So now that you've gathered your supplies, it's on to the fun stuff: production. This article will focus on prosthetics, both off and on the skin.
The above walking corpse is a combination of both methods -- on and off skin prosthetics. The heavy textured pieces visible on the cheeks is done via the off skin method, the rest, directly on the face.
Let's start with some general prosthetics.
If you did manage to get some liquid latex, great. If not, you don't HAVE to have it, it just makes the process of removing pre-made prosthetics from glass a little easier. Yes, you need a sheet of glass for this part.
Sheet of glass (small) -- must be slick on one side. Don't worry, it'll come clean afterwards. A mirror will work as well. You just need enough surface to pre-make a few sections, depending on how many zombies you need to create.
Liquid latex or Elmer's
Texture additives of choice (oatmeal, birdseed, breadcrumbs, etc). -- you can use your toilet paper or paper towel on this step, but it's much easier to do those directly on skin.
Cornstarch baby powder
-- Slather a thin layer of your goop on the glass. Start out thin, or it'll take forever to dry. The shape is up to you, but remember to keep it to a size that will FIT on your victim. This is your base.
-- Let dry.
-- Powder lightly, dust and blow off.
-- Add another, thinner layer, just to get the surface wet.
-- Carefully add in your texture. A mix of items works well, just remember to keep it thin, otherwise, it won't stick.
-- Lightly pat with fingers to make sure it's stuck, then let dry.
-- Powder again, making sure to get all excess off.
-- Add another layer of goop to seal, spreading as necessary. This gives a good foundation to add makeup on.
-- Let dry. Powder and remove excess.
When ready to use, just peel from the glass -- use a razor blade if you have it to prevent curl-ups on the edges that will make it harder to apply.
The powder is necessary for several reasons. First, these prosthetics will stick to each other without it. Second, the makeup will adhere better when the surface isn't perfectly slick.
You can apply these via spirit gum, but really, you don't need it. Use what you have. The back will still be slick and smooth from the glass, making it easier to apply, and if you use as adhesive the same goop you used to make it, it will stick better. Yes, you can use Elmer's for this, too.
Now, return to look at the top image. See the nose, forehead, and chin? That's all direct to skin. And easy easy easy, to get a nasty peeling skin look. The supply list is impossibly simple: Elmer's. Or your peel off masque, if you have it. Me, I stick with Elmer's, because I always have it.
There's several different ways to handle application. You can stretch skin as tight as possible, then apply -- but then you have to hold that skin taut till it drys. This can be a pain, especially if you have to do more than one zombie. Besides, you can get wrinkles other ways, like using tissue, so don't sweat it.
The above picture is the same general method as the preformed prosthetic skin on glass, only direct to skin. This works well for odd areas, areas that might take longer to dry on glass, and areas bigger than the glass you have to work with. It's also relatively fast if you're working a zombie assembly line, as you can apply to one, and be letting it dry while you work on another.
Direct to skin prosthetic rot.
Direct to skin prosthetic rot.
Basic Peeling Skin: This applies to all exposed skin--face, hands, feet, etc.
-- Apply a smooth, relatively thin layer of Elmer's. You want it not entirely clear, but not thick white either. Do it somewhat at random, especially near muscles, so that the peeling is more natural. You don't need to cover the entire area.
-- Let dry. For thinner peels, stop at this step.
-- Add another layer. Let dry.
-- Yep, one more layer, focusing on the middles of the sections and ignoring the edges. It's necessary for details.
-- Let dry.
-- Gently start to peel at the edges, just to get loose skin flaps. Don't get carried away.
-- Using fingernails (the safest), start to tug and tear in the thicker areas. Create holes, slices -- whatever look you want. You can even fake bullet holes this way, just make sure they aren't on the head -- after all, that kills a zombie, and dead undead aren't any fun!!
-- Once you've popped a hole in the glue skin, use a little more glue and run it inside the deepest parts of the hole to puff it out. Apply a spare amount, you don't want it to run.
-- Let dry.
-- Repeat, if necessary, to get it puffy.
-- If you want, add a glue spot for a gross pustule in the center. Repeat to get the height you want.
-- If you're going for really gross, now's the time to make pus. Since you'll be dealing with blood, which is already sticky, you can just tint the glue and use it for pus, and while it won't run, it'll be nastily effective.
-- Elmer's is tintable. Use your cream makeup, and mix in some green, as well as some of the yellow from the bruise kit. Mix carefully, and apply with the end of a paintbrush to the blister.
After that, all that remains is the makeup.
More Detailed Effects: You can fake nearly all commercial appliances with this method, for next to nothing in cost, except for things like intestines falling out of the abdomen.
-- Start with the layer of Elmer's again. Have torn pieces of toilet paper or paper towel ready to go: you don't want to try tearing after your hands are slimy. If you're lucky, you can have your victim working on this.
-- Don't let dry this time. Instead, start to apply the tissue to the goop. Scrunch, crinkle at will.
-- If you want to be able to cut sections open for wounds, leave big, deep folds in your tissue, and make sure there's a good amount folded into the space, no matter how small you crunch down the fold.
-- Seal over it with more glue.
-- Let dry.
-- Add another layer of glue. This will give you a good, stiff base to work with, and will help protect the tissue when you get to gore, keeping it from disintigrating on you.
-- Once dry, tear or cut the folds into the shape you want. If you plan your folds carefully, you can do bite marks, claw marks, blade cuts, bullet holes -- imagination is your only limit. Even slashed throats can be done this way.
Again, all that remains is the makeup. God is in the details, and those details will matter with these faked prosthetics. Done right, they'll look far better than commercial appliances. Done wrong, they'll still look more natural than latex sheets.
Here's a place where your theatrical blood is well used. The torn spots will be stiff, and not precisely natural. Once the makeup and blood are applied, however, they'll soften down to realism. And the theatrical blood gels and dries, so it won't disintigrate your hard work.
Next time: On to the makeup!!