DIY “Wild Inside” Zipper Face Costume

Welcome back for the second edition of the MissKay DIY Costume Countdown this October! Fast forwarding 8 years from last week’s post on the DIY Bunch o Grapes Costume, we land at two Halloweens ago– when I wanted to do something wacky and wild with face paint. I must say this idea didn’t come to me easily, but after much Pinterest searching, hours of pinning and dreaming, I created my own version of zipper face and called it “Wild Inside.” I’ll show you how you can do it yourself this Halloween and the pros and cons of the cool factor vs the difficulty level.

First, I was day dreaming about different costumes that I could focus around one cool makeup idea. Now I am artistic, but I have never tried any kind of insane makeup designs that take hours on end, so I knew I shouldnt do anything TOO intense like these masterpieces:

Source: Model Mayhem
I also knew that I wanted the costume to be a creative concept instead of some kind of character. I ran across quite a few different designs of Zipper Face in my search, and my fascination for it started growing the more I ran across it.

Source: Instagram / taylorrachelle5

Source: Instagram / amberroseoatman

The only problem was, I didn’t really want to look gross or bloody, and almost all of the Zipper Face ideas were supposed to look like your skin is being unzipped and your actual blood was showing underneath. Very realistic– in a bad way. I have always appreciated cute, creative or– at the very most– creepy costumes, but not gross or scary ones, at least not for myself. So, it was time to figure out if I could alter the costume to fit my creative and “cute” needs and get rid of the gross-out factor.

I began searching for more specific ideas, and slowly but surely found really beautiful and cool ways to paint the skin inside of the zipper. The layer under your skin doesn’t HAVE to be blood or bones- this is a Halloween costume. The possibilities are endless!

Source: Brittany Couture


Source: Everything I Love Tumblr

I had found my dream costume, the one that had been forming in my head. The last of these, with the rainbow colors and glitter on the edges was the one that inspired me the most. I was ready to make it happen! Now all that was left to decide was where to begin.

Here’s what you’ll need to pull off the full look:

  • Zipper (3 if you want to add the arm and leg element)  –  About $5
  • Spirit gum  –  $7
  • Black pants you don’t really care about  –  Free or $5 max at Goodwill
  • Black shirt you don’t really care about  –  Free or $5 max at Goodwill
  • White polo or button up  –  Free or $5 at Goodwill
  • Rainbow fabric  –  Depends on the kind you choose. If from old pajama pants or scarf, free!
  • Face paint (recommend the oil crayon kind) or eye shadow in the following colors: yellow, green, blue, red and purple   –  Dollar store has very minimal packs that will work, or this palette on eBay will work as well.
  • Sowing kit  –  Dollar store
  • Blue hair dye (or substitute blue oil face paint)  –  $5 for spray dye, or this Hair Chalk looks gorgeous and is only $1.50!


Pictured: my Dad and I are posing with a friendly hotel ghost on a San Fran ghost tour. 👻



After reading a couple of tutorials on how to pull the zipper look off, I knew there were two essentials ingredients: A zipper and a face glue called spirit gum. What’s spirit gum, you ask? It comes in a little nail polish-sized bottle of a sticky type of liquid. It smells a little strange, but it’s bearable and it does the trick of gluing things to your face while still being something you can wash off relatively easily.

After purchasing the spirit gum here for about $7, my next quest was for the zipper. I wanted to spend as little money as possible, so I decided to go to Goodwill and look for an item of clothing with the maximum number of zippers. I found a sweatshirt with three different sets of zippers with crazy numbers of pockets that zip. Perfect, so I thought.

While it may have been the cheapest way to do it and a great solution for the shirt and pants, I wouldn’t recommend it again for the face. This is because I didn’t want there to be a wide black edge around the zipper, so I cut the fabric as close to the metal zipper as possible. More fabric would have given the glue something more to grab on to and stick well to my skin. Without much fabric and just metal, it caused the zipper to want to curl, and it didn’t stick to my skin well. I had to push it down many times back to my face throughout the night. It ultimately worked, but it was a hassle and annoyed the heck out of my skin. Cutting the zipper for your face off of clothing? NOT recommended, but very cheap.

Instead, if I were to do it again, I would buy a zipper all by itself so that it was meant to lay flat, and I could control the amount of fabric surrounding the zipper. You can either leave it the original centimeter width of fabric, or cut half of that away so that it’s less noticeable. Just some cloth to grab onto and the flat shape of the zipper will make all of the difference for the zipper to stay in place. You can find many different types of flat zippers with cloth edges on Amazon by searching “Zipper.”

zipper black and silver

Also be sure to choose how you want the final zipper product to look. Do you want the whole zipper to be flesh colored, even the tab so that it looks built into your skin? Do you want a black zipper, or the cloth of the zipper to be black while the metal is gold/silver? I wanted the metal to be look very robotic and a little franken-stein, as if when it was zipped up it was obvious that something was bursting to get out. That’s why I went for the bulky silver zipper, but tried not to include any fabric at all. You can also go for a flesh colored fabric and a bulky silver/gold metal, which I think would be the perfect combo. You can find this type of zipper at your local craft store, or online here.


Pictured: my mom and I both wore makeup and face tattoos that made it hard to smile!
Next, I prepared the black long-sleeve shirt I would be wearing as well as the black pants in almost the same way. I cut pieces of the paisley rainbow fabric I had (you can use any rainbow fabric that speaks to your inner wild child) into triangles about 7″ tall and 4″ wide. This was so that one of my arms and one of my legs looked like the black shirt was being unzipped to show a wild pattern instead.

