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Low Cost Zombie Makeup

Updated on November 6, 2020

Zombie Makeup

Zombies from the Bathroom

How Hollywood Does It

Hollywood special effects makeup artists create life like zombie make up by casting the actors head in alginate. Alginate is a derivative of seaweed. It is very pliable and picks up the smallest of details making it a prime agent to create creature prosthesis for the face and body. Once a mold of the actor’s head is cast in plaster, the special effects make up artist begins creating detailed prosthesis to fit the actor’s face, and creating life like zombie make up. The alginate used by Hollywood is a pharmaceutical grade alginate used by dentists to make a cast of a patients teeth. Alginate is relatively inexpensive to purchase. If you don't have enough money in the coiffure then there is a cheap substitute for alginate. This agent for creating zombie make up may be found in any bathroom.

On the Cheap

Toilet paper is a cheap commodity for creating zombie makeup. It becomes clingy when wet and molds easily to the shape of the face. Toilet paper is an easily accessible material for creating realistic zombie makeup at a very low cost.

Things you will need:
1 roll of toilet paper
1 sponge
1 bowl of cold water
1 bottle of Elmer’s glue
1 towel
1 pallet of Water colors
1 paint brush

Elmer’s Glue For Bonding
Elmer’s glue is safe and helps create a bond for the layers of tissue that you will be applying and helps create a bond between the skin and the paper. The formula is simple: One part Elmer’s glue and two parts water mixed into a bowl.
Elmer’s glue can increase the bonding effect as the toilet paper begins to dry and increases the time that the zombie makeup will endure for the scene.

Applying Zombie Makeup
Applying zombie makeup is easy and it is safe. Have the actor or actress sit in a chair with the head tilted back. Drape the towel over the chest area leaving the head and neck area exposed. Dip a sponge into the bowl of cold water and glue mixture. Apply copious amounts to the face in the area where the makeup will be applied. Moister will help the tissue mold to the contour of your face and stick. Never the tissue first. The soggy material will come apart in your hands.

Let the excess water remain. Tear off two sheets of toilet paper and lay it on the face. The toilet paper will absorb the excess water. The water creates a bond between the paper and the skin. Continue to cover small areas with the toilet paper until all areas of the face are covered with one layer. Use the fingers to carefully tear away the toilet paper from the eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
Repeat the process of covering the face with a second layer. This adds tinsel strength to the zombie makeup. Three layers is a sufficient amount. More layers adds weight to the toilet paper and gravity may cause sags and rips, but it is easily repaired.

Continue to cover the throat and neck area of the actor or actress until all desired areas are covered. If the entire head will be covered with toilet paper wet the hair with excess amounts of water . More than three layers may be used to cover the head so that the hair is covered sufficiently. Use the wet sponge to continuously drip water onto the toilet paper for insuring that the paper bonds well with the skin.

Adding Color

Water colors may be applied to certain areas of the make up for added effects at the discretion of the special effects makeup artist. But even though water colors are non-toxic, be certain to keep it out of the eyes to avoid any irritation.

Adding Contour

Prosthesis to shape the face can be added by folding or clumping toilet together with water and sticking them to the face area and covering them with a thin layer of tissue to bond the prosthesis in place. An example of this method would be rolling three sheets of toilet paper and placing them on the brow of the actor. This produces an overhanging forehead. Again, be sure to keep layers to a minimum.

Zombie Make Up On the Set

The special effects makeup artist should remain on the set during the entire shoot for making repairs to the makeup. It is fragile, but can be quickly and easily repaired in a matter of minutes.

That's How Lon Chaney Did It

Lon Chaney was know in Hollywood as the man of a thousand faces. He created the ghoulish effects for the characters in his movies using simple scotch tape and a few other simple household items. Lon Chaney became Hollywood’s first special effects makeup artist creating some of Hollywood’s most famous monsters. Hollywood has come a long way since the early days of special effects, but the old ways are still effective and endure the test of time.

Create your zombie with toilet paper. It is a low cost solution for any production or Halloween!

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© 2010 Marlin 55


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