Sealable container for mixing
heat gun (optional)
There are two main methods of corpseing a skeleton. My favorite is the latex method which is shown below. Stillbeast studio's has another method using plastic drop sheets and a heat gun. I personally don’t care for the look of it very much but it is a much less messy process.
For skeleton selection I prefer to use what is known as the Costco skeleton. They are a possible skeleton that is relatively close to life like as far as Halloween decor goes. This process will work with any skeleton so it is up to you what you want to work with.
Locally the best source for latex is Industrial Paint and Plastic. You can also get it at Michele's but it is extremely expensive. Please note latex is not the same as paint do not use paint as the base for this project. For this project as I was making 10 skeletons I imported a 5 gallon tub from the US as it was the cheapest.
I use tempera paint that I find at the dollar store to tint my latex I find this easier then painting afterwards. Be careful doing this I have found some paints will react with the latex and coagulate. Always mix a small amount of latex with the paint prior to mixing with the latex you are planning on using.
Cobwebs can also be found at the dollar store during the Halloween season. If you are planning on doing this project I would recommend buying your skeleton(s) and webbing during Halloween and store them till the summer months it is much easier to work with when it’s warm as they will dry much much faster.
You will also need a container to store your mixed latex in. Don't mix it in the source container unless you plan on making several skeletons the same colour.
Each skeleton will require about half a gallon of latex if you are using the Costco skeleton. Other skeletons can vary depending on how large they are.
Open your skeleton up and lay it out where you are planning on working on it. I recommend a table but any flat surface will do. You will make a very big mess so work on it in the backyard or in the garage.
Poor about a half a gallon of latex into a sealable container. Using a paint brush put some latex on a scrap piece of wood and mix a little of your poster paint into the latex. I cannot stress the testing enough it is very important some poster paints can react with the latex and solidify you can ruin an entire batch. Once you have confirmed that there is no reaction mix some of the poster paint into the latex keeping in mind the latex colour will be much lighter than the actual colour. To test your colors I recommend putting some latex on a scrap piece of wood and using the heat gun on it.
Measure the spider webbing along the legs, arms body and head and cut appropriately. Also cut a small piece to shove in the bottom of the mouth for filler. It doesn’t need to be perfect since the webbing will stretch. Don’t be too stingy with this step it’s better to have too much and give the skeleton some extra bulk then too little.
Dip the spider webbing in the latex and soak. Ring out the excess latex and stretch it over the various body parts you measured earlier. It doesn’t really matter where you start I usually start with the arms and legs then the head and body.
Once the entire body is covered in latex and webbing hang it up to dry. Do not dry flat it may adhere to the surface and will take longer to dry.
You will still have about a quart of latex leftover save this for the next step
Once dry (12-24 hours during the warmer months a week during the colder months) use a paint brush to paint the leftover latex all over the skeleton. This is what gives it its melted flesh look. If you’re not a huge fan of the colour you can also add more poster paint to the latex to adjust the colour. You can actually create some really cool effects by using more than one colour.