How to Make an Asari Latex Headpiece.




About: I'm an indie game developer who enjoys making costumes, comics and cupcakes. I like video and board games, halloween, and laser dolphins.

For Halloween 2008, I went as Dr. Liara T’Soni from Mass Effect. I decided to make a mini comic about how the costume (well, the latex headpiece) was made, so others can see how its done, and hopefully save themselves some grief if they try to make a latex headpiece/mask of their own in the future. That said, I’m not a professional, I probably did things ‘the wrong way’ but it worked for me!

This project is old, made when I had no clue about making headpieces or comics, so bare with me! I've hosted this tutorial on my site (and finally got around to joining Instructables and bringing it here) so clunky and badly drawn as it is, with its inclusion of personal ramblings and bad font choice, I do know that it has helped others in making an Asari headpiece.

The headpiece took I think about 2 months, off and on - that included getting all the supplies, which ended up being the longest part. You could do it within a couple of days if you don't have supply issues (and are experienced!) I would allow, minimum, two weeks for this project if you are/were a noob like me. If you're one of those special effects pros who might complain I'm too generous in the time I give for stuff to dry, this isn't Face Off here. It's "Firsttimedoinganythinglikethisletsseeifwecanpullthis Off"

Step 1: "Mini" materials list
Step 2: Making a Head Mold
Step 3: Making an Armature (Using the Head Mold)
Step 4: Sculpting a Headpiece
Step 5: Making a Mold of a Sculpted Headpiece
Step 6: Making (and painting) the Latex Headpiece
Step 7: Wearing it!
(Step 8: Final Notes)

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic! The comics need to be big, sorry;  I found the text hard to read when I scaled the pages down so I tried to make them as small as possible without sacrificing readability.

If you have any questions, or are unclear about anything at all, please don't hesitate to ask!

*Bonus! This Instrucables has a few differences from the one on my site - including a never-before-seen makeup-test image that I decided to start this project off with!*

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Step 1: "Mini" Materials List

In the first panel of every comic page, I list the materials needed, some which you might not need if you skip some steps (like making a mold of your head) or go about a different way (like making a different type of stand for your armature). Here's all the materials I used for absolutely everything, but I recommend reading each page to see whether or not you're doing that step/need those materials. The " * " items are ones you need. A lot of the materials can be harmful to your health, so work in a well-ventilated area and wear the proper safety equipment. 

- * 50 pound bag of Ultra Cal 30 (for molds, casts. you'll have lots of leftover ultra cal; perfect for other projects!)
- bald cap (head mold)
- spirit gum (head mold)
- plaster of paris strips/gauze (head mold)
- scissors
- marker
- * water
- * vaseline
- * plasticine/Oil-based non-hardening clay
- drill and mixer bit (for head/armature)
- hammer
- duct tape
- rubbing alcohol
- cotton balls
- foam and/or paper
- file and sandpaper
- 2 big buckets
- two small containers
- masonry anchors
- string
- small piece of plywood
- two 2x4s
- six screws
- chair
- sculpting tools
- wire and aluminum foil
- * cheesecloth
- * 407 latex
- latex paints
- acetone
- old paintbrush (or mixing stick)
- silicone brush
- makeup wedges
- wax or parchment paper
- art brushes
- makeup
- makeup brushes
- * safety gloves
- * safety goggles
- * dust mask
- * a well-ventilated area to work in
- a buddy to help at times!

Step 2: Making a Head Mold

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

This step is brought to you by petroleum jelly. Petroleum Jelly; Over 101 uses and all of them icky.

If you try to do this, or plan on making any mold of your body, please, please, ONLY use plaster of paris (strips/plaster bandages), or alginate and plaster of paris strips/plaster bandages. Somewhere out there someone is thinking they can substitute plaster of paris strips with another form of plaster. Pouring plaster onto yourself is very dangerous. The curing temperature can become very hot, if something goes wrong you can’t rip away the strips/bandages, it’s harder to control, etc etc, you get the idea. If you’re thinking ‘oh, but I’ve seen someone do it that way’ hopefully they were using alginate and you were mistaking it for plaster. And if you’re saying ‘but I’ve gone and made one with just plaster before, nyeh,’ well, great, good for you kiddo.

