Skip to main content

How-To: Skin Effects

Zombie skin effects is a broad subject ranging from simple liquid latex effects to fancy prosthetic pieces. This page will mostly deal with homemade effects and is intended to pass along tips and techniques that have been found to work well. Feel free to use your imagination and ingenuity to expand on this information.

If you come up with something new that works well, please share with us!

TOPICS ON THIS PAGE:

Useful Materials:

  • Liquid Latex
    Fake skin, skin texture, adhesive, and general miracle substance
    Ben Nye flesh colored seems to be a little easier to blend to skin colors
  • Spirit gum & spirit gum remover
    Adhesive that holds things down better than latex
  • Sealer / Castor Oil
    Completely optional. Helps conceal latex by preventing makeup discoloration
  • Powder
    Makeup Setting Powder, Talcum Powder, Baby Powder, Even Corn Starch would probably work for powdering latex
  • Cheap sponge paint brushes from a craft store
    For applying latex.
    I ended up with a 50pack for about $5 a couple years back that I'm still using.
  • Small Disposable Plates
    Handy for pouring liquid latex on. Good for makeup too
  • Tissue paper (skin texture and fake skin around wounds)
  • Cotton Balls (lumpy uneven skin texture)
  • Oats (lumpy crusty skin texture)
  • Latex Balloon (fake skin around wounds)

Liquid Latex Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that some people are allergic
  • Shave ALL skin that you intend to put latex on. You'll be sorry if you don't.
  • Keep it away from your eyes. The ammonia burns like hell.
  • Latex bonds to hair and fabric extremely well. Be careful.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Latex takes a while to dry.
  • Powder it after it's dry. Unpowdered latex will stick together if it gets the chance
  • Spirit gum around the edges of the latex after it dries helps keep the latex from peeling up as easily.
  • Sealer / Castor Oil - A very light coating on the finished latex piece can help keep creme makeups from discoloring on the latex and make the latex less obvious

Blistered & Peeling Skin

  1. Apply liquid latex to the desired area
  2. Optional: Add a layer of tissue paper and more latex for a more exaggerated effect
  3. When it's all dry, pick at it and rip small holes
  4. Optional: Use spirit gum around the edges to prevent the latex from peeling off as easily
  5. Powder the latex and brush off all extra powder
  6. Optional: Sealer / Castor Oil (see Liquid Latex Tips)
  7. Makeup

Rough, Lumpy, and Scaley Textured Skin

  1. Apply Spirit Gum to the desired area
  2. Apply your desired texture material
    • Cotton: Lumpy and Uneven
    • Oats, Corn Flakes, Etc: Scaley
    • Grits, Corn Meal, Etc: Rough
    • Tissue Paper: Rough, Uneven, and Wrinkly
  3. Apply Liquid Latex
  4. Optional: After the Latex is dry, apply spirit gum around the edges
  5. When all the latex (and spirit gum) is dry, powder the area and brush off extra powder
  6. Optional: Sealer / Castor Oil (see Liquid Latex Tips)
  7. Makeup

 

Gashes & Wounds

This could be just about anything from a a cut on the hand to a bullet hole in the forehead. You're really only limited by your imagination and what materials you can get your hands on.

Generic Steps:

  1. Build up the inside of the wound
    Cotton, modeling putty/wax of some kind, tissue paper, whatever will add the depth and shape you want
  2. Blend down to the area around the wound
  3. Finish the wound with the appropriate treatment for the materials used
  4. Makeup

Balloons As Skin:
I've been getting really good deep gashes by building up the wound area with strips of twisted cotton on either side of the gash and then using spirit gum to stick down pieces of balloon as skin around the wound and over the cotton. Then I use liquid latex to blend the edges of the balloon chunks down to my skin. The balloon material flexes as you move and can look a little better than similar effects done with tissue paper.