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After my 'ible regarding using alginate as a mould making material, there were lots of questions about materials and obtaining them. Here's another method that uses only items that are readily available.

Gelatin is a much disregarded product when it comes to the home user.
It is safe to use and has some fantastic properties, it can be cast, or used to make moulds, it is re-usable (you just melt it back down) and best of all it's cheap and easy to get hold of.
It's safe (you can obviously eat it), but it's not just for cooking!

There are plenty of on-line tutorials on gelatin preparation for SFX, but they all call for some exotic ingredients. This 'ible uses only off the shelf stuff, but it works perfectly well.

You can store the prepared gelatin in the freezer for months, so make up a few batches and store them for future use.

In this Instructable we will prepare two types of gelatin mix, and look at their uses.


Step 1: The Basic Mix

We will need the following materials:

Gelatin, you want the crystal or powder type, not the sheets. This is available in the bakery section of your supermarket. Gelatin is an extract of beef so it's a natural product. It is used to 'set' various foods. Most notably Jelly (Jello), but it is found in lots of recipes. I use 'Dr Oetker', only because it's sold in Tescos.

Glycerine is a pure form of liquid syrup. Found at the drug store or pharmacy. Often used to sweeten kids medicines.

Liquid honey, or 'runny' honey. The stuff in a squeezy bottle will do fine.

Warm water, a plastic jug, some plastic cups, some stirring sticks (from the coffee shop), a small electric whisk. some washing up liquid, and access to a microwave oven

Step 2: Making the Basic 'goo'

The amounts are not too critical, but I generally use a small plastic cup as a measure.

1 part honey
1 part water
2 parts gelatin
2 parts glycerine

Fill one small cup with gelatin crystals and set to one side.

Take another small plastic cup and half fill it with warm water, add runny honey to top it off and give it a gentle stir to dissolve the honey. Pour the whole cup of honey into your plastic jug.
refill the plastic cup with glycerine and pour that into the jug as well.

Warm the jug in the microwave, on full power for 20 seconds and give the mixture a really good stir. You want the mix warm to hot but NOT BOILING.

Add the cup of gelatin to the jug and start stirring it, you want all the crystals to dissolve. Give the mix another 20 seconds in the microwave if the crystals won't dissolve. Keep stirring and heating as necessary to dissolve the gelatin and give a uniform colour and consistency. DON'T LET THE MIXTURE BOIL!

Step 3: Cool It All Down

Once the mix has become uniform and a sort of clear goldish brown colour, it's ready for cooling. Stick the jug in the fridge or the freezer and leave it for four hours.

The basic mix is now ready. It will take fairly rough treatment at this stage, so force a finger between the mix and the side of the jug and pull out the 'puck' of rubbery gelatin mix.

The pucks can be placed in a food bag and stored in the freezer until required. I make up a batch of 3 or 4 pucks at a time and store them.



Step 4: Using the Basic Mix

The basic mix has a number of properties. It is strong enough to take a fair bit of undercut, though not as strong as RTV rubber. It can be used to make moulds by simply warming it in the microwave until it becomes liquid, pour it over the pattern, allow it to cool and then remove the pattern.
It will cast almost any cold cure material such as resin or plaster, as long as the pattern can take the heat when pouring.

The basic mix also has a few other properties of interest. It has almost exactly the same mass and elasticity as natural muscle. Therefore it can be used to cast excellent prosthetics, you can use a plaster single mould, such as the ones used in my other 'ibles, or in a two part mould to create face masks and suchlike. These are described later in this 'ible.

Here is a link to the work of Peter Gaal (a true genius) using a latex bald cap and a gelatin 'nose' prosthetic to create an alien girl:

The work of Peter Gaal

Below is how to use it to make a simple mould. I have used the gelatin to cast a bolt to show the undercut it will take. The resin cast has retained the thread pattern.

Remember that resin heats up as it cures. Too big a piece and the heat will start to melt the gelatin.

Step 5: Foaming Gelatin

Now that we have the basic mix we can foam it to use instead of foamed latex. It is used in exactly the same manner as foamed latex, but does not require any sort of special baking or foaming agents.

Place a puck of the prepared gelatin into your plastic jug and gently re-heat it in the microwave until it becomes liquid. DON'T LET IT BOIL!

Give it a stir with a coffee stick to make sure it is nicely mixed. Then add two or three drops of washing up liquid to the jug.

Get your small electric whisk and starting on the lowest speed begin whisking the mixture. Once it has started to take air you can increase the speed. You want masses of tiny uniform bubbles. I whisked mine for around ten minutes until it had taken on about 3 times it's original size.