After sowing the triangles to the shirt and pants (the 4″ side of the triangle just lines up with the cuff of the sleeve and the point is pointing up your arm/leg) you then have the foundation for the full look on your clothes.

Next, take one of the zippers from the clothing item you bought. Zip it down 6 inches, then cut right below the zipper, and all around the zipper’s edge, as close to the metal as possible. You should be left with a V of zipper it’s the point coming together with the dangling pull tab.

Next, sow the zipper right around the edge of the rainbow fabric triangle. Once your arm ends in a rainbow of magical colors leading to your hand, you need to make your hand magical as well! I simply did a similar thing as my face, and painted blob sections of the back of my hand different colors (alternating between red, blue, yellow, purple and green. I would only put colors near each other that contrast from each other. Also, my fingers were each their own color, but you can do it in many different ways, whatever looks the most wild! Add beads or glitter with the spirit gum, draw shapes with black eyeliner… whatever you feel is the most fun and beautiful, but make sure it goes with the design on your face. You can also paint each nail a different color if you like paying attention to detail like me! (Sorry I don’t have pictures of my hand, I guess I didn’t do a great job of capturing it all back then. Bummer!)

The only thing left to do on your body costume is to cover your shoe with the rainbow fabric. Take the shoe that matches the side of the pant leg that you have sown the zipper on (for me I chose to make my right leg peak wild and my left arm for variety.) and tape strips of the fabric to the shoe/boot. I love using black electrical tape for my shoe projects, I recommend you do the same! I taped the fabric to the bottom edge of the shoe all the way around the sole, as well as vertically from the side edge of the shoe farther underneath to the very bottom of the shoe. This will ensure that it won’t fall off during your night out on the town! And a couple of pieces of electrical tape will not hurt the traction on the bottom of the shoe, don’t worry! When you’re all done covering the shoe and the pants flare out into wildness, your leg will end up looking like this:


Now, to walk you through how to pull off the face of the costume. Wait that sounded weird, considering it looks like your face is being pulled off… ew. Anywho, you will start with the foundation of the colors before you attach the zipper. First, draw a triangle on your face with the area you choose to make your inner wild-child. Draw the triangle lines with red lip liner so that it won’t be visible in your end product. The triangle has many different options for placement. You can either put it in the classic format of unzipping your chin so that the pull tab dangles between your eyes and your nose is exposed, but I personally think that this version is more appropriate with the creepy blood style. Somehow the coolness of the colored version is more sleek and pretty when it just surrounds the eye. That way, both of my eyes are completely different looking and makes more of a stark contrast between my fun side and my rule-following boring side.


I drew the triangle and made sure that the face zipper would reach all the way from the tip of the triangle around the side of my nose up to my hairline. After the outline was drawn, I used oil face paint crayons to create “blobs” of distinct color. I love the way this looks with each color separated out but subtlety fading from one color to the other, rather than smaller lines or blobs of color. If the colors mix more, there is not as much of a stark contrast. However, if you have a specific painting design in mind (perhaps inspired by your favorite abstract painter?), you can go for it! Testing out the design before Halloween when you have some free time is always a great idea, especially if it will be complicated.

If you are going for the “blob” look of the colors (sorry for the lack of a better term), then you can follow the order that I went for. Near the top line I painted my skin yellow, the bottom line was red, and my nose was both colors meeting together. Underneath my eye was purple (and it didn’t look like a bruise, despite how it sounds!), and above my eye was green. The last section was outside of my eye, going toward my ear, and I made that section blue. All of the colors were blended into each other slightly with my finger, and the paint was a little thick so that it would look extreme.

Next, take the section of your hair from one side of the triangle to the other, a couple of inches deep of hair, and dye it a crazy color like blue! This will look even more like this part of your head is leaking out wild. Even better- crimp with braids and tease up the hair so that it sticks up! I tried a hair chalk, but it wasn’t very vibrant, so I literally took the blue oil face paint and rubbed it all over the hair. It was much harder to get out, but it looked great the night of and it helped it to tease up higher anyway!

Finally, it’s time for the zipper. Paint a line of spirit gum onto one side of the zipper, and then a line of gum on the red line you had drawn earlier. Place the zipper down onto this line (make sure the skin on the outside of the zipper has no color so that it looks like your normal skin is unzipping) and hold it there for a couple of minutes. When you let go, it should stay in place and last on your face the rest of the night! If it still feels a little loose, hold it down longer as it may need more time to dry.

The last step is to make sure the rest of your body looks boring and normal. I parted my hair right on the “zipper line,” straightened the rest of my hair, used normal foundation for the rest of my face and simple light pink chapstick on my lips. On both eyes I used eyeliner and mascara of course. You can even do a false or colored lash on your wild side if you want to make it more intense, but I just did the eye makeup the same on both sides- black. I wore a white polo underneath my plain black long sleeve shirt (with one wild sleeve and a colorful hand), my black pants with one wild pant leg, my normal black boot and my wild boot. Most of the body costume is very simple and straight-forward, because the attention is primarily put on your face of course!

Pictured: the next morning when we had to get the tattoos and face paint out of our hair!

Have you ever done a costume like this? Have you even been a zipper face for Halloween? Have you ever been half or part wild and half boring? Or, have you been half and half something else? Let me know in the Comments below!

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