyes and mouth like so...

Step 6: Blending...

We're almost done. The last few layers of make-up are all about blending until it looks right. I started with a base color that was slightly more red then regular flesh tone, but really I feel zombies come in all shapes, sizes and colors. After the base color I started gradually adding more colors until it "looked gross". A good rule (which I break here) is to start with the lightest color and move darker. Take a look at the photos to get an idea of what I did.

That's basically it. If you want the total zombie experience go to your local thrift store, buy some old dress clothes and ruin them! Rip them, wrinkle them, rub them in the dirt. Your gross zombie make-up and fresh from the grave clothes will make a great addition to the league of the living dead.



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    50 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    These instructions really helped! I went on a Halloween cruise and have no make-up experience. For the costume party, I went as a Zombie Tourist and everyone was super impressed that I did the make-up myself. I've included a pic, but the camera flash doesn't really do the look justice. Thanks!

    EnsenadaCruise 191.jpg
    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

    Thanks for using instructables!

    bobs cycle shop

    6 years ago on Step 6

    simple, yet effective, a perfect 'refresher course' if you will!
    it'll come in handy tonight! :-D


    6 years ago on Introduction

    im doing an awesome halloween party this year and i know just about every thing there is on haunting. very cool.


    yeah the video sucked, but when it comes down to it... just do what you love. Check this out!

    CIMG0044.jpgRichmond Zombie walk 2011.jpg

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Cool tutorial. I'm trying to find some liquid latex, but I'm not sure where too look? I have a fancy dress party on friday. And I'm going as a zombie. XD I dont want to get some online though.

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Here's a cheap latex-like replacement you can make yourself:

    Amerika WastidChipmunk

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It seems like chain costume stores in malls don’t carry liquid latex. You’ll need to visit a professional costume store that caters to theater folk and the like. Check your local yellow pages. Or ask a drama club kid.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Awesome! I got so much info about how to do this to myself tomorrow for our schools halloween party!
    Thanks for making this!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My Wife and I used the techniques here for a Halloween party, and it came out great! (The crowd loved the make-up). Just wanted to say 'Thanks!!!' for the awesome instructions!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't really look at the instructables. I just do my face make up like a zombie very often for pictures. Tell me what you guys think and if I should make an instructable myself.

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    how did you do this?! thinking of being a hot zombie for holloween, hard to look pretty and gross at the same time


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    OMG!!! i LOVE your make up! i've been looking for good ways to do zombie make up but so far the instructions i found were very low quality. i have really dark skin so im not sure how well the toilet paper thing would work on me and im sure you know how hard it is being a girl and looking for good make up tips on how to be a zombie...but i would LOVE IT if you could make an instructable about how you did this. the gash on your face and the bullet wound have been the best looking that i've found yet!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great how-to! I'm going to use this on a local TV segment I'm doing on zombie-related websites for Halloween. I'll post the link when they put it on their site.

    I'm also going to include a site on surviving the (inevitable) zombie apocalypse and Zombie Ipsum, the lorem ipsum alternative for the undead.