How to Paint a Latex Mask


Latex masks are used in the movies and to make higher quality Halloween costumes. Latex is form fitting and flexible, making it ideal for mask making. Many budding special effects artists and Halloween enthusiasts make their own latex masks, which then have to be painted to achieve a final realistic look. Painting a latex mask takes patience, a creative imagination, and the right paint for the job. Learn how you can paint a latex mask that will look as good as anything created in a movie special effects department.

Things You'll Need

  • Latex paint
  • Airbrush
  • Full-head armature
  • Brushes (thin and medium)

Painting Your Mask

  • Place your finished latex mask over a full-head armature, available at some hobby stores or at latex mask supply outlets online (see resources). An armature is a replica of a human head designed to display your mask and help keep its shape. Placing your latex mask over the armature will allow you to work with the entire mask easily and without having to stop or constantly reposition yourself.

  • Use an airbrush to paint the wider areas of your mask. Air brushes apply a smoother, more even coat of paint. Use the airbrush to apply the skin tone of your mask and to apply bigger designs or markings. Keep the airbrush eight to 10 inches from the surface of the mask and apply the latex paint by moving the airbrush at a moderate pace over the mask.

  • Use a thin or medium brush, depending on the effect you're after, to paint any lines onto your mask. This includes details such as scars, scales and wrinkles. Apply black paint around teeth and the rim of the eyes to create depth in your mask. If you're going for something more gruesome, use a dark red paint, or red mixed with a little black paint, to create details around the mouth or eyes. Use the same mix to add life to wounds.

  • Apply a clear latex sealant to the finished mask to help protect it. You can use a glossy sealant around the eyes or any open wounds to create a wet look.

  • Allow the mask to dry for two or three hours before taking it off the armature.

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