Making plastic bones look more realistic

A plastic skeleton, or just some plastic bones, can be a fun addition to a LARP camp or a party. These bones generally don’t look very realistic though.

There are a few different ways to make them look a bit more lifelike 

One method is by repainting them with acrylic paints. Acrylic paint dries relatively matte and you can mix colours really easily. Start with a matt spray primer, though, to help the paint to cling to the plastic better. With this method you have a lot of control over the effect you wish to create. If you want the look of clean bones, you can mix the paint to the right shade of off-white for that. Once you have the base colour right and applied, you can go in with different shades of browns and grays to add more depth to the bones to truly make them look realistic. 

Or, if you want the bones to look old and dirty you can start with a browner base and add highlights and lowlights for a more realistic effect.

Another method to create the old and dirty effect is by using wood stain. You can apply the woodstain directly on the bones without any primer. Use a cloth to rub on the wood stain and let it dry. By using a cloth, you should already get an uneven finish, but you can always go in with a brush to further darken specific spots. Wood stain will leave a more shiny finish than acrylics, so if this is not the effect you want, you can apply a layer of matt spray varnish over the wood stain when the stain is dry. 

Watch the video for more detailed instructions on the wood stain method and on how to add mummified skin. 

You can find our fake bones and skeleton here.