Step 3: Making an Armature (Using the Head Mold)

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

Ultra Cal 30 for the win.

For my head, I used about 6.53 kilograms of Ultra Cal, so for water we used 2.5 liters.

Step 4: Sculpting a Headpiece

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

A short comic page, because I really don’t know how to explain just need to get your hands dirty and try! A good thing to keep in mind is proportions. Be prepared to start over if it's just not working. And maybe consider doing some 'sculpting warm-ups' (i.e. just sculpt something else, for fun, right before you start).

If you think you can't sculpt, you can't. But if you think you could sculpt, that you can learn sculpt, that you understand that everything in life needs practice and patience, and that you can sculpt (just maybe not at the level you want to be at initially)...then you can. I don't care how old you are, you can do it. I can only remember "sculpting" two things in my life before this - a coiled pot at art camp (not really sculpting...), and this ugly, horrible, cracked merged-bodies-possibly-a-vase-thing in high school. So...just give it a shot! And work at it!

Step 5: Making a Mold of a Sculpted Headpiece

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

My molds are far from being smooth or pretty, but they do the trick! I've seen other people pour a layer of Ultra Cal 30 over their sculpt, sprinkle in burlap, add another layer of UC, add more burlap, etc, but my slow method of painting pieces of UC with cheesecloth and layering them on worked best for me.

Step 6: Making (and Painting) the Latex Headpiece

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

Sorry...this step involves me crying and complaining a lot :'(

Step 7: Wearing It!

Click on the pictures (on the little 'i' in the top left corner) to get to a bigger image, so you can read the full instructions within the comic!

And there you have it! You very own Asari latex headpiece!!!

This tutorial was about making a headpiece - not about putting it on. However for this Instructables I decided to write a few steps on how I went about using liquid latex to help hide the headpiece seam line (so no comic about this part). If you have any questions about this part, ask away (or hey, search Instructables; I bet someone has done a tutorial on this).

You'll need:
hair pins (optional)
wig cap
liquid latex
hair dryer (optional)

1. Pin up long hair
2. Put on wig cap
3. Put on latex headpiece
4. Paint on a thin layer of latex (going from beyond the edge of your headpiece and down to your skin)
5. Wait for latex to dry (you can use a hair dryer on a low setting to help speed this step up
6. Repeat steps 4-5 until you get a seamless transition from your headpiece to your skin! I think my edges came out pretty good; what most people think is a noticeable seam line is actually further up the headpiece, where I had to cut away latex from the mask itself (since it was so thick! Rookie mistake!). The part where the latex meets the skin was not too shabby.
7. Cover the seam (and your face) with makeup! Make sure the makeup you use can cover latex, but be aware that different types react different to latex (some eat away at it and break it down)

Step 8: Final Notes (Not Really a Step!)

After Halloween, I ended up making a few more, to try to get ones with even thinner edges (accomplished with practice with a makeup wedge and stippling latex on). I was able to reuse my Ultra Cal 30 mold, and since I had a ton of latex, I churned out three more headpieces and still had a lot of 407 latex left. Since I bought large quantities of stuff (i.e. Ultra Cal, latex, plasticine) I was able to use everything I had previously bought for other costumes: Frank from Donnie Darko, Terminator, Princess Leia, Tatterhood - non-comic tutorials for all coming one day!

2008 has come and gone, and now a big(ish) community of Mass Effect costumers/cosplayers has developed, and people everywhere, from,,,, and even 'real life' ;) are making ME gear. So go make yourself an Asari headpiece and join the ranks. Or if you have another Mass Effect costume in mind, seek out those sites and check out other fans' work/tutorials, and ask questions!

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    20 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is awesome! Do you have any step by step text guide as I find the comic strips really difficult to read. Thanks!

