January 13, 2012

Special Effects - Bald Caps

In special effects class we moved on to making bald caps. These aren't assessed the same way as our injuries for example, we're creating them just now to be assessed when they're applied to a look - such as our ageing or sci-fi characters. We have to make 3 overall, and so far I've made 2.

Bald caps are used in film and tv all the time - they are relatively simple to make (although a bit tedious, and very messy!) and can be used in conjuction with makeup and prosthetics to create all kinds of weird and wonderful characters: 
To make a bald cap, you will need the following:
- A plastic head mould
- Vaseline
- Liquid latex
- Talcum powder
- A large, soft brush
- A couple of soft sponges
- A hairdryer
Make sure you're wearing old clothes and protective wear such as a polythene apron, as this really is a messy process from start to finish!
1.) First, take a small amount of Vaseline and cover the entire head in it (just use your hands).
2.) Using the sponge, apply the latex to the head in strips, starting from the hairline and working all the way down to the nape of the neck.
3.) Dry with a hairdryer (cool setting)
4.) Powder the latex areas well, using the brush.
5.) Repeat the process 4 or 5 times, gradually building the layers up.
6.) Peel the bald cap from the head slowly and carefully, powdering the inside as you go.
The previous steps are put very simply, but the entire process takes about 90 mins. The latex strips that are applied need to be the same consistency per layer and you have to be careful not to overlap the strips. Also, you need to be very careful when holding the head - my hand slipped and I bashed mine off the table, which caused the latex to tear.
The Vaseline application is one of the most important steps - if too much is applied, the latex will start to separate and the cap will either be very fragile or will break when it is being fitted. This step is so important, you could end up wasting nearly 2 hours making a cap that cannot be used!
When I made my first bald cap, I made the ultimate mistake - I was too eager to take it off the head, and didn't powder the inside enough. The inside is very sticky, and the cap rolled in on itself and warped out of shape. It will still go in my folder as I definitely learned from this mistake, but it can't be used for a look! The powdering at the end is actually really fun, because you get to use as much as you want and make a real mess, so I advise against using it sparingly :)
Here is my finished bald cap:
I enjoyed the process - at first it seems very daunting, especially as it's quite repetitive, but it can be therapeutic. You end up losing yourself in it and forgetting how many layers you've done!
I'm looking forward to using my bald caps in my makeup looks, so watch out for that!
Gill :) x


  1. Love your designs, i'm doing bald caps on my course soon and i'm also called Jillian Currie! but with a J haha. :)
    Please visit my blog :

  2. Aww thank you! Bald caps are messy and time consuming but it's worth it in the end when you get to play with them!
    Oh how weird is that, I thought I was the only one! :) Apparently I was meant to be Jillian with a J but my dad spelled it wrong on my birth certificate lol!
    Your blog is great - I especially like your hair styling, and the American lips!
    I don't really keep this blog up any more but I have a facebook page if you're on there!