How to Sculpt a 3/4 Monster Mask for Casting

Art & Sculpture Costumes, Cosplay, and Props Craft & Design
How to Sculpt a 3/4 Monster Mask for Casting

On this episode of Monster Lab, Ed Edmunds shows you how to sculpt a very cool-looking alien zombie head to be cast as a 3/4 Halloween mask. A 3/4 mask fits farther over your head than a half-mask, so no elastic string or tie is needed.

YouTube player

First off, Ed goes over the sculpting tools you’ll need, most of which are basic things you likely already have around the house or shop (brushes, bucket, knife, spray bottle) and a few carving tools that are easily acquired. For the sculpting medium, he recommends WED clay. You can get 50 lbs of it for around $25 (minus shipping). After he runs through the basic tools, he goes over some nice-to-have tools if you enjoy your intro to sculpting and decide you want to dive in deeper.

Below is the only exotic tool he highly recommends that you may not be able to get at your local craft store, a serrated double wire sculpting tool that has a triangular wire on one end and a circular wire on the other. The steel wire is serrated and this tool is used for cutting, shaping, and digging out clay material around places like the eye sockets.


One thing I like about this video is that Ed tried to keep all of the tools required as minimal as possible so that newbies could try their hand at it. On that note, for the armature, rather than using a professional head/bust form for modeling, he made a crude one out of 2x4s and a piece of plywood. He also recommends a Lazy Susan, but it’s not required.

Another thing I love about this video, and all well-done instructional videos, is that it makes the process look approachable, very doable. Even if you have no sculpting experience or don’t see yourself as particularly artistic (stop that!), if you create a set-up like he has, gather the basic tools, and carefully follow along, I can almost guarantee that you’ll surprise yourself and end up with something that’s pretty darn impressive.

This is only Part 1 in the series. In the next installment, Ed promises to show us how to cast the alien zombie sculpt into a wearable mask. Monster Lab is hosted by the prop and F/X company, Distortions Unlimited. You can peruse their website here.

BTW: Those of you familiar with the wonderful fan-made Star Trek YouTube series, Star Trek Continues, might recognize the baby space rock creature from Episode 6, “Come Not Between the Dragons” that Ed walks by in the beginning of this tutorial.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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