For the last three weeks I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to make something that would behave like latex so I could make my own Halloween mask. After much tweaking, I found something that is wonderful to work with, very cheap, extremely non-toxic, and made from something you can get at a grocery store. No, it does not behave exactly like the latex you buy for $50 a pop, but it is a good “starter fx makeup” that you can use to practice before going to film school, or just use for fun anytime.
First, I started with a recipe for slime (see my flesh-colored slime) and tried adding different things to thicken it, etc. But no matter what I did to the slime, the stuff had a mind of its own and would not behave in any way I wanted it to. Though it’s a good basis for homemade guts and gore, you can’t put it on your face and have it stay.
Then I tried tapioca flour as the basis for homemade latex. This particular flour is great because it is downright rubbery when cooked (it’s what makes Brazilian cheese breads so chewey and good).
But back to my quest. Latex. House paint has latex, so I cooked up a couple tablespoons of tapioca with 1 cup water and, at the very last, added 1/4 cup of latex paint. I liked how it dried, but it dried so slow, I’d have to start now if I wanted to make something for next year’s Halloween.
Then I tried adding silicone/latex caulk to the tapioca concoction. Didn’t like that so much. Too sticky and soft.
Next I tried adding school glue. About as good as the caulk recipe.
Finally I thought to try the tapioca all by itself, and bingo! Homemade latex-like gum for special effects makeup.
The video below shows me cooking up a batch of tapioca for special effects makeup.
I found that different consistencies were good for different things:
1. One cup water with 2 LEVEL tablespoons of tapioca flour is good for face glue. Smear it on your face as a prep for the faux-latex mask or to make toilet paper stick to your face, etc.
2. One cup water with 4 LEVEL tablespoons of tapioca flour is the best consistency for fx burn scars. Because it goes on clear, it takes on the color of your skin and looks like a real scar. No other makeup is necessary to blend it in.
3. One cup water with 6-7 LEVEL tablespoons of tapioca flour is the best consistency for bulkier special effects makeup–such as the Zombie makeup above. (See also my Beauty and the Beast special effects makeup on Instructables).
4. Fake breasts can be made of any consistency. The thicker the recipe, the perkier the boobs. The thickest I’ve made this recipe is 8 Tbsp/cup of water. Any thicker, and it becomes very hard to stir evenly while cooking. Ideal for firm breasts, but the 8 Tbsp recipe does not work well for face makeup because it doesn’t want to stick or blend down into your skin as I show in the Zombie makeup.
How to Cook a Batch of “Latex”
Put cold water in a sauce pan and mix in the tapioca flour until dissolved and KEEP STIRRING (and add liquid makeup to add the desired skin color if you want). If you stop stirring, the tapioca will settle and harden. Place the pan on the stove and turn the burner on medium. Keep stirring for a couple minutes. The mixture will turn to a translucent gum. Keep cooking another 30 seconds or so. Turn off heat. Let the latex-like mixture cool before using.
This research was fun, and I hope you have fun with it and save a ton of money with this simple recipe.
Again, all of the above FX makeup will be much better if you use the new FAUXTEX recipe! See what else can be made with the new recipe: brains, a nose, hairy hands…