How to Make Fake Heads




About: Indy Mogul is the network dedicated to DIY filmmakers and film lovers alike. Our first show, Backyard FX, is a creative and funny 'how-to' guide for making film effects on the cheap. New episode every Monday...
Hey, everyone, and welcome to the technical blog for Indy Mogul's Episode#14 (fake heads).This build was a lot of fun and I hope you guys enjoy the episode. Send in your fake head videos and remember you can submit your project ideas here! And don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes!

Shopping List

1. Styrofoam head.
(Many different websites sell these, but the cheapest I found were at )

2. Flesh colored spray paint.
(They don't actually make a "fleshtone" spray paint, so just get the one that looks closest to your actor's skin tone.)

3. Make-up kit
(Don't you people get it yet? Buy a simple make-up kit with some different flesh tones and reds.)

4. A wig.
(The foam heads come bald, So unless your actor is bald you'll need a wig.)

5. Glasses, mustaches, etc.
(Distinctive items like this that can be worn by both your actor and dummy head will help to fool the viewer.)

6. Fake blood.
(No matter which way you end up "offing" this poor dummy head. You'll probably want some fake blood on hand. Mix Corn syrup, red food coloring and a splash of chocolate syrup for yummy blood.)

7. Liquid Latex.
(To add some "fleshyness" to the face.)

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Creation of the Heads

So as you saw in the episode each fake head got the same initial treatment. Two coats of liquid latex, one coat of spray paint, then a make-up session to add details. If your head is not going to be seen up close you can skip the latex. All it really does is help fill in some of the little bumps in the surface of the styrofoam. The make-up mostly consisted of darking the lips and adding powder and a lighter flesh tone to the face. I darkened the eyes and apply eye brows before realizing that glasses would cover all that up. If you could get your actor to sit down next to you when you color the head that would be best.

Step 2: Destruction of the Heads (Part 1)

So really you could rig these up any way you want. There cheap and relativeley easy to cut and modify. I tried 3 different ways to rig the head. The first was to work with a stabbing or impaling effect. All I did was cut a quarter out of the back of the head, hollowed it out and made a tunnel to the right eye.

In this empty space I stuffed a freezer bag full of fake blood, then taped it into place. All someone has to do is puntcure the head and the bag and blood will gush out.

Next I installed the blood shooters from a previous episode into one of the heads. This was a similar process, but instead of of cutting a section out I cut the head in half. Then just tapes in the blood shooter nozzle to line up with a small hole I put in the forehead of the dummy.

Step 3: Destruction of the Heads (Part 2)

Last, but certainly not least, is the "ballistics gel brain" head. This one looked really cool, but in retrospect was maybe too sturdy. Like the rest I hollow some of the head out. This time I made a deep bowl in the head by digging in from the top.

Next I whipped up some DIY ballistics gel. We are going to do a special "Weekend Extra" on how to make this, but basically it's just water and Knox gelatin with a higher ratio of powder to water then usual. So I poured the "brain gel" in the empty head about half way. Then I lowered a glass into the center and taped it into place. When the gel hardens I can pull this glass out and we will have a perfect little pocket to fill with fake blood. Don't forget to spray the glass with cooking spray so you can get it out.


Now that your heads are prepped for destruction you can get to the filming. Remember to have extra sets of glasses and mustaches around, since some will probably get destroyed along with your heads. The key to making this look cool in the end is editing. Fool the viewer by showing the real actor right before and right after you inflict mayhem on your dummy head.

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    25 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i need some help i want to make it look like the head was impaled but all over like jigsaws venus fly trap i hope to make something like that


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice and funny too, in a twisted sort of way, really something we can all use. Thanks. Great safety tip. Well done


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If you want your face on the heads, you'll need to make a cast of your own face and you'll need someone else to do it for you as you need to lie flat while someone else applies the plaster. You MUST remember you need to breath while its being done so you need to leave mouth and nose holes and do not do this when your nose is blocked with a cold as it can become very uncomfortable. Plaster bandage laid over your face is good, which takes up the contours. However, you'll need to grease your face to protect your skin, particularly the eyebrows and (if you're a man) any other facial hair or the plaster will rip it out like a bad waxing when you come to take it off! Similarly you'll need to protect your hair too. Wear a hair band (I'm referring to the wide ones used to hold hair back for make-up application) or a bald wig if you want to cast the dome of your skull. Do not be a twit here, do not do your whole head or you will not be able to get the cast off! I have known one person who nearly did this so I'm not being stupid - I have to issue the warning. We used to have to do this all the time when I was an Art Tech in a school. Do not use cling film over your face either as you are at risk of suffocating. Also, the plaster heats as it dries so be prepared for some warmth! Gently peal the mask off and do not be tempted to do this too soon or you will lose the shape. Then you'll need to make a cast of the cast, so you get a positive from the negative. You can do this with layers of latex on the inside and peel these off when totally dry. You can then lay this over the base mask and you should have a rough representation of your own features. Alternatively look at this link on this site for casting in alginate.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable!! I'm curious...has anyone tried using this in the carpool lane? (minus the fake blood, of course) Did it work? can you post a photo of it in your car? THANKS!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Is it just me or do the heads look like Weird Al?

    Styrofoam skull cast in your home made ballistics gel may have worked nice. the last death was pretty fake looking though it was still pretty cool


    the gunshot looked best cause you couldnt see the raw styrofoam on the insideof the head or hear the syrofoam crunching


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Loved the eye death.. creepy yet entertaining. What did you make the clone in a can gell from? Tuna?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Ordinarily I don't watch videos because they all play in studdervision ever since the codecs passed the now old computer's power sometime in 2003. But your instructional video is excellent: well-paced, well-shot and edited, informative, and best of all funny. In case you're taking comment votes, I'd like to see the head-smash in slow-motion. :-)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    The test film was good. I risked crapping myself while laughing!