So here’s another little homemade prop for 2012’s Haunted House. While I realize there are a gazillion corpsing tutorials out there, this method involves building up facial muscles in clay before the latex stage, providing some increased realism and a better armature to apply the goop.

I took a drive to Hamilton this weekend to check out the Canadian Haunted Attraction Conference, and although there were all sorts of different goodies available for purchase at different prices, my biggest score cost only 50 cents.

I’m talking about this foam skull, being cast away in another haunter’s unwanted bin. I have been searching for small foam skulls to do corpsing on, without having to take the step of casting them myself, and the price certainly was right.
The only other thing I needed was a used doll from Value Village, ($3.99) from which I could get a semi-realistic eye.
I attached it with a little Apoxie Sculpt.

UPDATE: On later versions I switched to actual prop eyes. Work much better. You just need to hollow out the eye socket some to make it fit.


The foam skull came with embossed teeth, but they looked pretty bad, so I decided to sculpt my own glow-in-the-dark chompers. Once again, I used the techniques outlined by Craig Schriber in his tutorial. (Same as I used on Alex, the demon-bust) Once sculpted they were baked in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
Now here’s where I decided to do corpsing a little differently. Rather than go straight to the latex and toilet paper, I began building up the musculature of the face using snakes of Apoxie.
At first I roughed in around the eye, taking care to make an eyelid. A rubber tipped brush (dipped in water) is essential for smoothing together these snakes to create realism. From here on you want to use some sort of visual reference so you get the muscles in the right places. I used the image below.
I then covered the teeth with a very thin disc of Apoxie and embedded my teeth in it. They came out awfully big, but I kind of like it that way. More Apoxie was then used to build up the musculature over the gums, locking the teeth in place. Once the sculpt was completed it looked like this.
Then it was time for traditional corpsing, laying toilet paper down on top of wet latex and brushing more latex on top, in as many layers as necessary to give you the look you want. Once it has a reall ‘rotted flesh’ look, let it dry for paint.
I used latex mask paint from Monster Makers to apply the base coat, just to be sure that it adhered to the latex.

UPDATE: After learning some things I’d skip the mask paint and just use cheap acrylics. I used mask paint because I thought you had to if you want it to stick to latex, but that’s only the case with masks because they flex. Since this is a static prop it’s unnecessary.
Then I used Tandy Leather’s Eco-Flo Gel Antique (Saddle Tan colour) to add some depth to the nooks and crannies, while making it look generally dirty. This was applied to the teeth as well, and then quickly wiped off.
Then a quick dry-brush of a cream colour, followed by an even lighter dry-brush of green, both to bring out the highlights. Then it was time to attach the hair.

UPDATE: Here’s the steps I used on later versions.
  • Paint with Burnt Umber
  • Antique with EcoFlo Gel Antique – (from Tandy Leather) Stains the teeth and adds grunge.
  • Dry brush with Unbleached Titanium
  • Very light dry brush with green
I had this hair on hand from another doll I had cannabilized in the past, so I used some more latex to brush it down.
Then I just repeated the painting techniques on this new ‘bald spot’, and voila! If I can find some more small skulls I’d like to make a stack of these to go on a shelf somewhere inside the haunt.

And once more in my hand for scale.

Check out my last tutorial, on making a brozed angel statue, here.
Or have a look at Alex, the demon-bust I made this winter.

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