DIY Zombie Makeup With Corn Syrup

Written by alexis rohlin
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Zombie make-up can be made at home with corn syrup and common kitchen pantry items such as flour and cornstarch. Zombie make-up is used to create the ghoulish skin colour of the dead, flesh wounds such as bites, large wounds, small gashes and cuts and realistic looking blood. You can make all of these items to create your own zombie make-up that not only looks scary but is edible, non-toxic and easy on your budget.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Fork
  • Bowl
  • Large spoon
  • Light corn syrup
  • 4 disposable paper cups
  • Liquid food colouring, basic colour set
  • Foam make-up applicator
  • Tissue paper
  • Black eye liner
  • Flour
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cornflour

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  1. 1

    Mix together 1 tablespoon flour and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a bowl using a fork. Slowly drizzle 3/4 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 cup water into the bowl and stir it with a large spoon until it has a smooth, creamy consistency.

  2. 2

    Divide the mixture equally into four disposable paper cups. Add liquid food colouring to all but one of the mixtures. Experiment with basic colours, adding different colours together until you create a grey tint, a black tint and a green or yellow tint.

  3. 3

    Separate the tissue paper into single layers. Tear the tissue layers lengthwise into 2-inch wide strips. Apply the untinted make-up to your face with a foam make-up applicator, starting with your forehead. Do not put the corn syrup make-up onto your eyes. Once you cover the forehead, press strips of tissue paper into the make-up. The make-up will soak through the tissue paper. If there are dry spots on the tissue, add more plain make-up to the tissue's surface to moisten it. Paint make-up onto one area of your face at a time and cover it with tissue. Wait 15 minutes.

  4. 4

    Cover your face with a layer of grey make-up. Apply streaks of black make-up on your cheeks, just under the cheek bone. Apply green make-up around the corners of your mouth and blend yellow into its edges if you want to be a well preserved or mouldy zombie. Use black eyeliner to colour in your eyes. Draw vertical lines on your lips to make them appear split and chapped. Dust your face with flour.

  5. 5

    Make a flesh wound. Mix three drops red food colouring into a quarter sized amount of petroleum jelly. Add pinches of cocoa powder to the mixture until it takes on a dark bloodlike tint. Separate a sheet of tissue paper and tear it into a 3-inch by 2-inch square. Place the tissue over your neck or wherever you want the wound to be. Cover it with the blood coloured petroleum jelly. Mold the tissue with your fingers, raising the edges higher than the centre of the wound. Apply petroleum jelly into the centre of the wound. Add cocoa powder to the wound edges and to the centre of the wound.

  6. 6

    Make a batch of realistic looking blood to splatter onto your costume. Mix 1/2 cup cornflour with 1/3 cup warm water. Stir it until the cornflour has dissolved. Stir in 2/3 cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon powdered cocoa and four teaspoons of red food colouring. Add two drops of yellow or green food colouring, one at a time, stirring and checking the colour between each addition until you get the right colour-- real blood has a red-brown tint to it. Pick up the fake blood with a spoon and fling it at your costume. Add rivulets of blood down the front of your shirt, on the cuffs of sleeves and the bottom shirt hem. Apply blood to your bottom lip, chin and neck to complete the zombie look.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use mortician's wax or spirit gum to adhere parts of turkey or chicken bones to simulate grotesque looking broken bones poking out of your skin, or add smooth edged bits of Plexiglas to your face.

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