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by Samuel Hague September 25, 2018

One thing we are asked about quite frequently is the correct way to apply pre-made prosthetics. A lot of individuals and artists think it is a very daunting and complex task, but in fact it can be quite the opposite! The trick is using the correct product, equipment and most importantly, getting the best, thinnest edge possible.

In this post, I will be visiting each of the primary materials used in pre-made appliances and giving you a quick run down on how to apply. 

You can view all of our pre-made latex, gelatine and silicone prosthetics here.

 

Gelatine Prosthetics

Gelatine prosthetics can be great for those who have a latex allergy or sensitive skin; they are also quite easy to blend out with the right technique and product. General greasepaint can be applied directly onto the appliance without sealing or use of specialist make-up. They are not as widely available as their latex and silicone counterparts, but they are still incredibly effective. The downsides to gelatine prosthetics is they can be slightly heavier than latex and a lot heavier than silicone (but with proper adhesion, it should not be a problem).

To apply the gelatine prosthetics, simply remove from packaging and place the prosthetic on a cleanable surface (such as a stainless steel palette) as you do not want excess adhesive when applying to the edges going onto precious surfaces.

Clean the area of the skin on the desired area of appliance application; use a product that will remove excess oil from the surface of the skin (such as an alcohol based product); this will enhance the bond of the prosthetic to the skin. Apply a prosthetic or silicone adhesive (such as WRATH Pros-Aide® or Kryolan Silicone Adhesive) to the contact side of the prosthetic evenly and in small quantity. Apply the same adhesive to the appropriate area of skin. Allow plenty of time to dry - this is an important step, because any adhesive that is not dry before application will remain uncured, bubble and not bond.

Once the adhesive is dry (fully clear for prosthetic adhesive, dry to the touch for silicone adhesive) apply the prosthetic to the area of skin; press the prosthetic in the centre, keeping the edges up (if possible) to make sure all air is removed, gently pressing down the prosthetic, working outwards. Once fully applied, hold in place for a suitable length of time. (For silicone adhesive, apply high pressure to ensure the bond). Make sure you do not drop the prosthetic, as you will most likely have problems removing or adjusting its position without damaging it; to avoid this, take your time when applying it, the adhesive is not going anywhere!

Now that the prosthetic is applied to the skin, simply use a gelatine blender, such as WRATH Witch Hazel to blend out the edges of the prosthetic. To do this, use a cotton swab soaked in the blender, working out the edges into the skin. A great tip for WRATH Witch Hazel is that it works considerably better when warm as opposed to freezing cold, where you may find it dragging the appliance instead of blending it. Once all the edges are blended out, apply a setting powder over the prosthetic and surrounding skin (such as WRATH Super-Set Powder) to remove excess moisture and tackiness from adhesive. Allow time to set and heavily dust off the area with a powder brush.

You are now ready to apply your desired make-up and blood if required. Greasepaints such as Kryolan Supracolor and Ben Nye FX Creme Colour work fantastic on gelatine prosthetics. Alcohol activated make-up can be used, but you may notice the make-up applies considerably different on the appliance to the skin.

 

Silicone Prosthetics

Silicone is the ideal material for prosthetic appliances. It is light, incredibly flexible and is translucent - all of which add realism to the finished product. The edges of silicone can be blended out easily with acetone, but minimise usage of acetone on skin, as it is incredibly drying (so moisturise after usage). They also have some of the best edges available, as they can be incredibly thin. The downsides to silicone prosthetics are few, but can be a sticking point for some; they are considerably more expensive; double to quadruple the price of latex prosthetics and can almost never been reused due to their incredibly thin edge. 

To apply the silicone prosthetics, simply remove from packaging and place the prosthetic on a cleanable surface such as a stainless steel palette.

Clean the area of the skin on the desired area of appliance application; use a product that will remove excess oil from the surface of the skin (such as an alcohol based product); this will enhance the bond. Apply a silicone adhesive (such as Kryolan Silicone Adhesive) to the contact side of the prosthetic evenly and in small quantity. Apply the same adhesive to the appropriate area of skin. Allow plenty of time to dry (this is important, because any adhesive that is not dry before application will remain uncured, bubble and not bond). Once the adhesive is dry to the touch, apply the prosthetic to the area of skin; press the prosthetic in the centre, keeping the edges up (if possible) to make sure all air is removed, gently pressing down the prosthetic, working outwards. Once fully applied, apply even, high pressure to ensure the silicone adhesive is fully bonded.

