This is a step by step instructional on how to make a rubber store bought skull mask into a reusable cosplay mask of Captain America's arch enemy the Red Skull.
The entire process took me 3 days and I documented every step.
I hope you enjoy making your mask.
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Step 1: Step 1
Start with a standard rubber mask of a skull. This one has open eyes and the mouth is molded shut. Any Halloween store has them. This one was $9.99 USD.
Put the mask on a Styrofoam head.
You will need: Liquid Latex, 16 oz bottle is plenty, a Detail paint brush, a wide paint brush, make-up sponges, a roll of paper towels, 2-3 rectangular sponges, acrylic paint: I used 3 shades of red, cream, black, yellow and brown
Step 2: Step 2
I cut the mouth along the teeth, so the wearers speech is not muffled and it's easier to breath. You can start with a razor, then continue with a scissors.
Step 3: Step 3
Trim around the teeth with a razor blade or tiny make-up scissors. This will give the teeth a normal rounded look, without jagged edges.
Step 4: Step 4
Mix up the color you want the teeth to be, use any standard acrylic paint, I used cream, yellow and a drop of brown, add in an equal amount of liquid latex (I used Halloween Spirit, it's cheap and works fine) and paint the teeth and gums, get in all the gaps and under the teeth. Liquid latex will grip the mask and not leave a sticky finish.
Step 5: Step 5
The Red Skull has very pronounced cheek bones and a thick bone brow. Use liquid latex to wet the area, then lay paper towel strips over the latex and cover with another coat of latex till the paper is saturated. Repeat several times after each layer is dry, 20-30 minutes. This is our foundation. Don't worry about the color right now, just build up about 8 layers of latex and paper towels on the forehead and cheekbones.
Step 6: Step 6
Now we can apply the major part of the brow, I took a cheap sponge, cut it into 1/8" width strips. first applied to the bottom of the brow, I secured it with paper towel and latex. Leaving a gap between the brows, as Red Skull has a bone in between his brows.Once the bottom half is applied and dried, cut a wedge piece of sponge to fill in the gap between the brow and the top of the skull. Secure it with paper towel and latex. Use paper towel to "attach" the brow to the top of the head, it should be a smooth transition.
Step 7: Step 7
cut a small piece of sponge to fit in between the brows. secure it with paper towel and latex. You can see that the ridges of the paper towels is leaving a texture, this will be covered later.
Step 8: Step 8
cut out a piece of sponge and fit the contours of the eye orbits, securing with paper towels and latex. Coat the entire surface of latex already applied with another coat of latex. Start to lay the paper towel to smooth out the rough edges, Red Skull has protrusions that are angled, but not smooth.
Step 9: Step 9
Cut out sponge to finish the eye orbits/cheek bones. Make sure you keep the eye holes as open as possible for the wearer to be able to see, their peripheral vision will be greatly diminished, so keep the holes as big as possible, while maintaining the effect. Secure all of the sponge with paper towel and latex and give the entire piece another coat of latex.
Step 10: Step 10
Red Skull has some very distinct and different ear. I've chosen to make the ears flatter and my own design for easier storage and my own touch. Cut out 3 individual pieces of sponge. I made a double set to use the same pieces on both sides of the head. It will be tricky, but apply paper towel and latex, using the back of your paintbrush to push in the paper towel to fit the spaces securely. Coat the entire piece with another coat of latex. The sponge sections will be secure and have just a little bit of softness. That's normal.
Step 11: Step 11
Remember those nasty ridges from the paper towels, take some masking tape, cut it to the proper size of all of the exposed, ridged areas and cover with latex. this will leave a smooth area. Make cuts into the tape if it leaves a flap or wrinkle, or replace it. Once there is all smooth taped finish, cover the entire piece with a coat of latex
Step 12: Step 12
Mixing equal parts of liquid latex and a brighter color red, paint the entire piece, using a make-up sponge. Leave about 1/2" between the teeth/gums and the red.
Time to detail the teeth, mix up a little black acrylic paint and latex, Paint the gum line and between the teeth with a detail brush. At this time paint the nose portion with black. Once done, mix up a different shade of teeth color with latex. You can now detail the teeth and cover any black that has gotten on them, give the teeth a couple of different colors as you like.
Use the detail brush to fill in red around the gum line, filling in the small gap between the tooth and gum, leaving only the gaps between the teeth black.
Step 13: Step 13
These steps are with the acrylic paint only, do not use liquid latex with these steps.
Put a black wash on all of the red portions. A wash is taking a drop of black acrylic paint, mix it with 4x the amount of water. This will look like black water, but when applied will make any nooks and crannys black and give definition to the mask. Dip a make up sponge in and lightly dab the entire mask, except teeth, pat dry with a towel. Then let this dry for about ten minutes.
Next is dry brushing with a lighter red. Dry brushing is when you put some paint on your brush, wipe it on a cloth several times until nothing comes off the brush any more, the paint that is still on the brush will only stick to the raised edges and make the whole mask pop. Brush the mask brow, cheeks and ears. This will highlight the mask over the wash.
Finally apply a spray coat of Krystal Clear spray. You can choose matte or gloss, this will protect your paint job that is not mixed with latex.
You now have a rubber/latex mask that can be used over and over again without a tacky feeling paint job.
Using theatrical make up, paint the wearers eyes red and wear a black morph suit hood with a hole for the chin and the eyes cut out.
Secure the chin and eye holes of the mask to the wearer with spirit gum, water soluble is good, but if you sweat it will dissolve, normal spirit gum and remover is inexpensive too. There are several youtube videos on use of spirit gum.
FIni and Hail Hydra.