Put the jug in the freezer for four hours. Then pull out the large plug of foamed gelatin. It is very much softer and more pliable than the standard mix and will make really lightweight masks and prosthetics.

Step 6: To Make the Peter Gaal Nose

To make a two part mould prosthetic like the one in the Peter Gaal video, we need to make some moulds. If you want a mask to fit a specific person then you will need to cast their face (that's for another 'ible). Otherwise generic ones can be made using a glass head or similar.

I'm going to use my mannequin head as the face cast.

Using plasticine, plonk bits onto the face in roughly the areas that you want the final mask. Start smoothing out the bumps and joints with your fingers. The mask in the video is simple and effective to make, but you could make almost anything you want. Be careful in areas around the eyes and mouth because you will have to stick this on later and you don't want glue getting in your victims eyes.

Plasticine is oil based so for my final smoothing I use a bit of WD-40 on my fingers to blend out the edges. Once completed, we need to make a fence to hold back the plaster and give us a working area. I use more plasticine to build the fence up. Now I leave it for a while to have some tea and a smoke and let it all settle down a bit.

Step 7: Pour the Plaster

Once you are ready mix up some Plaster of Paris or casting plaster (I use Crystacal-R). Dental casting plaster is also good. If your head is made of plaster, then you need to add a mould release agent before starting on the negative mould. Use Vaseline or one of the silicone release sprays.

Plaster for casting is available at most art shops, or craft shops, or off the net. I ignore the fancy mixing formulae, two parts powder to one part water (by volume) will generally give good results every time. One cup of water to two of plaster. Start by getting a quick even layer of plaster all over the mask. If you use a brush be careful not to disturb the surface of the plasticine. I like the messy aspect of it all and get stuck in with my hands and fingers.

Once you have a base of plaster down, start slowly adding to the initial coat. If it all gets a bit out of hand, leave it for 20 minutes to set and then mix up some more plaster and add to the dried stuff. Slowly, slowly catchey monkey. You can add plaster bandage or scrim net to strengthen and support the plaster as you go. Eventually you want a mould at least 3/4" or 20mm thick.

Let the plaster dry for an hour. Another cup of tea and another smoke helps here.

After an hour you can de-mould. Start by pulling away the fence. this will leave a ledge around the upper plaster mould. Grip the edge with your fingers and gently ease the upper cast off the head. It doesn't matter if some of the plasticine comes away with the cast or stays stuck to the head.

Carefully clean away and remove ALL TRACES of the plasticine from both the head and the mould. When fitted back together this will leave a void into which will go our gelatin. Congratulations, you have just made a two part mould.

Step 8: Casting the Gelatin

We now have a head (the positive mould), and a mask cast (the negative mould).

The method here is to heat up our prepared gelatin in the microwave until it is liquid (don't let it boil). You can use the raw or the foamed mixes. I would recommend that for this small mask you use the raw stuff, for larger masks and prosthetics try the foamed. Once the gelatin is melted in your jug (remember not to boil it), you are ready to pour.

Turn the negative mould on it's back so that the void is uppermost. Pour in the gelatin mix until the void is full, this will be more than the void needs so remember to do this where any spilled gelatin can be easily cleaned off and reused. I use a board covered in melamine (an old white kitchen cupboard door).

With the negative mould on its back, place the positive mould into the void and press the two together FIRMLY. Be careful since hot gelatin mix is liable to be squeezed out of the mould, you don't want the hot stuff all over your hands!
Force the two parts of the mould together gently but firmly until the positive and negative moulds fit snugly back together. I wrap some insulating tape around them at this stage to hold them in place.

You can either leave this arrangement overnight at room temperature to cure, or place it in the fridge if it will fit. Four hours in the fridge or overnight should ensure that the gelatin has set. Open the moulds gently and peel out your mask. If you are careful the moulds should make more than one mask.

The mask can be used immediately or chucked in the freezer for storage. Once you are bored with the mask, give a rinse to get any make up or paint off and then just melt it back down in the microwave and make summat else with it.

Step 9: Colouring

Gelatin prosthetics will take normal make up, face paint or body paint well. Here I have added some normal liquid foundation and some powder to one side of the nose piece.

If your prosthetics have well feathered edges then you should be able to get a seamless blend. Use a little witchazel to dissolve away the edges.

Gelatin requires either Spirit Gum or Pros-Aide as an attachment glue.

