Oct 042011

DIY zombie makeup

DIY Alternative to Latex

Before you start special effects makeup school, practice with Fauxtex!
This is my third year working to perfect a recipe for a homemade alternative to latex, and the results are better than ever!
After much tweaking, I found something that is easy to work with, very cheap, extremely non-toxic, fairly quick to set up, and made from ingredients you can get at a grocery store. No, it does not behave exactly like the more expensive synthetic latex, but it is a good “starter fx makeup” that you can use to practice before going to film school, for creating wound simulation, or to use for fun anytime.
Since tapioca flour has always intrigued me for its rubbery consistency when mixed with a hot liquid, I wanted to use it to give my product a suppleness that not even latex has. Unfortunately, tapioca alone has no “hold.” For structure, I added gelatin (which you will see as the basis for most homemade FX makeups). This combination had both hold and suppleness, but was too tacky, making it a bit tricky to handle with your hands. The addition of coconut oil (which cools to a solid state) gave what I now call FAUXTEX a little bit more manageability without affecting the structure of the FX makeup.
It takes about 5 minutes to make a batch of fauxtex, then about 15 minutes until you can begin to use it either directly on your skin or on a sheet of plastic for later use. After 30-40 minutes, fauxtex can be squeezed out of a decorating funel (or sandwich bag) to make shapes such as bumps on skin, scales, or brains. It can also be shaped further after it congeals by using a hot knife as a carving or smoothing tool. Fauxtex is very flexible and comfortable to “wear” and feels more like flesh than latex. Its flexibility allows you to shape it on a flat surface for later use on a 3-dimensional surface. And, again, it is safe to use for anyone who is allergic to latex.

How to Make and Use Fauxtex

Put cold water in a sauce pan and mix in the tapioca flour, gelatin and coconut oil. Stir until the tapioca flour is dissolved (you can add liquid foundation makeup to add the desired skin color if you want). Turn on the heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency. Cook for an additional minute, turn off the heat and let cool. This video shows how to make and use fauxtex (you can switch between English and Portuguese narration).

I now make fauxtex with three different structures: one for soft skin; one for moldable, but still soft matter; and the third for somewhat rigid structures such as ears. Here are the three recipes:

Latex Substitute Recipe

Recipe for Soft Skin: 1 cup cold water, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1 packet plain gelatin, 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil.
Recipe for Moldable Brains: 1 cup cold water, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1 1/2 packets plain gelatin, 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil.
Recipe for Ears: 1 cup cold water, 1/4 cup tapioca flour (or corn starch), 2 packets plain gelatin, 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil.

The first thing you are probably going to ask is “can I use corn starch instead of tapioca flour for all the recipes?” and I will answer “yes, but you won’t get the same skin-like results.” A recipe with corn starch will set up rigid rather than soft. You may actually want this result sometimes–say, for exposed tendons and ligaments–but I think you will like the tapioca version of fauxtex for most FX makeup jobs.

How to Apply Fauxtex

fake breastFauxtex can be applied directly to the skin while it’s still warm, or you can spoon it onto a piece of plastic film, let it set at least 30 minutes, then apply it to your skin. If you are applying a congealed form to your skin, use a bit of left-over fauxtex as adhesive: warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave and rub it on your skin like glue, then apply the fauxtex form onto it. To make shapes, you can either build up the fauxtex a bit at a time, or let cool 20-30 minutes after cooking, put it in a cake decorating funnel and squirt onto a piece of plastic to set. You can also shape it after it’s set with a heated butter knife (for carving or smoothing the surface). One thing that makes fauxtex easier to use than latex is that you can form it onto a flat surface and, after it congeals, it will still conform to a 3D surface such as your face.
Variations: You can make a couple variations on the fauxtex recipes above for scars or fake breasts. Use the first recipe without the coconut oil for fake scars, and (depending on how perky you want your breasts) use any of the recipes above without the gelatin for false breasts (click on the image for instructions).

This research was fun, and I hope you have fun with Fauxtex and save a ton of money with this simple recipe.
PLease “like” and share with friends!

You May Also Like:

Video: Fautex Tips and Tricks (learn to make ears, noses, etc)

  232 Responses to “How to Make “Latex” for Special Effects Makeup”

  1. Hi! This is super awesome and very easy to prepare! The fact that it is so cheap and accesible is great for me, because I live in Nicaragua and could not find latex anywhere! You have helped me a lot since I am trying to make a “hunchback of Notre Dame” makeup look…Which recipe do you think would work best for this project of mine?

    Thanks!!! :D

    Saludos desde Nicaragua ;)

    • Glad you found this! Two things about doing this in Nicaragua: it’ll be hard to find solid coconut oil, just just leave it out; and because it’s so hot there, go ahead and use the third recipe for everything. You should check out my Frog Face makeup to see how to do a Quasimodo face. Buena suerte!

  2. boa tarde marta para mim fazer moldes tipo dedos , maos qual quantidade seria recomendavel ?

  3. Adorei suas receitas e dicas!
    Tenho uma dúvida, se você puder me responder ficarei muito grata.
    Estou querendo fazer uma prótese de um lado do rosto rasgado com dentes de fora para minha filha, os dentes já fiz com porcelana fria. Qual receita é melhor indicada? a própria para cicatrizes (sem óleo de coco) ou para moldáveis?
    Obrigada por compartilhar!

    • Sugiro usar a receita com tres pacotes de gelatina por xicara de água. E em clima quente não é preciso usar óleo de côco (pois não existe o tipo sólido aí). Me manda fotos? Boa sorte!

      • Obrigada Marta!

        Devo fazer neste fim de semana, pois ela irá usar no dia 31, tenho medo de ressecar muito, moro em Manaus e aqui é muito quente, devo colocar na geladeira?
        Irei enviar as fotos sim, só me diz depois como envio…rsrs
        Bjs e obrigada novamente

  4. Cara Marta,

    Parabéns novamente! :)

    Acabei de deixar um recado para você, mas resolvi complementá-lo com esse outro: acontece que existe uma outra receita parecida com a sua, mas a autora utiliza a) gelatina, b) tinta fosca para artesanato e c) água. Se você se interessar, o vídeo está aqui:


    Eu tentei a receita dela, mas o resultado é que o nariz prostético encolheu muito com o tempo e ressecou, mesmo cobrindo-o com hidro verniz.

    Pensei em misturar sua receita com a dela: colocando tinta plástica para artesanato na sua receita… O que você acha?

    Bem, de qualquer maneira, eu prometo contar para você o resultado depois de tentar!!

    Muito obrigado!!
    Um abraço,


 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>