Many horror and Halloween enthusiasts choose to dabble in prop-making and make-up effects, creating their own monsters, corpses, murder weapons and bloody body parts. With the increased availability of stagecraft supplies and movie make-up, creating horror movie props at home has never been simpler.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Red and blue food colouring
- Corn syrup or flour
- Craft foam, Wonderflex or a toy knife
- Scissors and craft knife
- Liquid latex
- Latex and acrylic paints
- Sponges and applicators
- Golden syrup
- Casting supplies or old clothing
- Styrofoam head
- Stage make-up
Determine what props you'll need. Common horror movie props include weapons, fake glass, severed heads and other body parts, blood and corpses. Plan accordingly for supplies, as horror effects supplies can run fairly expensive.
Divide your prop-making into categories to make the process go faster. For example, if you are making multiple weapons or multiple liquid latex projects, do them all at once in an assembly-line style to save time.
Make your own blood. You will likely need to do this in preparation for any severed body part props in addition to make-up effects. There are many fake blood recipes available on the internet, so you may wish to test several different recipes to see what colour and texture of blood you prefer. One method of making fake blood is to add red and blue food colouring to corn syrup. You can also add food colouring to a mixture of flour and water so that you control the texture of the blood.
Make your own prop weapons. Weapons can be made from any household materials, as long as you make sure they're safe and can't actually hurt anyone. The most common horror movie weapons are knives, which can be made from craft foam or Wonderflex and painted to look real. Cut a template of your knife from cardboard and use it as a pattern to cut from the foam or Wonderflex. You can also use a plastic toy knife as your base. Cover the knife structure with liquid latex and let it dry. Paint over the latex with latex and acrylic paints to achieve the desired look.
Make your own fake glass. Many horror movies involve glass breaking, which does not involve real glass but glass made from sugar water. Mix 2 parts water, 1 part golden syrup and 3-1/2 parts sugar, and boil it until thick. Pour the mixture into a mould, usually a flat, square surface, to cool. Remove it when cool.
Make your own fake body parts. This is most often done either by body-casting a friend's body parts, creating two-part plaster moulds and casting the parts in liquid latex, or by sculpting body parts to make moulds and casts. You can also take an existing skintight clothing item (such as a glove, sock or trouser leg), stuff it with batting and coat the entire item in liquid latex. This is the easiest and most cost-effective method. Apply several layers of liquid latex to the fabric and let it dry. Then paint it with latex and acrylic paint. Use craft foam to create textured parts beneath the latex.
Make your own fake severed head. Buy a styrofoam mannequin head, such as the kind used as a wig stand, and apply craft foam pieces to create the appearance of facial features. Coat the outside of the head in layers of liquid latex, and paint the latex with paints and stage make-up to create a realistic face. Add a wig for hair and cut the bottom of the neck to make it look severed. Add blood for effect.
Make your own corpse. Determine the type of corpse you want to make, whether skeletal or fleshy. For a fleshy corpse, use the same method as for fake body parts and severed heads, except create a full body from stuffed clothing to cover with liquid latex. For a skeletal corpse, buy a plastic skeleton from a Halloween store and cover the skeleton in craft foam and cotton batting to create a rotting look. Brush liquid latex over the entire skeleton in layers. Then let it dry and paint it as desired.
Tips and warnings
- Be careful with blood recipes. Some involve ingredients, such as photography chemicals, that are not safe for ingestion and should never be used around the mouth or eyes.
- When working with liquid latex, work in a well-ventilated area.
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