View Full Version : Latex prosthetics/masks

09-10-2002, 11:40 PM
Does anyone here have experience making or using latex prosthetics or masks? Basically, I've seen sites about both, but I'm curious to see if anyone has any personal experience and could share some thoughts on them. It seems that using prosthetics is simpler (with the exception of applying paint), but I'm not convinced I will be able to get the effect I want with the prosthetics I've found.

The general manner of creating a mask seems to be: create clay sculpture of mask, then make a plaster mold, then pour latex in. Afterwards, you add details like paint and holes to breathe through! But the whole process seems kind of intimidating... has anyone actually done it?? And are the masks uncomfortable to wear?

09-11-2002, 05:05 AM
i have some.but since i live in a small location right now i cant do much of what i usually make.yes ive dne the latex casting molding ect.but only if you're really serious into doing masks and latex fx go for it.doing one item may be costly.and yes it takes practice. youll need to prepare for a few test masks and such..first time wont be perfect i myself know.yeah that process above is pretty much it.there a lot more but thats the basic right there of what goes on.masks can be uncomfortable to wear if youre not use to them.as usual any mask can get hot to wear! its something one needs to get used to.
if youre unsure or the process of mask making is a bit too scary or your unsure theres always those online who can do custom work for you.some are pricy and some may fit you budget.just need to looka round :) if you have anything else to ask too ill be around :)

09-11-2002, 03:46 PM
Laytex prosthetics used to be a hobby of mine. I worked more with smaller prosthetics than entire masks, (scars, mechanical eyes, stone skin protrusions...). Are they uncomfortable to wear? They certainly CAN be, but not all of them are. It really depends on how they're applied and how hot it is out.

There are cheaper and easier ways to make them as well if you're not doing a whole face, since they dont have to fit quite as perfectly.

09-11-2002, 09:03 PM
Here's all the basics of what to do. I used this when I first decided to give it a go and it's worked well for me:


It wasn't all that difficult to do. The end result should fit well but gets really hot fast. You can buy packs of sport headbands and that will help cut down on the sweat but even with a good breathable mask it's going to heat up. I think a full mask is easier than having to glue stuff on but you can't convey your facial expresiions like with an appliance. It all depends on the effect you want in the end.

09-12-2002, 12:37 AM
Oooh, yay, it's good to know that people have survived the process. ^_^ Any of you mind if I inquire about specific details? Like, painting and such? I'm pretty sure that I would only need to make the mask to cover the front of my face (I'll check), so that might make it a little easier.

The main thing that's making me stress now is the fact that I don't know how well this works for making arms as well... Say, for example, that I need to have significantly larger and different arms than I have. Can I make latex "gloves" using the same method and then stuff them with foam or something to retain the shape (how thick is latex, anyway)? ^^; I don't think I can do this with fabric since it probably won't look very skin-like.

09-12-2002, 01:27 AM
Be very very careful of what you put on your face/skin. Most casting/mold making materials are not safe for skin contact...only a few are. Some casting materials can be chemically harmful, irritating, or produce excessive heat when curing. In a nutshell read ALL safety precautions and don't put anything on your face/skin unless it says it's safe to do so.

An example of what not to do. DO NOT attempt to make a mold of your hand using a plaster mold. The heat generated from plaster during the curing process may be enough to burn your hand....yes there's actual medical records of this happening to some people before. I'm not trying to scare you just want to warn you.

09-12-2002, 11:01 AM
I actually have an ultra, ultra cheap method if you're just creating small pieces, but it wont work if you're doing your whole face.

I use toilet paper for the base of my molds. Yes, yes, it sounds silly, but if you take decent toilet paper with lots of fibers in it and then soak it until it becomes a gooey mess, you can mold it into whatever shap you need. Then, cover it with liquid laytex and let it dry. Once its dry, you can dig the paper back out and you're left with just the laytex prosthetic. I used this technique when making all the attachments for the facial prosthetic for my zelgadiss costume.

As for color, I often find its best to use dye to get your laytex roughly the right color while its still in liquid form. Then, after its dry, you can use paint to achive the detail effects.

09-12-2002, 11:25 AM
engrish- I wasn't planning on leaving my arm in something while trying to make a mold for it. I'm just asking if it's possible, using clay or something, to create a base for giant arm gloves. ^^ Once I have a base it doesn't seem that there should be a problem using the plaster on it for the mold.

peacecraft- What sort of dye do you use? I will definitely have to make a full mask for my face... but that's a neat method you have.

09-12-2002, 02:02 PM
I use whatever dye is available. You can even get pretty good colors from something as simple as Foodcoloring. Note, the color will usually dry MUCH lighter than it initially goes on. The initial dye is just to make your painting job a bit easier later, but isnt a substitute for painting.

03-18-2005, 10:25 AM
looking to make chi's ears from chobits any tips?

03-18-2005, 12:14 PM
Sounds like you're planning on making a slip casted latex mask as opposed to a foam latex appliance. What's the difference? Well, a slip cast type is like your average Halloween mask; one size fits most, slip over the head sorta thing that fits mostly well. Foam latex appliances on the other hand are generally custom made for the individual wearer, have a texture more like real skin, are meant to be glued onto the body as opposed to worn over the body, move with the body more naturally and take a heck of a lot longer to apply. They're also worlds more complicated to make since foamed latex requires a number of different ingredients to get it to foam in the first place (foaming, gelling and curing agents in addition to the latex itself to name a few).

Here's a rather easy method on making a slip cast mask. Its a bit crude, but it'll get the job done.

However, I don't recommend their method of painting the latex. Latex can be pretty touchy stuff, especially in regards to paint. Many paints will actually break down the latex causing it to rot faster. You're best bet is to use a special kind of paint called "Rubber Mask Grease Paint". Its specially formulated to work with latex and can be found at some theatrical and most special effects makeup shops. If you're in southern California Namie's in North Hollywood has a great selection at a good price or you can buy it from Cinema Secrets' web site for a higher price and with fewer color selections.
Note that after you apply a layer of color you have to use a neutral set colerless face powder to set the makeup so that it own't smear.

Your other option is to use PAX paints. Basically PAX paints are a mixture of powdered pigments and Pros-Aide. Pros-Aide is a liquid appliance adhesive. Doesn't mess up latex, is very strong stuff but incredibly safe for your skin. Anyway, once it goes on it needs to be powdered to remove any tackiness but after wards is about as smudge proof as any latex paint.

Neither RMGP or PAX paints wil look faded once applied since they're the stuff that's designed to do the job right.


03-29-2005, 07:26 AM
Hmmnn, righty,I'm planning on making a Two face ( from Batman Forever),outfit for my Hubby,( I'm making 'Sugar' for me), and I need to make half his face look burnt.I know you have just used make up for yours Morgan( which looks great btw), but I was thinking along the lines of an appliance.The tissue method sounds good,but I'm not sure as I have never attempted anything like it, maybe a half mask for quickness...So I would need spirit gum,remover, latex to blend edges, and water based make up paints( or would they have to be grease ones to stop the latex degrading).....is that right?..I'm not having much luck finding something not too expensive, and being for the left side of the face...Any tips would be greatly appreciated...