Basics of a Latex Mask

To improve my goblin costume I changed to a latex mask. Today I will show you the quick basics of how to make a latex mask.

The first step is to sculpt your design. In this case I am going to use my orc mask that I made since I found photos of it.

orc clay sculpt

orc clay sculpt

So, I sculpt over a styrofoam wig head that I found at Halloween. I measure my head and add enough clay to the wig form to make it the same size as my own head. I also have a plaster life cast of my head that I could use, but it is heavy, and if I ever screw up a mold then the styrofoam wig head can be broken or cut to save the mold. So, either method, you need something close to your head size, throw some clay on it, and sculpt anything you desire.

finished clay head

finished clay head

The next step is to mold it, which can be tricky until you get a little bit of experience. I don’t have photos of the mold, but this image should help you understand.

two part plaster mold

two part plaster mold

Ron Cole has a great tutorial on youtube on how to make a nice two part mold.

After the mold is made, liquid latex is poured into the mold and slushed around.

freshly pulled latex mask

freshly pulled latex mask

Once it is dry, you pull it out and it feels like a Halloween mask. Then you add some paint. I personally use regular acrylic paint with a little liquid latex mixed in, which makes it flexible so it can move and stretch with the mask.

freshly painted mask

freshly painted mask

A lot of folks use an airbrush, but you can also just use a brush. From a few feet away, a latex mask looks really good. This is my orc character in costume.

finished orc character

finished orc character

Up close you can see bits of my skin around the eyes and mouth. This can be hidden with some paint. This is the hardest part of using a latex mask.

IMG_8481

So, a mask is pretty easy to make. It looks great on camera a few feet away. It is easy to slip on and off. It will save you from doing so much makeup. It can be made for under $50-$75. It is a great way to ensure continuity from shot to shot as compared to makeup.

On the downside, it does take some sculpting skill, and molding can be a pain. The best latex usually has to be purchased online. It is is super hot and your actor is usually uncomfortable and sweaty. Closeups are difficult because the actors eyes and lips show through.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

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