How to Make a Zombie Mask


There are three basic types of zombie costumes: those with minimum makeup, maximum makeup and masked. Makeup gives skin a gray, dead look and sunken eyes, and can be combined with liquid latex to produce gashes and a "rotting" look with skin falling off. For a more decomposed zombie, you can use a mask to give the effect of exposed skull and/or more distorted features. Use plaster to create a skull form to fit over the top half of the face, adding latex, makeup and paint for a ghoulish finished look.

Things You'll Need

  • Nylon wig cap
  • Plastic wrap
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plaster bandages
  • Bowl
  • Newspaper
  • Novelty false teeth (optional)
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Water-based craft paint in red and black
  • Liquid latex
  • Halloween makeup in white and black
  • Brushes
  • Drill or awl
  • Black elastic cord
  • Pull the wig cap over the head snugly. If you plan to plaster over the cap, place a sheet of plastic wrap underneath to protect the hair.

  • Rub petroleum jelly over the face, coating eyebrows and any other facial hair. This will allow the molded plaster to be removed easily.

  • Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip a 2- to 3-inch strip of plaster bandage into the water. Squeegee excess water from the bandage with two fingers and place on the face, starting at the hairline or top of the head for a full-forehead mask.

  • Dip and place strips so that they overlap and create a smooth surface around the eyes and down to the cheekbones and upper lip. Do not cover the eyes. For the nose, cover the bridge to the tip, but do not cover the tip.

  • Add a second layer, building up the cheekbones and brow to give it a skull shape. Use pieces of wet newspaper to help create the shape by rolling it into small balls and ropes, placing where you want the bumps to be and covering with more plaster bandages. When completely covered, smooth and shape as desired.

  • Dry the plaster mask on the face for at least three to five minutes. To remove, distort the face and gently pull. Crumple a piece of newspaper into a ball the approximate size of the head and place the mask on top to dry completely.

  • Affix false teeth, if using, with hot glue. Let cool.

  • Paint the mask with diluted brown, red and black paint, giving it a rotting, bloody appearance. Allow some of the white of the skull to show through, if desired. Dry. Shake bottle of liquid latex well and apply over the paint in patches. As it dries, pull and pinch, creating a dead skin look. Give the latex a rotted appearance with makeup.

  • Poke holes in the sides with a drill or awl. Tie a sturdy elastic cord to to each hole, reinforcing with hot glue.

  • Apply black makeup around eyes and on the nose before tying the mask on for the full effect.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't use false teeth, build upper teeth with plaster, adding detail with a plastic knife.
  • To create a fresh-from-the-grave look, rub dirt onto the mask after painting, and/or mix dirt with glue to make clumps and press on where desired.
  • Wash the face well immediately after removing the plaster mask to avoid breakouts.

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  • Photo Credit zombie 44 image by chrisharvey from
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