Co-Winner: Best Farscape Alien, 2002

by Morgan Day



Enough Plaster for mold and bust (hardware store)

One Bald Cap (costume shop)

Industrial Latex, aka "Mold Builder" (craft/art store)

Make-Up Latex (costume shop)

Spirit Gum (costume shop)

Oil Based Clay, aka Sculpy (craft/art store)

Petroleum Jelly (drug store)

Baby Powder (drug store)

Sponge Brushes (hardware or craft store)

Plastic Grocery Bag

Two Matching Long Hair Wigs (ordered online)

Dry Cake Make-Up (costume store/ordered online)

Make-Up Sponges (drug store)


Using sponge brush, paint latex to desired location in one direction. After first coat has dried, apply second coat in a perpendicular direction. Alternate direction of application each time to create a latex "mesh" which prevents the latex from tearing. DO NOT apply more latex that has not completely dried, it will cause the latex to roll over itself (unless you want to make a mask with gnarly bumps on it!).


To make anything out of latex, you need a plaster mold of what ever you want to build your piece off of. In the case of a mask, you need a bust of the head of the person who is to wear the mask. Instructions to make a mold of a head are as follows (the same technique is used for any other molding):

(A) A bald cap must be applied over model's hair and ears.

*Males need to shave any facial hair 

i) paint spirit gum around forehead, sides of the face, and anywhere the bald cap makes contact with bald skin (I find is best to use a single piece of duct tape to see the back of the neck) ii) paint at least 3 coats of make-up latex over any ridge between bald cap and skin. *Mold Builder is not meant to be applied to skin; however, since make-up latex is industrial latex diluted with water, if you find your make-up latex to fragile, it can be mixed with Mold Builder to strengthen it.

(B) Petroleum Jelly is applied to skin and bald cap

(C) Model must lie on stomach in a comfortable position and not move (any movement while plaster dries will crack it)

(D) Plaster is mixed one handful at a time and should be made fairly thick *Best to wear Latex gloves when using plaster 

(E) Thick Plaster (do not mix well so it crumbles easier) is applied first to back of neck and then around widest part of head (the ears and top of head

(F) Plaster covers the back of the head and must be made very thick (around 3 inches thick)

*Plaster will be become hot as it dries

(G) This mold should only cover back of head, and once dry is lifted off model

(H) Let half mold dry, and cover with grocery bag

(I) Model must lay on back with back of head in dried half mold covered with grocery back

(J) Plaster is applied over the face in the order of: around top and sides of head, over eyes, over and around neck, over chin and mouth, over the bridge of nose, and finally a bit of plaster is applied between the nostrils (straws may be placed in nostrils, but are uncomfortable)

*It is important that the model not move until plaster has fully tried, this includes swallowing 

(K) To remove dried mold, have model suck in checks and wrinkle up face, then sit up slowly, letting the mold fall off into the model's hands.

(L) Both dried halves are placed together like a puzzle and plaster is used like glue, and the seams are smoothed over to make complete mold and to cover nostril holes.

(M) A couple coats of "Mold Builder" Latex is painted on the inside of mold.

(N) Fill mold with latex which is less thick (more water and mixed very well) than that used to make the mold. (This will cause the plaster to dry harder than the mold)

(O) Best to let set for a day

(P) Gently remove the negative of the mold by chipping away the plaster (directed away from the mold itself).

(Q) Remove any latex from positive of mold

(R) Best to let positive of mold set to insure dryness

(S) Sand plaster bust to smooth and place on piano as a conversation piece!


*This mask is consists of two pieces: a head piece and a chin piece. "Mold Builder" was used to build the mask, and Spirit Gum and Make-Up Latex was used to apply the final product.


To make the chin piece, I painted "Mold Builder" Latex around the chin. The chin tankas were made with Oil Based Clay and dried using a blow drier. The dried clay was then covered with latex to make one piece. It's best to do thin layers of the clay and latex, and slowly build any facial feature. Some nylon ribbon was used to make "loops" that went from the chin and behind both ears. This holds the piece in place when applying. *To remove latex, cover outside of latex piece with baby powder, peel piece off slowly while applying powder to inside. Bare latex will stick to itself, not a good thing.


A base of latex is painted for head piece making sure not to go below widest part of back of head. I was afraid of the latex ripping, so I used some fabric strips that I covered in latex to strengthen the edges of the mask.


The Tankas. It took me a while to figure out how I could make something soft and squishy out of latex. I painted triangles of latex on the bottom of my bath tub, then folded them in half and "glued" the longest sides together with latex. The latex was then turned inside-out and stuffed with pillow stuffing.


The 5 Tankas were adhered to the base mask with the longest one in the middle, and the outermost ones attaching behind the ears. Each feature was slowing built up on the mask using oil based clay and latex. I used photos of D'Argo and an action figure as reference.


Final Product. Skin tone is created by applying drycake make-up (mixed with water) with make-up sponges, letting dry, then covering with latex. Repeat till latex is no longer yellow. Highlights are best done on latex with lipstick. Next I cut up the wigs into lines of hair, painted latex to the underside of the wig base, and adhered it to the appropriate places on the mask with latex. I braded the needed hair, then cut off the excess. Ear slots are cut before applying the hair, by trying on the mask and having a friend mark the top and bottom of where your ear meets the side of your head. Ear holes should be cut like half circles and should be cut just wide enough so the ears fit through without wrinkling the mask behind the ears. Because D'Argo's ears are covered with hair, I found it easier to where the mask with out pulling my ears through the ear holes.


The Costume. The Top I made by sewing padding on the shoulder's of a Karate Gi (uniform) and lining the outside with an appropriate material. (It was pretty much trial and error until I got what I wanted.) The belt was made from a weight lifting belt covered with material, while the shoulder strap was made completely from the covering material (the same material was used to make the Luxan "headband"). The buckle piece I found in a box of random cheap jewelry at a second hand store. All that is need to complete the costume is black pants, some combat boots, and gloves without finger tips (I used mountain biking gloves). *The latex mask is applied the same way as the bald cap, then covering skin and latex with make-up.


Last, but not least, I included a photo of myself without the mask on, just so you can see what I really look like. Well that's pretty much all you need to know to make any latex make-up piece. I recommend starting simple and challenge yourself with each project. Trial and Error is the key, nothing beats experience. Best of Luck, and happy costuming!


Morgan Day