How to Paint a Latex Prop or Mask: The FrightProps Method


Salutations, haunted house and horror enthusiasts of the world! Today on the FrightProps blog, we’ve got an update from our master Creative-brainy-dude, Scott! In this post, Scott goes through the step-by-step process of painting our Skinned Chimp prop using some of FrightProps’ latex paints. So strap on your brain-helmets and prepare your spongy brain for maximum absorption.

Take it away, Scott!


So to start, we’re using our latex paints for this Skinned Chimp prop. Why? Because we’ve specially formulated FrightProps paints to adhere to casting latex, specifically.  They’re also thin enough to be applied with an airbrush for more subtle paint effects.  We offer a wide selection of colors that we feel is the most useful in the industry for painting masks and props.



I started with FrightProps’ red paint to highlight the exposed muscles.  I also wanted to get some red into the deep grooves of the palms and the bottoms of the feet, as well as around the ears, eyes and in the mouth.  I left a lot of exposed latex color on the muscles so they would pop in the finished piece.  As I’m also a taxidermist, I have a lot of experience painting muscles and have found that this is a great technique.



I added in some of our black paint around the neck, ankles and wrists where I wanted the impression of dark hair. After all, it may be skinned but it’s still a chimpanzee.



Here I used brown to give a natural look to the front of the face, hands and feet. Being that we pride ourselves on the realism of our Halloween props, brown is probably my favorite color to add in gross depth and textures.



Next I used our white paint to paint the teeth and lighten up the inside of the mouth, hands and feet.  I also airbrushed white on the ears and the area around the eyes to make the detail of the prop stand out a little more.



Now I have come back with my second pass of black paint, further darkening the neck, wrists and ankles.  I also added some black to the deep areas between the fingers and toes.



This is the second pass with FrightProps red paint.  You can see how much darker the color gets with multiple coats.  Again, I still wanted some of the natural color of the latex to show through and create the effect of tendons.  I also added some details in the mouth.



This is probably my favorite step.  Using FrightProps Grime I do a wash over the entire prop.  This means I apply a thick coat of Grime to the entire prop and then wipe it away with a rag.  You can see how this really makes the details of the fantastic sculpt (by Christian Hanson) pop.  This is the stage where you can really see the prop coming to life.



Next comes the blood!  Using FrightProps Secret Blood Formula I just went in and lightly highlighted the muscles.



Now I am using a standard paintbrush.  Using our white paint, I have painted the eyes, teeth and the fingernails and toenails.




STEP 10:
More blood!  Using a chip brush I splatter and drip blood on the prop.  This is probably the most fun step!  Who doesn’t love to slop gore all over?



STEP 11:
To add a dirty look to the nails I used a brush to apply FrightProps Grime and then wiped it away with my thumb.  This leaves the grime in the deep grooves, creating some ugly, nasty ape nails!





STEP 12:
For the irises I mixed FrightProps yellow paint with some FrightProps Grime.  I used a paintbrush to apply this mixture in a circle.  I let it pool up to a fair thickness because I wanted the colors to mix and swirl before they dried.



STEP 13:
Now using a finer brush I came in with some pure FrightProps Grime and highlighted the outer edge of the iris.



STEP 14:
For the pupil, I dip the end of my brush in FrightProps black paint and then press it onto the eye.  It’s important to let the paint of the iris dry before you add the pupil or your black paint will mix with the wet paint underneath.



STEP 15:  
Again using a fine-bristled brush, I use some FrightProps Secret Blood Formula to accent the inner edge of the eyelids.




STEP 16:
The final step is to use a generous coating of FrightProps Wet on any area I want to be glossy.  I apply it heavily to the muscles, teeth, eyes and mouth.  If you really want a super glossy look on your eyes you can use clear two-part epoxy – though I have found this can yellow over time.  For the ultimate realism, you can insert glass taxidermy eyes!



Done!  Here is the finished product.  Remember that this is for a haunted house, not for film.  Spending a lot of time on extra details would be great, but your customers are most likely not going to be viewing this prop for an extended time under optimal lighting.  The goal is to create a scary paint job in a fairly short amount of time that will look amazing in your haunted house!  Don’t get caught up in trying to make every detail perfect. Painting Halloween props should be fun…more Bob Ross than Rembrandt.

So, hopefully this gives you a little insight into how I paint all of our Halloween props and decorations here at FrightProps. Now get out there and make some gore!


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