If you're like me then, you've always been drawn more towards the scary and disturbing side of Halloween costumes and decor. This instructable will teach you how to easily acheive a torn flesh effect, without spending a ridiculous amount of money in the process. I've used this cool makeup technique basically every Halloween since I learned it. The best part is, this process can be altered in so many different ways to get different results and since it is done directly on your body its essentially a custom fit. No more sticking unrealistic rubber wounds on with spirit gum to reach merely sub par results! Lets get to it.
ALLERGY WARNING- THIS INSTRUCTABLE USES LIQUID LATEX
Step 1: Supplies
Any cosmetic used in this instructable can be substituted with another brand if you prefer, or even an entirely different product, so long as the substitute will produce similar results. What is pictured throughout is what I had on hand, helping to make this a fairly frugal look. Beside each item listed below, I will give ideas for substitutions if I can think of one.
- Liquid Latex (I purchased the ammonia free stuff from my local pop-up Halloween supply)
- Fake blood,- Any fake blood will work!
- Dark eyeshadows - Dark cream Halloween makeup will work too! I used a couple of shades from this Coastal scents palette
- Concealer to match your skin tone, I used Hard Candy Glamoflauge
- Cream and/or liquid foundation to match your skin. I used both! Maybelline Fit me! foundation and Covergirl Simply ageless foundation
- Setting powder (The kind used to set foundation) I used Hard Candy Brightening Setting powder.
- Cotton pads or cotton balls
- Paper towel or toilet paper
- Optional Glue stick
- Brushes- I used some brushes from the dollar store for the latex and fake blood, for the makeup part I used an Elf brand stipple brush and a Blending brush You don't have to use makeup brushes though, that's just what I have and I'm comfortable with using.
- Something to rip the latex with- I used a vinyl pick me up tool, honestly use whatever you have, even just your fingers!
- A drop cloth or newspapers to protect your work surface, fake blood can stain very easily
Step 2: Preparing and Laying Down the Base Layer
Before getting into the fun stuff you will want to thoroughly clean the area that you'll be applying the latex too. Keep in mind that whenever you decide to remove the latex, it will pull on any hair that you've applied it to, which will sting. Kind of the same feeling you get when you slowly peel a band-aid off.
Tip - To avoid this you can apply a thin layer of glue from a glue stick to the area. This prevents the latex from making direct contact with the hairs by creating a thin barrier that washes off with soapy water instead of pulling at the hairs.
Before you dive into the messy stuff, you'll want to protect your work surface with newspapers or dropcloth. Spilled latex is not fun to clean up, and fake blood stains!
Once the area has dried after washing or applying the glue, you can take a paint brush and dip it into the latex. The amount you want to get on the paintbrush will vary depending on the size of the area you're wanting to apply the effect to, you'll get a feel for it as you continue through the process. Don't worry if you didn't get the brush wet enough or if you got it too wet, there's no right or wrong way when it comes to this. Just have fun!
Apply a thin even layer over the area you're working on, you'll want to extend your base layer about 1-1.5cm outside of where the skin will be ripped. This helps to make the whole thing look more realistic, it also helps hold the special effect on. Allow the latex ample time to dry.
Repeat this 2 - 3 times, allowing time for each layer to dry in between. This will form a strong base for the rest of the effect.
Step 3: Building Up the Effect
This is where the paper towel and cotton comes into play. You're only really going to need one square of paper towel and maybe one or two cotton pads/balls, I like to peel apart the paper towel to make it thinner. You want to tear it into fairly rough looking strips or chunks. The cotton you'll want to just kind of pull apart into a fluffy mess.
Figure out where you'll be tearing the 'skin' and once you've picked a spot, you want to grab your brush again and dip it into the latex. Brush a bit onto the area around where you'll be tearing. then lay on some cotton and/or paper, dab it down with the brush so that it is saturated.
Tip- It is important to not soak the cotton too much as this will extend the drying time and drag the process on.
You can repeat this step as many times as you like, creating a wound that is more protruding or you can keep it minimalist, either way, you'll want to keep the center slightly thinner than the rest.
Step 4: Smoothing the Edges
At this point, you should be happy with the size and shape of the 'affected' area.
Now we need to add 1 -2 more pieces of paper towel. These pieces should be about the same size as the base layer. Make sure to apply a thin even layer of the latex over the entirety of the affected area, then just lay the paper over, gently pressing it down with your fingers where it hasn't made contact on its own. The paper towel should soak up a majority of the latex you've just brushed on.
Just as before, give it time to dry.
Remember in the first step we made the base layer extend farther than the effect itself? Now when we place this piece of paper towel over the area we've built up, it shouldn't reach all the way to the edge of the base layer, it should make it pretty close though. This will create a tapered effect, helping to smooth the transition from your natural skin to the latex 'skin' you've created.
You can either repeat this one more time for good measure or proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Opening the Wound
Now, this is where is where the gore factor of this Instructable comes in.
Use your weapon of choice to cut/rip down the middle of your special effect.
You can use your fingers, tweezers, even a sharpened pencil. Anything that will effectively tear the latex, will work. I used a vinyl "pick me up" tool. Try to avoid sharp items because there is a very real risk you could cut yourself for real.
Now using tweezers or your fingers, rip the edges of the cut you've just made. Rip and tear, until you're happy with the results, aside from adding color what you end up with after this step is basically what your end result will be.
Step 6: Making It Look Natural
Outside of the 'wound'
Now that you've created the prosthetic, its time to make it look more natural (if that's the look you're going for.) This is easily done by covering the outer part of the wound with foundation and concealer that matches your skin tone, you'll have to blend the foundation out onto your natural skin, well past where the affected area ends. If you find you're not getting the best coverage on the area that has the latex, you may want to dab some setting powder onto that area, then go back in with foundation.
Once you're happy with the coverage and the color. you'll want to go over the whole area that you applied foundation to with setting powder.
Step 7: Adding the Final Touches
Inside of the 'wound'
You could really go a number of directions with this part, in terms of the final product. Depending on what you're trying to achieve with your costume you could fill the wound with slime, black 'Demons blood' even glitter! I opted for the traditional mortal human filling. First going around the edges with some purple and black eyeshadows, this will add the illusion of depth. Finally, I almost overfilled the inside with fake blood, to the point it started dripping out the sides. I was pretty happy with the way it appeared at that point so that's where I left it. , I think it looks pretty realistic!
Step 8: Additional Tips and Final Thought
- You can also create the prosthetic off your body, which makes it a lot easier to create multiple prosthetics for your costume ahead of time! Follow the same procedure outlined above on a piece of Waxed paper or Parchment, when you're ready to apply the prosthetic to your skin, peel it away from the waxed/ parchment paper brush a thin layer of latex onto the area of application, then lay a piece of paper towel over the latex, let dry and re-wet again with another thin layer of the latex, now you can stick the prosthetic onto the wet latex, hold in place until dried and you're good to go.
- Aside from paper towel and cotton balls, another way to build up the prosthetic is gauze bandage, this method adds a rougher texture.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Instructable on creating a torn flesh special effect prosthetic. I hope this helps to add the final touch to one of your spooky costumes this Halloween!