<p>Hello guys! I just wanted to share how successful was my trial of this recipe, although when I put it in the microwave it got weird so I just added boiling water and stir it, and at the end I got the texture of the photographs in the post and the result is quite good! Heavier than I thought but the texture and transparency are gorgeous! </p>
<p>I want to give this a try and it will be my first time making a prosthetic of any kind. I have been told that gelatin prosthetics don't hold up well because once they are applied they are easily melted by body heat and so cannot be worn for very long. Does this recipe resolve that issue? I want to be able to wear my prosthetic for hours without any melting issues.</p>
Hi I was wondering if I could use this to make molds for hot sugar candies. I'm worried about it melting when I pour the hot sugar in. Any info would be great!
This stuff is basically jello. I'm not 100% sure on the numbers but I'm pretty sure molten sugar has a MUCH higher temp than the melting point of gelatine. <br><br>Unrelated note, molten sugar is scary flameable... You never quite forget lighting a spoon on fire in chemistry class. :P
<p>can you do this without a microwave</p>
can I use corn syrup rather than golden syrup? :)
<p>Thank you so much for posting the specific recipe. I was so energetic to try it and then realized I did not have glycerin. So, I used 1 TBSP each warm Water &amp; Honey and 2 TBS each dark corn syrup &amp; gelatin. I mixed the water, honey and corn syrup, stirred like crazy until they were all mixed well. Added gelatin and mirowaved for 10 seconds. Stirred again until gelatin was dissolved. Let sit overnight. Took a small pieced today and 10 seconds in microwave and stirred until all melted and OMG.... I am so excited it worked like a charm. Thank you so much!!! I have two uses for this. One is Halloween makeup tomorrow night and the second is to make molds for my cake decorating (just an amature but love to experiment). Have fun with this everyone. Its easy and looks great!!!! </p>
<p>It works if you use corn syrup?</p>
Maybe this is a dumb question...if you can remelt it down does it begin to melt when worn on the face for extended time and sweating?
<p>hello can i use this for make figures of sugar paste??? it is safe with foods?</p>
<p>I see no one has answered this, so I will, even though it's been awhile. </p><p>This mixture would be food safe, since there is nothing in it that you can't eat. If you are making cakes professionally though, to be sold to customers, I would double check that to be safe. </p><p>I'm not sure if you mean you want to use this to make moulds to cast sugar paste figures, or for the figures themselves, but try looking up gelatine icing. It is a form of sugar paste that is made with gelatin that is super hard when it dries and lasts forever. Not good for figures you want to be edible, because it's too hard, but great if you want to create sugar art that can be saved as a keepsake. </p>
<p>I was actually kind of curious about this myself. I purchased my glycerine from a drug store, and the instructions on the back say to contact the CDC if it gets ingested. When I look it up online, I see that glycerine is sold as a baking material to use in icing, so it clearly must not be toxic...Maybe there are different types of glycerine made from different byproducts?</p>
I have tried this three times. Using glycerin and corn flour and different ratios. I can't get it to work, the consistency is too thin. Someone help me!!!
<p>I'm guessing my response is too late to be of any help, but is it too thin when it dries, or too thin before it's set? It's supposed to be thin when warm, but I would assume you're probably using too much water/honey or too little gelatin. The gelatin is ultimately what thickens the mixture up and gets it to set.<br>(I tried it with glycerine, btw, not corn syrup. I didn't have any problems.)</p>
*corn syrup
<p>I followed your instructible, and I have to hand it to you--I'm pretty impressed! While I didn't have the time to actually use this prosthetic for Halloween, I still had fun peeling it out of the mold and am hoping it will hold up so I can reuse it next year. </p><p>The best part about your recipe is that it's SUPER resilient. I was really scared that it would be easy to squish since it was made out of gelatin. I was wrong. It took some serious elbow grease just to get through it with a sharp knife. Also, it picked up even the smallest details with ease. I only lost a couple of stitches when I pulled it out. Even with some pretty aggressive tugging on the mask to get it to release, it still came out in one piece!</p><p>I think the biggest drawback was the glycerin. First off, CVS was the only pharmacy I could find that carried it, and second, it was $7/bottle. I had to use 3 bottles to make one mask, making my prosthetic cost $21 in glycerine alone but this particular mask is also pretty thick and required a lot of material. If you plan ahead and shop online you can get it for a lot cheaper, though. Lesson learned.</p><p>Took a pic of my prosthetic straight out of the mold. It still needs a fair amount of work at this point, but I was so tickled pink by this fun project that I had to share. Since it was so thick, I lightened it up a little bit with packing peanuts. I haven't had a chance to test out whether or not adhesives can withstand a prosthetic this heavy, but I'll post a follow up if I ever get around to it.</p>
