How to Repaint & Rehair a Latex Mask

Written by alex smith
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How to Repaint & Rehair a Latex Mask
Cheap masks can be customised. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Some latex masks sold in costume shops are cheap, both in terms of price and quality. If you have a mask that isn't quite what you want, you can repaint and apply new hair to it to create a custom piece that is completely unique. These techniques are often used by professional make-up artists to create masks for crowd scenes and haunted houses.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Paint made for latex
  • Paintbrushes
  • Baby powder
  • Hair
  • Liquid latex
  • Cotton swabs
  • Scissors

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Instructions

    Repainting

  1. 1

    Wash the surface of the mask thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and paper towels to remove any dirt or other contaminants which may interfere with the paint.

  2. 2

    Paint a base coat onto the mask using a paint product that is designed to be used on latex. Because latex is a flexible material, ordinary craft paints will not bond properly.

  3. 3

    Allow the base coat to dry.

  4. 4

    Paint shadows with a colour that is a few shades darker than the base coat. Begin with a small amount of paint: you can always add more, but if you use too much you will have to paint the base coat over it and start again.

    Common areas for shadows include under the cheekbones, the temples, around the eye holes and any other areas that you want to look recessed.

  5. 5

    Allow the shadows to dry.

  6. 6

    Paint highlights with a colour that is a few shades lighter than the base coat. Common areas for highlights include cheekbones, around the eye sockets, centred on the chin, down the middle of the nose and any other areas that you want to appear raised.

  7. 7

    Allow the highlights to dry.

  8. 8

    Paint any additional details with brushes of various sizes.

  9. 9

    If the paint dries with a sticky finish, brush it with baby powder. Wipe the surface with a wet sponge to remove the powder residue.

    Hair

  1. 1

    Cut any existing hair off the mask.

  2. 2

    Select the hair that you want to use. Crepe wool is available in many colours at costume shops. Wig stores sell synthetic and human hair in bundles.

  3. 3

    Paint a small amount of liquid latex onto the neck area with a cotton swab.

  4. 4

    Pull a small bunch of hair out of the package. It should be no more that you can easily hold between your thumb and first two fingers.

  5. 5

    Cut the ends of a bunch of hair straight with a pair of scissors and press it into the wet latex. Hold the hair in place until the latex dries, bonding the hair to the mask.

  6. 6

    Apply another small amount of latex to the mask above the hair that you just applied.

  7. 7

    Press another bunch of hair into the wet latex, creating a new layer that hangs over the first. Allow the latex to dry.

  8. 8

    Continue this process until you have built up a whole head of hair.

  9. 9

    Trim and style the hair as needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Contrary to its name, latex paint does not contain latex. It will not bond to your mask, flaking off as soon as the mask flexes.

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