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How to make fake stubble

Updated February 21, 2017

Theatrical shows have the benefit of an audience viewing the show from a distance, allowing make-up such as fake stubble to be painted on. Creating realistic stubble can be a challenge for a character that will be viewed up close, in a film or at a costume party. You can make stubble out of crepe wool, which is sold at most costume shops. This stubble is glued to the skin to create a three-dimensional effect.

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  1. Chop crepe wool into tiny pieces with a sharp pair of scissors. The pieces should be 3 mm (1/8 inch) or shorter. Do this over a bowl to catch the pieces.

  2. Wash your face with soap and water, and then dry it completely.

  3. Brush Spirit gum adhesive onto a portion of your skin where you want stubble. Look to pictures of real stubble for growth patterns if desired.

  4. Allow the Spirit gum to get tacky. This typically takes 30 to 60 seconds, after which you will have a few minutes before it dries completely.

  5. Grab a pinch of chopped hair and roll it into a ball between your thumb and first two fingers.

  6. Pull the ball apart into two halves, which will cause the hairs to stand up on end.

  7. Gently tap the hair against your skin, allowing the ends of the hairs to become embedded in the Spirit gum.

  8. Repeat this process on other parts of your skin, building up stubble in small sections until the desired area is covered.

  9. Groom the stubble with a clean mascara wand, brushing it in the proper direction if needed.

  10. Tip

    Press the hair onto your face as gently as possible. If you press too hard you will leave hairy blobs stuck to the Spirit gum.

    Wash the stubble off with Spirit gum remover or rubbing alcohol.

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Things You'll Need

  • Crepe wool
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Spirit gum
  • Clean mascara wand

About the Author

Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.

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