How to Make a Latex Mask

By John Fritz

Latex masks and general special effects costuming has opened new doors in the area of creativity for the budding artist. Many dream of owning their own custom, professional costume, be it of their favorite superhero, monster, or whatever else the artist can dream up. Fortunately, this process is relatively easy once you know how to do it, and this tutorial will focus on how to create one of the most important pieces of any latex costume: the mask.

Spread your clay over your armature. Here is where we start to shape our mask. Build up the clay a little thicker than you need it to be, because as the latex cures it tends to shrink a little. Work the clay until you have a perfect representation of what you will ultimately want to put on your head. Every detail needs to be sharp and smooth, as any imperfections will ultimately show up in the final latex cast.

Mix and pour your plaster over the clay and armature. This is a critical step. You need to make sure that you pour enough layers of plaster over the clay, but not enough to accidentally bind the mold to the armature. Your mold should be an absolute minimum of two inches thick. After the mold has dried, carefully remove it from the clay and armature. You are now ready to cast the latex.

Take your mold and fill it with latex. Then, rotate the mold to spread the latex all over the mold. You will want to fill every corner of the mold evenly, as this will ensure a universal thickness all over the mask. Do this until the latex has moved from a full liquid into a more viscous material. Then, wait for it to dry totally. After it has dried, carefully remove the mask from the mold.

Detail the completed mask. This can mean anything from painting to attaching feathers or other means of decoration. Its totally up to you and your ultimate design.