Looking around the internet, I feel like there is sometimes a high barrier to entry when it comes to cosplay. People are always posting about the complexity of BLAH BLAH BLAH. Cosplay isn’t something that only professional seamstresses can do…it’s not something that only professional SFX/makeup artists can do. Literally ANYONE can cosplay. Without sewing. Without professional training.
Silent Hill is an iconic game, and the Silent Hill Nurse is an iconic ‘character.’ Here are steps to follow to make one:
BUY A NURSE COSTUME
1) You can sew your own Silent Hill Nurse dress, but you honestly don’t need to. Search Halloween Nurse costumes and pick the design you like (preferably one with a HAT).
2) Fill a sink with hot water and soak several teabags in it. Use brown tea – Earl Grey or whatever – you can literally get tea bags for free at some restaurants.
3) Soak your white nurse dress in the tea for about an hour. The tea will stain your dress so it isn’t pure, clean white. Remove it and let it dry. (Save the tea bags!)
4) Re-soak the tea bags in hot water (you can also use new ones if you wnat. Then press them against the dress — preferably along the seams and edges, but where ever you want the dress to be stained darker. Let it dry.
5) Along the edges of your DRY nurse dress, take a pair of scissors and distress the edges. Tear them, make the fabric fray — whatever you think looks good. Then take some brown eye shadow or bronzer and add in some detail. Basically make it look dirty and gross.
Here is what my final dress looks like, under two different kinds of light/contrast so you can get an idea of what it looks like:
THE MASK // HEAD
This is the most daunting part of the costume – but it shouldn’t be!
1) Take a plastic grocery bag and put it over your head. Mark where your eyes and mouth are.
2) Cut out eye and mouth holes with a pair of scissors. Put the bag bag on your head and tie the handles around your neck (DON’T SUFFOCATE!!)
3) Wrap Rigid Wrap Strips (or paper mache) around your head. BE SURE THAT YOU LEAVE SPACE TO REMOVE THE MASK (AKA, pull the damn thing off your head. You don’t want to have to cut it off)!!! Let it dry….
4) Place the dry Mask/Headpiece onto a wig form (this isn’t essential, but it helps). Trim the excess plastic away.
5) Take strips of tattered white fabric (any fabric, but I used gabardine and distressed the edges with a pair of scissors) and wrap them around the plaster mask. Use glue (Tacky Glue, Fabric Glue, Elmer’s Glue) to attach the strips to the mask. Let it dry.
6) Coat the mask in Liquid Latex. You can purchase this from most Halloween stores or online. You don’t want the mask to look smooth. Take the tattered edges and coat them with latex. Build something gross around the face. Whatever image you’re going for with the nurse…build it with latex. Let is dry.
7) Take a white see-through fabric (chiffon, rayon, whatever) and glue it over the eye and mouth holes. Let it dry.
8) Blend the new fabric in with the old fabric with liquid latex. Tattered edges along the face are great! Don’t make the face smooth. This is when you give the mask the shape you want it to have and it’s really up to your personal taste. If you prefer a more bandaged look, emphasize that. If you like the bloodly flesh-bandagey type look, cool. Whatevs you want. Let the latex dry.
ADDING MAKEUP TO YOUR MASK
This is how your mask is going to get its detail. This is when you make it look cool. For makeup, I used a standard pressed powder bronzer, several shades of brown eye shadow, a Ben Nye burn and bruise SFX wheel, and Kryolan coagulated blood (it’s thicker and darker looking than fresh SFX blood). I use a regular powder brush and those eye shadow sponge applicators. Here’s a pic:
1) Here is what the mask looked like with just dry liquid latex (no makeup):
2) Apply the bronzer powder over the whole mask. As you can see, it darkens all of the areas that looked too white.
3) Apply brown eye shadow along any details you want emphasized or areas you want to look dirty. I emphasized the edges of the bandages and the texture on the front of the mask.
4) Take the Ben Nye burn/bruise wheel and add the reds/purples/blues as well. Again, anywhere you want to emphasis and make look dirty/bloody. As you can see, I created deep, bloodly looking gashes by adding these colors into the cracks and crevices on the front of the mask. Just using red will make a very shallow looking cut, darkening it with purples and blues will make it look deeper and more gross. The picture below shows this progression, from left to right:
5) Now, apply the green and yellow colors to other areas of the mask. You don’t have to do this, but it adds to the gross, old, decaying look of the mask.
6) Take the SFX blood and add it to the cuts and gashes on the mask with a brush. This is what makes the mask look wet and yucky…and more realistic. This step should be repeated RIGHT before photoshoots, as the fake blood will eventually dry and lose its wet shine. Here is the finished mask:
And on my face:
And a test shot in the bathroom with the nurse dress and hat on. A note on the hat – I just cut out two peices of fabric in the shape of a nurse hat, sewed them together, turned it inside out so the raw edges of the seams were on the inside, and then GLUED the base to the mask head. The fabric is stiff enough that it can be folded to stand straight up. It looks very 2-dimensional from the side, but from the front it looks fine. If you have a real nurse hat, then just attach that to the mask head. Whatever works y’all!
And a final pic from my photo shoot with Geri Kramer Photography and Silhouette Realm Cosplay (she built her mask in a similar, but slightly different way. If you like her method, check out her COSPLAY PAGE). For the shoot, be sure to make you skin look dirty and gross (or a pair of pantyhose) with the same Ben Nye burn/bruise wheel and fake blood you used on the mask!
To see more photos of my finished costume, CHECK OUT THE PAGE FOR THE COSTUME!
Good luck! Feel free to leave questions or comments below!