October 21, 2009 Hallopino

How to Apply a Prosthetic

Every year I help out with a costume shop and I answer a lot of questions about how to apply the make up. And there are some things that might seem intimidating or that people don’t know that I try to answer and I thought I would share of some of what I know here.

Sadly I can’t say this is the most complete how-to, but hopefully it will give some basics on how to attach a latex prosthetic. In the future I’ll be giving more information on how to blend in the items.

Above are some of the materials that are required to apply a prosthetic piece. They include the prosthetic (in this case a 3-D Burn from Woochie), Spirit Gum, Liquid Latex, and various make up to blend it in with.

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The first step isn’t all that exciting but it’s an important one that people constantly step. Take the application you are looking to put on and place it on the face (with out adhesive) to see where it touches the face.

What you’ll learn from doing this is a prview of how it will look later on, and if there are going to be any problem areas. For example the burn at the top of the prosthetic actually lands in her hair and wouldn’t be able to be properly attached. So I have to cut that out with a pair of scissors in order to make that fit. Also it felt too close to her eye, so I cut a larger opening there as well to make it more comfortable.

Next we need to apply the adhesive. In this case we are using Spirit Gum. There are other options out there, but most of the time all you will need is Spirit Gum. There is often a brush inside the cap, and just simply spread it across the back of the entire area. You can also apply the adhesive directly to the skin instead. If I’m applying something I know will need to stay on for a long period of time I’ll typically apply it to both the skin and prosthetic.

Then we have an other important step that is not well known, but will help your prosthetics last much longer. Simpley take your finger (or the other end of a brush) and tap the Spirit Gum, until it is thick and tacky. This works Oxygen into the adhesive and allows it to stick better. You’ll see the adhesive start to stick and strands come off when it is ready.

Next place the prosthetic on to the skin like you did before and press it against the skin. With smaller pieces you can just press them on. With larger ones will require starting in the middle (typically around the eyes/forehead) and working your way out adding adhesive as you go.

Some of the edges will naturally look smooth, some won’t. On the rougher adges you can add liquid latex to smooth it out. Liquid Latex is like a liquid skin. You can put some onto a make up sponge and spread it in the rougher edges. It will take a little while to dry depending on how much is applied.

At that point the prosthetic should be secured on the skin and ready to have make up applied to it so it can blend in to the skin and look like it is a part of you. (Note: the discoloered area on the other side of the face is unrelated to this demo and will be featured in an other how-to)

When using make up to blend in the prosthetic you have a lot of options. When it is something like a puncture wound, or a fesh wound you can assume there would be a lot of blood and spreading blood over the area will easily blend in the prosthetic. Using cream make up for noses and ears and non-blood prosthetics is more difficult, but can result in some great effects like the image below. I will feature those techniques in the future.

I hope this was informative, and there will be more coming down the pipe. If you have any questions or there is anything you would like to see, leave me a comment below.

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