    6 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi! So I've managed to get the plastercast off the clay model, one side is fairly clean but layers of cloth were falling off really easily. The other side stayed together but had loads of clay attached to it. Plus there are some gaps/sharp edges that don't look right.

    What's the best way to clean it up before fixing it together?


    Reply 2 years ago

    It looks like you used Plaster of Paris bandages instead of Ultra Cal + cheesecloth. Based on that: there is a possibility it might have not cured all the way, which is why it pieces were falling apart. During the application process, joining pieces might not have been smoothed together/layered at too long an interval to blend well together. With a UC30 mold, you could spray and wash out the clay - but DON'T DO THAT if this is plaster of paris mold; you will just destroy your hard work. I'm afraid you're going to have to carefully scrap out the clay. I've heard some people have used the microwave to melt the clay, but I have never tried that so I cannot recommend it. With the sharp edges, you'll have to carefully trim them down with scissors/an exacto knife, sand, and add a bit of 'filler' clay to help with the edges.

    In my tutorial, I say to use Ultra Cal 30; there's a few reasons behind this. Ultra Cal 30 captures a lot of detail, cures very hard, can hold up to water, and ye it is great at absorbing moisture. So when you pour slush latex into an ultra cal mold, the mold will suck all the moisture out of the latex, while staying solid.

    If you try to do the slush latex method on your plaster mold, there's a chance it will not be able to pull all the moisture out of the latex. The latex will either be uncured and/or your mold may fall apart. What you will have to do is brush thin layers of *liquid* latex (the thinner stuff) inside the mold. You may be able to slush around the liquid latex instead of brushing it on, but don't do too thick of a coat. You'll have to wait for it to dry before doing another layer - you will need *lots* of them to get a durable head.

    I hope that is of some assistance to you.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I looked high and low and couldnt find UB30 or the equivalent in thr UK! I have a liquid latex but ill buy some thinner too.

    I was thinking about using a hairdryer for the last of the clay and maybe doing some more plaster for the gaps but letting it dry for a week before i put it together.

    This is the first time ive done something like this so you live and learn! But thank you for all your help


    Reply 2 years ago

    If you have just 'regular' liquid latex, you shouldn't need to thin it out - especially since thinning it can be a pain too! Only if it's specifically 'slush latex' or 'mask latex' or 'monster maker latex' or '407 latex' would you have to try to do that (but I'd just recommend getting 'liquid latex' in that case)

    Maybe also add a few more bandages to the outside to strengthen it a bit more too. I'm eager to see how it turns out!


    3 years ago

    approximately how much latex did you use? my local moulding supply store sells the stuff by the gallon or the quart. Would I need more than a gallon?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    I needed less than a pint so a quart would work.


    Reply 3 years ago

    oh that's brilliant! thanks! I want to go to a local con as an Asari in a sari. because I'm punny.


    5 years ago on Step 8

    Would you be willing to sell one, by chance? I'm artistic, you to be in ceramics and everything...but I just had a baby. I have lost a lot of the time to be myself and be creative still :/ but I would really love to display Liara sometime.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 8

    I'm afraid I sold all the spares and extras I had looong ago (and then I destroyed the mold) - I believe The Mad Maskers sells them tho!


    5 years ago on Step 8

    I'm sorry. I meant "used to be" and "cosplay" liars sometime. Lol baby distracted me


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You look very similar to Liara, one of the few people that isn't annoyed by my calibrations.


    7 years ago on Step 8

    You are an artist very creative and innovating!
    Eres una artista muy creativa e inovadora!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Holy cow. Just saw this for the first time. I AM an FX guy, and I have to say this is really well done. No apologies from you ever again.

    Really, it doesn't matter "how" it's done. The end result is the only thing. Half the time people refine or invent techniques anyway. There's a lot of snobbery about. Ignore it. It's BS.

    Dream Dragon

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Incredibly detailed work, beautifully done. Thanks for sharing your project.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That is pretty damn awesome welldone!

    High five for you!