Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

Easy Latex special effects

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With Zombie season upon us I though this might prove useful to people – just change the colours to change the look as the technique applies to many different character applications!


I am writing these for the face painters out there! I’ve used face paints and easily available materials but will note in brackets alternative products (if you are able to find a source in your area!)


Materials needed:

Red paint – I use Snazaroo in my demonstration (theatrical make-up – “Burn Wheel”.)

Black paint – as noted above

Tissue/kleenex/toilet paper – single ply only so separate the ply of doubles, and tear the edges to fit your “burn.”

Liquid Latex – I used Mehron Liquid Latex and Duo eyelash adhesive in the demo.

Gel – I used yellowish hair gel which makes for a very wet and gooey effect (also vaseline, gelatin, and professional gels for make-up effects, stage blood, etc.) NOTE: If you want the effect to be long lasting you will need to find a product that will set – the hair gel stays very wet! 

Sponges – normal cosmetic wedges, torn up for dabbing on latex

A sharp tool or scissors – to tear/rip the effect at the end.


Decide how big and where you want the burn. Apply the red base. Blend the edges well into the skin so you don’t have hard lines between the skin colour and the red – you can use a little pink too if you want. Let the paint dry (or powder if using theatrical make-up).

Put the gel, vaseline, gelatin or whatever you are using on top of the dried red paint – DON’T smudge, just apply it lightly so as not to disturb the face paint base as you are applying wet on top of dry! Apply just to the middle or in a blister shape within the red patch – do not go to the edge!

Now lay a single layer of your torn tissue over the gel – you need to totally cover the gel, and have the edge of the tissue in contact with the skin, over the red paint.

Now, using the torn sponge and liquid latex, seal the edges of the tissue down, dabbing the latex all around the tissue edges. Once you’ve got the edges sealed down, gently dab latex over the whole tissue, don’t be rough as you don’t want to rupture the “blister”… yet! Let the latex dry – it will dry clear. If using dark DUO it will stay a grey colour. Also, if you are using hair gel, the middle of the “blister” will not dry but stay quite wet… this is NOT a problem!

Once your latex is dry, or as dry as it is going to get, apply the black paint over the top with a sponge… be gentle over the “blister”. Don’t have your paint too wet, but don’t be afraid to put on a good coverage. DO NOT cover entirely with black… you want red edges, and part of the latex over the red to show as well – the wet look of the dried latex adds to the burned effect. Just cover the swollen part and the roughest part of the tissue with black.

When the black paint is as dry as it will get (again, if using hair gel, the “blister” part will stay quite wet) use a sharp tool to “puncture” the blister, or tear open the burn… this can get as gross as you want, depending where and how big you’ve make it!

Depending on how much goo you put under the latex, you may need to do a little touch up with red or black paint – sometimes the tissue still shows white underneath, just dab with a sponge or qtip and add more colour or “puss” as necessary! Ta Dah!


Materials Needed:

Cereal – Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, etc. NOTE: Be as creative as you want and use all sorts of things.

Liquid Latex or Duo eyelash adhesive or other brand (NOTE: Feel free to use other adhesives! I just like latex, hmm… could be I have a rubber fetish!)

Food colouring – 3 drops of red, 1 drop of green, 1 drop of yellow


Put your cereal of choice into a container and mix with the food colouring until they are the colour you want – They don’t have to be totally soaked! Dump out onto a paper towel to soak up excess liquid, then remove from the paper towel (because they stick as they dry!) to finish drying (put on plate!)

If you want to make long scratch scabs, use a knife to cut them into small strips while they are still wet – it’s easier now than when they are hard!

To apply, simply put the latex where you want the scabs and apply the bloody cereal. You can overlap the cereal, break it up, etc. Dab a little latex over the edges, or the top to hold and seal in position. The latex will dry with a shiny look so if you want your scabs dry, you can just use it on the edges and underneath the cereal, or powder it when you are done to take away the shine.

I discovered that applying the cereal while it was still slightly damp and pliable worked wonderfully for making a really big scab as I was able to flatten the flakes into each other so it looked like on big continuous scab!

Add a little stage blood for the gooey effect!


Depending how crazy you went, the effects quite probably will just peel off, and you can then clean the area with make-up remover, soap and water, etc.

You can use any all purpose adhesive remover to get the latex off if it is sticking – I use alcohol (70% Isopropyl) on myself. Just soak a qtip with it and rub the edges of the latex, working the wet qtip underneath it and it will come off.



Author: Shannon Fennell

Multidisciplinary artist, world traveller, make-up artist, and cheese lover. I follow a low carb lifestyle to keep my diabetes in remission. Canadian expat in the UK.

One thought on “Easy Latex special effects

  1. Pingback: Reruns « Shannon Fennell's Blog

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