Now that the prosthetic is applied to the skin, simply use acetone to blend out the edges of the prosthetic. To do this, use a cotton swab soaked in a small amount of acetone, working out the edges into the skin (Avoid too much contact with the skin, as acetone is very drying to skin). Once all the edges are blended out, apply a setting powder over the prosthetic and surrounding skin (such as WRATH Super-Set Powder) to remove excess moisture and tackiness from adhesive. Allow time to set and heavily dust off the area with a powder brush.

You are now ready to apply your desired make-up and blood if required. Alcohol activated make-up is ideal for application onto silicone prosthetics.

 

Latex Prosthetics

Latex is the widest material available in pre-made prosthetics; they balance quality with price and can be incredibly effective. Also, if you take care when removing them (depending on the type of prosthetic) you can reuse them. The downsides to latex prosthetics is that quite a lot of people have latex allergies, so you may have to opt for the other available materials. They are also more difficult to blend the edges, different products may work to dissolve and blend the edge, but each brand of prosthetic can be different, so may find yourself using liquid latex to fill and blend edges out.

To apply the latex prosthetics, simply remove from packaging and place the prosthetic on a cleanable surface (such as a stainless steel palette) as you do not want excess adhesive when applying to the edges going onto precious surfaces.

Clean the area of the skin on the desired area of appliance application; use a product that will remove excess oil from the surface of the skin (such as an alcohol based product); this will enhance the bond of the prosthetic to the skin. Apply a prosthetic, silicone adhesive or even spirit gum (such as WRATH Pros-Aide®Kryolan Silicone Adhesive or Kryolan Mastix Spirit Gum) to the contact side of the prosthetic evenly and in small quantity. Apply the same adhesive to the appropriate area of skin. Allow plenty of time to dry - this is an important step, because any adhesive that is not dry before application will remain uncured, bubble and not bond. If using spirit gum, allow time to partially dry until the full area is tacky, not fully dry (with spirit gum, you can apply the adhesive to only one surface if desired).

Once the adhesive is dry (fully clear for prosthetic adhesive, dry to the touch for silicone adhesive and tacky for spirit gum) apply the prosthetic to the area of skin; press the prosthetic in the centre, keeping the edges up (if possible) to make sure all air is removed, gently pressing down the prosthetic, working outwards. Once fully applied, hold in place for a suitable length of time. (For silicone adhesive, apply high pressure to ensure the bond and for spirit gum, hold firmly for as long as you can). Make sure you do not drop the prosthetic when using prosthetic adhesive or silicone adhesive, as you will most likely have problems removing or adjusting its position without damaging it; to avoid this, take your time when applying it, the adhesive is not going anywhere!

Now that the prosthetic is applied to the skin, you must now blend the prosthetic into the skin. Blending out latex prosthetics can be trial and error, as it varies between brand what will dissolve and blend out the edges over latex - you can use acetone, isopropyl alcohol or similar by soaking them in a cotton swab and work out the edges. You may sometimes find that this does not work, so you will have to use the old reliable method of liquid latex. Simply fill in the edges around the prosthetic and work our creating a smooth gradual transition from the appliance to the skin. Once this is achieved, to add texture to the area, stipple on more liquid latex onto the prosthetic, filled edge and slightly onto the area of skin.

Once all the edges are blended out, apply a setting powder over the prosthetic and surrounding skin (such as WRATH Super-Set Powder) to remove excess moisture and tackiness from adhesive. Allow time to set and heavily dust off the area with a powder brush.

You are now ready to apply your desired make-up and blood if required. If you are wanting to apply make-up directly to the appliance, you will have to use rubber-mask grease as normal make-up will eat into the latex and discolour the make-up. Alternatively, if you are wanting to use greasepaint or water based make-up you can use a sealer such as WRATH Castor Sealer or Kryolan Sealer to prime the latex for application of make-up.

 

Wrapping things up

So here we are, that it a quick guide on how to apply 3 different types of prosthetics. Each artist has their own proven method on how to apply them, so feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments.

Best of luck on your prosthetic applying journey from everyone at Red Carpet FX.

Samuel Hague
Samuel Hague


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