Special FX makeup course – Part 3: Prosthetics and application

Making the prosthetic
Left: Pouring in the gelatin. Right: The two pieces of the mould put back together until it sets

We used gelatin to make the prosthetics. You melt it in the microwave then pour it in the mould. It’s pretty fun to play with, you can put it directly on your skin (as long as you don’t heat it too much) and make it look all gross and blistery. You can melt it back down and re-use it as well, which is nice because it can take a few goes to get it right. The gelatin I had was already skin coloured but you can add powders and things to it to get it the colour your want. The downsides to it are that if you heat it too much it smells pretty bad and if you leave it out it goes mouldy. I made my prosthetics the night before but I don’t think you’re meant to leave them out for more than a few days. The unused gelatin lasts fine in a ziplock bag so you could probably keep the prosthetics in an airtight container if you needed to.

To cast it you vaseline the mould, pour the melted gelatin it and then put the second part of the mould in (see the previous post for how mould was made and the above photo for it being used). You leave it a bit to set then pull the mould apart. The gelatin is sticky so you have to brush powder over it as you pull it out so it doesn’t stick to itself and get all messed up.

I only used the two pieces of the mould for the larger bit that went over the eye, I did the rest of the bits without using the face part of the mould. For the smaller bits I did each one separately and used a spoon that was heated with boiling water to smooth out the edges before it set (see photos below). Because all the little raised pieces of mine were small they didn’t need to be sculpted on the positive of the face, I could’ve just done them on a flat surface and it probably would’ve been easier. You really only need to do the whole sculpting on a face thing when your prosthetic is larger and needs to fit well around tricky parts – like your nose or eyes. The gelatin is flexible so for small bits it can easily shape to the contours on a face.

Left: Using a heated spoon to smooth the edges. Middle: The cast piece. Right: Test of it on my arm
Left: Using a heated spoon to smooth the edges. Middle: The cast piece. Right: Test of it on my arm
A silicon mould
A pre-made silicon mould, it doesn’t produce what it looks like

We also had a play with using the gelatin in silicon moulds. You can buy them pre-made with various scars, wounds, bite marks etc. Unfortunately I only took a photo of one of them, it was the one I found hilarious (for obvious reasons). But these are the kind of ones I would probably buy and use in the future. Doing this course was really cool and I liked seeing the whole process (from sculpting to making the mould) but I don’t think it’s likely I would ever do it again. Using the gelatin in the small moulds is quick and quite fun, so I would definitely do that for Halloween or something like that.

When you have all your pieces made you can finally stick them on. To do that you can either spread a thin layer of melted gelatin onto your skin to stick them to or use glue. I used glue because the teacher told me to. I think it was because it’s stronger which it probably needed to be so the tubes I attached didn’t pull the gelatin bits away. Not sure what it was called, it was a face friendly glue but it wasn’t the easiest to take off later. We won’t get into the taking off part but unless it needed to be strong I’d probably use the melted gelatin to make it stick if I were to do it again, it comes off really easily. There was a thicker version of the glue that you used to apply around the edges to smooth them away. This took ages because I had heaps of edges on mine.

Application and makeup
Left: The prosthetics being glued on. Right: Starting to paint them and apply makeup

Once it was on you put the makeup over it, there was lots of foundations and things there for us to use. The main part of the eye wound was painted and then some fake blood put over it.

Next post: Part 4: The final thing