<p>I've used this recipe without the honey and it worked out very well.</p>
<p>thank you for answering my question,lol</p>
<p>Hi! Fantastic tutorial thank you! I would like to know if it's necessary to freeze/cool the gelatine before pouring into your mould or if you can make it and pour straight away? And also if you can go straight in and make the foamed gelatin, without having to set regular gelatin and melt it again before adding the washing up liquid and whisking it ? Hope that makes sense! I'm just looking for ways to reduce the time, but I'm anxious to skip a step in case it's a vital part of the process! Thanks! </p>
<p>When I mixed everything together, it took about 5-7 minutes from the time I started to the time I poured the mold. It was a really warm liquid when I poured it. The time that takes longest is the time to cure the mold. I was able to reheat it to a liquid state and pour it again with no problems. </p>
<p>how long did the mold to harden, can i apply it directly to the skin assuming it's it already cooled down a bit</p>
<p>and can it stand without honey?</p>
<p>can i use it right after mixing? or do ia have to let it sit for a spicific amount of time? (noob)</p>
<p>Thank you so much for posting the specific recipe. I was so energetic to try it and then realized I did not have glycerin. So, I used 1 TBSP each warm Water &amp; Honey and 2 TBS each dark corn syrup &amp; gelatin. I mixed the water, honey and corn syrup, stirred like crazy until they were all mixed well. Added gelatin and mirowaved for 10 seconds. Stirred again until gelatin was dissolved. Let sit overnight. Took a small pieced today and 10 seconds in microwave and stirred until all melted and OMG.... I am so excited it worked like a charm. Thank you so much!!! I have two uses for this. One is Halloween makeup tomorrow night and the second is to make molds for my cake decorating (just an amature but love to experiment). Have fun with this everyone. Its easy and looks great!!!! </p>
<p>Thank you so much for posting the specific recipe. I was so energetic to try it and then realized I did not have glycerin. So, I used 1 TBSP each warm Water &amp; Honey and 2 TBS each dark corn syrup &amp; gelatin. I mixed the water, honey and corn syrup, stirred like crazy until they were all mixed well. Added gelatin and mirowaved for 10 seconds. Stirred again until gelatin was dissolved. Let sit overnight. Took a small pieced today and 10 seconds in microwave and stirred until all melted and OMG.... I am so excited it worked like a charm. Thank you so much!!! I have two uses for this. One is Halloween makeup tomorrow night and the second is to make molds for my cake decorating (just an amature but love to experiment). Have fun with this everyone. Its easy and looks great!!!! </p>
<p>i have a stupid question. what are the measurements for the glycerine and gelatin. a friend of mine saw your tut and he has to have the exact measurements. he doesn't like to wing something if he doesn't have to. thanks for reading have a good day/night</p>
<p>It's pretty self explanatory. Depending on how much you want to make, 1 part could equal 1 tablespoon. That would mean the recipe would be: 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of water, 2 tablespoons of gelatin and 2 tablespoons of glycerine. If you want to make a bigger batch it would be 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup gelatin and 1 cup glycerine. Easy as can be really! :-)</p>
<p>Great write-up! I altered this recipe to fit my needs. I wanted to cast a heart in a pre-made mold I had for a Halloween prop. So, I bought unflavored gelatin as a test which had the typical 4 packs per little box. I used two packets mixed with 1 1/2 cups warm water, some lite corn syrup, strawberry syrup for color, a dash of milk to prevent it from looking opaque or clear, two drops of red food coloring and one drop of blue food coloring. Mixed this all together, heated it up really warm and then poured into my mold. It is currently in my fridge and I will follow up later with pictures and the results if successful. </p><p>~ DarkOpz</p><p>http://facebook.com/djdarkopz</p>
<p>So to follow up, two .25oz packets was not to adequate to make a solid prop. It had separated during the cooling process leaving the bottom 2/3 of it fragile like normal jello. I had also forgot to add mold release so some had stuck to the mold. So, I heated it all up again and added two more packets and cooled again. However this time, after coating it in Stoner mold release, and cooling for a few hours, I removed it from the mold and it was just as I had hoped. Solid like RTV and easily handled. The 4 packet box I used was only $1 so this was very cost effective. Later I will follow up with a painted version of this heart I cast in a plastic mold purchased from Party City. I also have a brain mold and a hand mold that I will also be trying out. </p>
