Flesh/Skin Sheets

Hey everyone, Im new. Im low income/heavily budgeted for costume work.

I’m trying to make a “Flesh” cage monster but I don't really have anyone to go to for ideas on materials/cost.

To convey the idea, Im looking to make a bunch of wood frames attached to the body with skin sheets stretched over some of the pieces, large flayed flesh sheets either wrapped around the body or the wood. I need any ideas that I can go out an buy that would support the idea without making a full face-cast/prosthetic since I have a very low/medium budget.

The work involves either:

1: Making sheets of flesh out of [suggested material] that I can stretch over wood and a head-bust. And position them accordingly.

Or

2: Stretching spandex/fabric over the wood and head-cast and painting [Suggested material] over the fabric to create the illusion of stretched skin/flesh.

or

3: Face-casting and just making the whole thing a prosthetic (which isn't really what I want).

any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am indecisive between latex and silicone. But I don't know if latex is going to hold on stretchy material if I go the stretch route. The pieces are going to be placed on me but wearing them like clothes. (Not a skin suit. But I am from Wisconsin. 😉)



Comments

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Hi Ian,

    You may have some luck painting layers of liquid latex onto spandex or other stretchable fabric.  Just keep in mind that some forms of spandex only expand in one direction, so finding a two way stretch fabric will make things easier for you.  If you want the skin to appear flayed you can paint one side skin tone and the other side in reds. 

    The latex can be pigmented with acrylic paint (I use liquitex, and if you are on a budget their "basic" pigment line is not too bad).

    Silicone may be too expensive on a tight budget, and can be rather heavy if you want to make large pieces.

    The prosthetic route is hard to advise on since it's difficult for me to picture how the face ties into what you described.

    Hope that helps!

    /Chris
  • Awesome. I was assuming Latex would be what must be done. I would throw my doodles up but they are very very messy haha
  • @Chris Ellerby what would you recommend painting the latex with? I tried acrylic once but after a couple layers movement caused the acrylic to crack. 
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Hi Ian,

    I usually mix acrylic with the latex so it's colored from the start.  Just know that the colors will appear darker when dry, as the latex starts white but dries clear with a yellow tint.  When trying to color match I'll usually mix in some acrylic then brush a bit of the latex onto a surface and dry it with a hair dryer.  That way I can gauge the final color of the mix as I add more acrylic.

    Since you plan to have these pieces match a performer I would try to match their skin tone as closely as possible.  A Caucasian skin tone can be mixed up with red, yellow, and white acrylic.  From there you can add blue or green to adjust tone as needed.  I'd spend a good amount of time making sure the color match is as close as possible, as the color being off will stand out quite a bit.  It's also worth making sure the performer does not have a latex allergy.

    For your project I would mix up 2 batches of latex, one that's your desired flesh color, and one that's a medium red.  You could apply one color to each side of the fabric to get the flayed skin look.   After that you can mix up smaller batches of latex and acrylic paint to add details (freckles, skin tone variations, veins, etc) to get your desired look.

    Acrylic on its own will eventually rub or flake off as the latex flexes, but when mixed with latex it should bond and flex well.

    For a wet look on the bloody side I would suggest using a flexible acrylic gloss varnish from liquitex, as I've had good luck with those. 

    /Chris

  • Rather than trying to purchase your latex from a local Halloween shop, I would highly recommend purchasing it in quantity from "Monster Makers" or "Burman Industries", or one of the various special make-up effects supplies online. This will be of higher quality and more economical overall. If you want latex that is pre-coloured a generic fleshtone, then I would suggest looking for "Ben Nye" brand liquid latex. For a more translucent latex, I would suggest "Mehron" brand "clear" latex. If you need it to be very thin and stretchy, look for "balloon latex". If you need it to be thicker and stronger, look for "mask-making latex". Try to avoid "Mould-making latex", it is thick, (like yoghurt), 'takes a long time to dry, 'tends to shrink a lot, and it is overly expensive. As Chris mentioned, you can directly mix acrylic into the latex to colour it. It is better to add the colour a little bit at a time until you get the tone you want. Because once you add it in, you can't remove it. For this, the cheap craft paints at your local arts & crafts store will work well without breaking the bank.

    As for specific colours that should help you, check these out:

    "Alizarin Crimson", this is a good, basic bloody colour.
    "Unbleached Titanium", this is a good bone or tendon colour.
    "Dusty Rose", this is a good medium pink.
    "Burnt Umber", this is a deep, kind of dark chocolate colour.
    "Burnt Sienna", this is kind of a medium, beef jerky colour.
    "Yellow Ochre", this is kind of a brown mustard colour, (good for a fatty tone).
    "Paynes' Grey", this is a weird colour, but it is very useful mixed into other colours. It may be difficult to find among the cheaper paints, but you can mix it your self if you need to, (mix one-part black with one-part deep blue). Used in VERY small amounts, it can be used to make nice shading colours.
    "Teal Blue", this makes a nice vein blue.
    "Mars Black", this is a black that has a  slightly brownish tone.
    "Lamp Black", this is a black with a slightly bluish tone.
    "Red Iron Oxide", this is kind of a brick red. It is a good base colour for muscle tissue. To the naked eye, it may look kind of brownish. But, on camera, it looks like a deep, meaty red.

    Each of these colours can be intermixed for a variety of fleshy tones. You do not need to stringently use them as is, straight from the tube. Experiment to find the tones that work best for your specific tastes.

    For the entire gamut of human flesh-tones, you can achieve them from a combination of just these few colours: "Titanium Dioxide", "Burnt Umber", "Burnt Sienna", "Yellow Ochre", and "Red Iron Oxide". I have a long list of colour mixtures in my notes. When I have a moment to dig them out, I'll post some of them for you.

    'Hope this helps some.
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