I can’t remember the last time I actually took the effort to dress up in costume. But when my company decided to organize a rock-zombie themed dinner event, I seized the opportunity to costume up like the walking dead. After all, who doesn’t love to play zombies these days, right?!
In the process of getting myself zombified, I actually surprised myself at how budget-friendly it was to DIY my own zombie costume and make-up! I discovered most of the required stuff can be scavenged from within my very own house!
Thus, for the benefit for future zombie wannabes, I thought I’d share my budget-friendly zombie makeover steps! Enjoy!
Step 1: Preparing what to WEAR
The simplest zombie apparel would be shredded shirt and pants. Scavenge your home for those really old shirts that you never (and will probably never) wear anymore. White colour would be ideal; as well as any old pair of jeans/slacks/shorts.
I was fortunate to find a mouldy, old white shirt lying in my closet which I was definitely not going to wear anymore, as well as a pair of semi-ripped (and torn) jeans, which was going to be thrown away at some point of time anyway.
Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut into the shirt/pants and use your hands to rip away! Try not to use the scissors to do the ripping. I found that hand ripping makes the tear looks more natural and realistic.
BE CAREFUL! This rippping stage is highly addictive, so please don’t over do it either! Else, you could consider costuming up as the Hulk…
After you are satisfied with your new apparel creations, find some spot on the ground where there’s sand. Roll your shirt and pants there to smudge it up more with dirt. I merely dropped it in my garden and stomped away for 5 mins. 😛 For more dramatic effect, you could even dress up with your costume and roll around on teh ground yourself! Haha.
Step 2: Making Fake Blood
I researched from several sites on how fake blood can be easily manufactured at home so I decided to concoct my own recipe and give it a go! My simple recipe only has 4 main ingredients: (i) Tomato Sauce; (ii) BBQ Sauce; (iii) Red Food Colouring – cost around RM2-3; (iv) Water
Mix 3 teaspoons tomato sauce to 1 teaspoon of BBQ sauce to about 150ml of water. Drop in half a teaspoon of red food colouring and stir until you get the right consistency and colour. If it is too bright, put in more BBQ sauce. If too dark, add a drip of red food colouring. if too diluted, add in more parts of tomato and BBQ sauce.
For my project, I made two portions of fake blood. The first one was slightly more diluted and higher in volume – which I would use for staining my shirt and pants later. I also made a second portion which was darker, thicker and smaller volume – which I packed in a small container with me to the event. I intended to use this thicker blood for my final face and skin make-up later.
Best part of this DIY fake blood? It’s safe, edible, and washes off easily!!
Step 3: Blood-painting the shirt and pants
This was yet another fun part of the project which I even got my kids involved! First, hang your shirt on a hangar (preferably outside the house compound). Use a broad brush or even cotton wool to dab in your fake blood and splatter it all over your shirt as desired. You could even use your hands to make finger print smears! A light headed brush can give you scratch-like blood stains. Above all, be creative and have fun!
Similarly, smear the fake blood all over your ripped pants or jeans.
Step 4: Making Fake Skin
In preparation for my skin and facial zombie make-up, I decided to make some fake skin. Most sites mentioned ingredients like gelatin and glycerin would make excellent latex-like skin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any glycerin so I decided to experiment…
First, I poured out about 5 tbps of pudding ‘gelatin’ (cost around RM3) into a microwaveable bowl. I couldn’t find transparent gelatin, so I opted for honey dew (closest to skin colour) pudding instead. Pour about 2-3 tbps of water into the bowl and stir evenly.
Next, microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds. Note: the concoction may start to get bubbly and popping inside the microwave. Remove the microwaved mixture and immediately cool it inside the freezer.
After 30 mins+ , take out the mixture and stir it evenly to check the consistency and goo-iness of it. Leave it in the fridge and get yourself costumed up!
Step 5: Applying the Fake Skin and other Make-Up
Once you are dressed up in your blood-stained shirt and pants, splash some baby talcum powder on your face and your messed-up hair.
Get your Fake Skin from the fridge and proceed to apply it on your exposed hands, face and other skin areas. Now your skin will have another layer of shiny, jagged-feel skin, which gives you a variety of make-up opportunities!
For example, I added some red food colouring to the fake skin mixture and splattered it on my cheek and hands. Later I just used dark coloured paint for realistic-looking scars over that area.
On a side note, I actually experimented another bowl will added baby lotion (since skin lotion has glycerin marr…). but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out too well. So I guess if you can get proper glycerin, you might be able to make a better quality skin!
This was how I looked like before the final make-up with water colours…
Tip: If possible, apply this as early as you can. The faster the jelly/pudding skin sets in, the more time you get to ‘play’ make-up with it. Mine didn’t set in long enough, so I couldn’t peel it out like another layer of skin. Perhaps if I had added some flour, I might have succeeded.
Step 6: Finishing Up
With my semi make-up on, I went the function and put myself into the hands of a make-up artist. What she did was to whitened my face with foundation and used darker colours to accentuate the bruises scars.
She also really had fun with my jello-skin. For my arms, she painted an ‘open-wound’ over it with the right colours. In addition, she also dabbed some pieces of cotton around the area. The final result from the jello-skin shine makes it really creepy from up close.
I finished up the zombie makeover by applying some of the extra fake blood on my face. That’s it!
I guess the general idea of a budget zombie makeover is to keep the cost low by finding and macgyvering stuff you can find right in your very own house. Some suggestions for home experiments:
- For fake blood, you could use honey, syrup, cordial, chilli sauce, etc.
- For fake skin, you could try mixing flour + water to make the skin putty and ordinary paper glue to stick it to your skin.
- Coffee stains on your shirt would seem cool too!
- Shoe polish for extra bruises, perhaps?
- Corn starch may make fake blood and skin extra gooey!
Have fun and remember to also walk and rawrr like a zombie!!
Step 7: Washing Up
You’d be surprised how easily the make-up I described above was removed and washed off. Since most of the stuff I used were edible, non-toxic materials, it all came off rather easily under a warm shower, soap and facial cleanser!