Sculpting Muscles on a Budget (lotsa pics)



Okay guys, this is probably my first "Huntorial" even though I regged last year. I never really finished my suit, but I did take a bunch of pics that Ive decided to share with you.

When I was debating building a pred suit, I found these forums. They have been a HUGE help to me as far as finding things such as foam backer rod, bodysuits, and even bio-helmets. Unfortunately, much like last year, I haven't had much time to work on completing my suit and like last year, money has been pretty tight. So Ive decided to share some of my cost-cutting ideas.

First of all, I needed a bodysuit. Why? Well because I would look pretty funny wearing all that armor with my tubby physique. So I visited a local dance shop and purchased the largest size flesh colored body suit they sold. At $49 it wasn't that cheap, especially since I was going to cover it with Liquid latex.

And on that note, I'd like to say that you will probably spend the most money on that one item. Liquid Latex. I bought waaaay too much. But I figured, hey! I could always use it next year. I highly recommend Monster Makers Liquid Latex (FIRM GRADE) since it's what I used. Again, this was the most expensive item $149.00 for 5 Gallons!

But oh well, so far we have spent $200. Now comes the fun part. yeah right. So now we have a bodysuit, latex, and our duct tape dummy. What? You don't have a duct tape dummy?

So after I placed my bodysuit on my duct tape dummy, I started to add muscles. It helps to have an anotomical reference handy, like a health book, or perhaps a guide on drawing the human figure, to get your muscles looking good. The best part about this step is that if you are lucky, you can find this stuff in dumpsters.

Yes, that's right. Green carpet padding.

I used an electric knife to carefully sculpt the shapes out and stack them, gluing them with hot glue directly to the bodysuit.

Some parts were a bit difficult, and I had to start all over again in the pectoral area, but you get the idea.

By using the carpet padding, and sculpting shapes, I was able to cover the entire suit in a few hours. Since the foam is flexible, I glued down some pieces, the glued the edges of another and streched it over that peice to get the look I wanted. This is how I did the pecs, biceps, and abdominals.

Above you will notice that I used a diffrent type of foam to cover the abs. this because, being that the green foam is a closed-cell foam, the edges would have appeared way too "rough" when latexed over with lycra (more on that in a bit)

So I used a more open-celled black A/C filter foam you can buy at the hardware store to replace your ac filter (on wall units).

By using these two types of foam, I was able to get a smoother muscle look. This foam costs about $2.99 for a pack of two sheets that are about 24" by 30". Your area may not sell much of this depending on climate, but it's pretty easy to find doen in florida.

Which brings us to our next expenditure, lycra. Since the body suit will be covered in latex, and foam tends to suck things up, it would be pretty unweildy, not too mention extremely hot, to have a suit with foam muscles soaked in latex right?

Well, at least it would be for me. That's why I visited a fabric store and bought some white lycra (they didnt have flesh, but we are gonna paint this anyways)

The Lycra goes over the foam, and is held in place with...of course Hot Glue. I should have used something a little less rigid, but I didn't want to spend anymore.

Just apply lycra and stretch, using hot glue to hold down places where the mucles crease, like between pecs, and on biceps. basically follow the pattern on the foam.

Beauty shot...

So now that the muscles are covered in the lycra, you can start latexing them.

I used a heat gun to speed up the process, but it's very time consuming still. especially since you have to be extra careful since a heat gun could burn away your whole suit. Foam = Flammable!

Also, lycra can be flammable too! If you look at the top left shoulder you can see where a piece of lycra has pulled away due to burning by the heat gun. I wasn't able to fix this.

Well, you can see that you will probably need to add extra latex to the "seams" around the lycra added to the muscles.

This will help "blend" these areas when it's painted.

This is after about 6 coats of latex. Whew!

You can also see the beginings of some airbrushing. That was another area i tried to save by using a cheap $10 airbrush and mixing my own latex paint. Basically latex + acrylic paint. Did not work too well....But I digress...

Here's a closeup of my paintjob.
The real trick here is to get the paintjob to make the muscles "pop" but that's another tutorial.

I also used the smae techniques above to make myself a unique set of predator feet.

The predator feet, with Gapoxio claws added. (Unpainted)
Those were an old pair of Nikes, with foam sculpting, and latex.

Also, here's a shot of me in the suit, sans everything else I hadn't built. And there are no arms or calves, since I expected to have this covered by armor anyways. (those things on my legs are some old horse riding boot chaps I had)

Hope you guys enjoyed this! The total cost of my suit was around $225 in case you are wondering.

Also, the rear of the suit has a heavy-duty zipper affixed with GOOP and it works great. I was thinking of sculpting a covering of latex and foam to fit over the zipper if I ever finish.
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Shovel Face Sharky

Not bad at all. I hope mine comes out that well.
Was the Lycra over the foam your idea or did someone else suggest it? I haven't heard (read) of doing that here so I'm just wondering


Dude that rocks big time, epsecially for those of us that are on a very tight budget, the feet look really good too. Just shows what a little ingenuity and creativity can do. Kudos bro' and it's very generous of you to share the info. One trick I learnt when painting things like this is shading in the areas that wiuld make the muscles stand out to a greater degree as it adds a little extra depth and doesn't rely on the natural light to do this.


Thanks maverick,

My paint formulation didn't really work out too well, so I think my paintjob was lackluster. What I want to do is try to airbrush the suit again, and give it a nice gloss coat. Ive really improved my airbrush skills over this past year, and now I just need to get the "real" latex airbrush colors, so that I can do a better job. I think the suit far exceeded my expectations, since I still consider myself a newbie at building costumes.

And Shovelface, I don't know if that's something I picked up from reading prop and costuming boards, or something I did on my own. It worked well, although for a very "cut-up" pred, I think sculpting and casting would work better. the lycra tended to smooth out the muscles a bit.

This was me doing things on the cheap. But then again, if you look at Kevin Peter Hall in predator, he wasn't exactly buff either. I think the amazing paint job on the suit did more to accentuate the muscles than the suit itself.


Mel (the Big Gunns) is the lady to ask about paint, she's got airbrushing down to an art from (quite literally if you look at some of her work). Plus you could do no worse than to wander over to the Monster lab, there'e a specific thread about painting Latex masks over there for the newcomer. You can use PAX paint which is a mix of acrylic paint (a 50/50 mix). take a look here


Hey Gwiz

Thanks ever so much for that in depth and very lengthy tutorial on building a bodysuit.

I really appreciate it, as I'm in the process of making mine and had some reservations on what to do next, but after reading your example and instructions, can continue on confidently.

It's still going to take some time, but once finished, I'll share with the rest as you have.

Good work on the feet also!


That's what I did with mine used foam but I like the spandex suit and the way you did the muscles very cool oh Nice Poses dude- you're freegin huge!!


nice post man, thanks a ton im in the process of building mine. I have a question though...I have never latex'd anything before and was wondering if there is any science to it or do you just brush it on, let dry, brush more on, let dry? Maybe a guide somewhere for latexing. Also did you latex the whole suit or is it just where the muscles were? thanks!


wanted to also ask about movement. I assume you cant latex the whole arm parts because you would have limited range of movement. Is this true or can you latex the everywhere because its flexible enough for movement?


Let me throw a question in too. One that is just bugging me. This suit uses quite a bit of foam and is covered in latex. So it will definitely warm up in there and get pretty sweaty.

So, how do you wash it? Obviously you can't just throw it into the washing machine as the foam will just soak up a ton of water.


I aswell wanted to know this. It seems like you would melt in there!