Cells move and change shape by dynamically reorganizing their cytoskeleton next to the plasma membrane. In particular, actin assembly generates forces and stresses that deform the cell membrane. Cell-sized liposomes are designed to mimic this function. The activation of actin polymerization at their membrane is able to push the membrane forward, thus reproducing the mechanism of lamellipodium extension at the cell front. Moreover, the cell cortex, a submicrometer-thick actin shell right beneath the cell membrane can be reproduced; it contributes to cell tension with the action of molecular motors. We will describe experimental methods to prepare liposomes that mimic the inside geometry of a cell, and that reproduce actin-based propulsion of the liposome using an outside geometry. Such systems allow to study how actin-related proteins control and affect actin cortex assembly and can produce forces that drive cell shape changes.