<p>Is it possible to clarify &amp; color the gelatin? Like, instead of honey, could simple syrup be used to keep it colorless, and food coloring to color it?</p>
<p>I was wondering if there is any substitute for honey, since honey is very expensive. I have never made this, but I think that simple syrup should work perfectly, since all you really need is some kind of sugar. But you would have to make it a very thick syrup I think, to get the right consistency. White corn syrup would be another option. </p>
<p>I tried doing this using a lot of videos on Youtube, and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. My mixture won't solidify enough. My mix is pretty gritty but its as good as I could get it. I didn't use honey, but what I'm using is GreatValue flavored gelatin with Humco glycerin (skin care product? I think) its driving me crazy I really want this to work. I tried more gelatin than glycerin but that didn't solve it. I want to use this to make molds for small items like rings and coins. Any help here?</p>
<p>I haven't made this, but my guess would be that the flavoured gelatin might be the problem. Use plain gelatine. Also, make sure the glycerine you are using is just straight 100% glycerine, no other additives.....</p><p>I just realized one of the other comments contained an answer for you- don't skip the honey. </p>
<p>Hi. May i ask what function the honey and they glycerine fulfil please?</p>
<p>Hey! This isn't my instructable but I've used this recipe before (substituting the glycerin for corn syrup, though). They both help to thicken the mixture and make it waaaaay stronger. If you just use water and gelatin (4:3 ratio) you will get a good prosthetic but not great quality and it will tear and fall apart fairily easily.</p>
<p>Hey Chloe. Thanks very much for the reply. I always like to know why I am doing what I am doing! Due to honey being rather expensive, would one be able to substitute it entirely with glycerine? I would imagine that the colour comes from the honey too but that can easily be replicated.</p>
<p>I'm thinking that it would work. I haven't tried it quite yet but I will eventually. If you do, you might want to use slightly less water, from my experience honey is less runny than glycerine or my personal preference of corn syrup.</p>
Hi! I mix 300ml gelatin, 200ml glycerine and 100ml water. Haven't had any problems with it at all!
Sorry it's 300ml glycerine and 200ml gelatin
<p>Glycerine is not a replacement for honey and it's not even close. Honey is mostly a sugar mixture and getting closer to honey would be molasses and corn syrup which are also sugar mixtures.</p><p>ColtD...don't skip the honey. If you can't get honey, you still need a sugar mixture..at least get some corn syrup. You could probably make something useful with table sugar, but you'd have to experiment. Glycerine is not a replacement for sugar syrups like honey or corn syrup.</p>
<p>Next time I get the chance I am definitely going to experiment a bit. I'm not sure but I do think its might be possible to just to use glycerine (I know it's possible to just use corn syrup, water, and gelatin). I love findign out what wroks and whta doesn't!</p>
<p>Everyone here is smarter than me. You said &quot;fill one small cup&quot; and show a picture of a 2- cup vessel with some crystals in the bottom. Please tell me what size the &quot;small&quot; vessel should be. Nothing about your ratios make sense so far. What about starting with an envelope of Knox gelatine? Thanks. Bill</p>
<p>I see no one has responded to this question, and I only saw it just now. When we use a recipe stating &quot;parts&quot; instead of cups or grams, or whatever you usually use, we mean that we use ONE part of any measurement. If you have a small shot glass, you use ONE shot glass as one part, TWO shot glasses as two parts. Then if you have a huge ten cup pitcher, you use ONE pitcher as one part, TWO pitchers as two parts, this way, no matter how much you need to mix, you always have the right ratio. Does this help? I think the picture was just a random cup, and his instructions are more clear than the picture. Ta! :)</p>
<p><em><strong>You can use witch hazel to blend the edges after applying and you can add make up in your skin tone or flocking to add colors as mixing. Instead of honey you can also add sugar free syrup containing Sorbitol to thicken.</strong></em></p>
<p>Using your technique, I created a gelatin prosthetic forehead for my Adjutant Cosplay (https://www.instructables.com/id/Adjutant-Cosplay-Starcraft-2/)</p><p>. It worked really well and I got amazing reactions to my costume! Thank you</p>
<p>Can you use Vegetable Glycerine for this?</p>
<p>hey, first of all thanks to providing such a simple and cheap method! </p><p>I've got one question - is it necessary to use a microwave? or can i also heat it up in a pot on the stove? </p>
<p>My questions are:</p><p>1. I am trying to make this &quot;jelly&quot; as a jelly in a mould for the show Oliver.. how long will it last and any hints on how much to use?</p><p>2.Does it need to be refrigerated after each show?</p><p>BTW I added cochineal colouring to the mix and it looks great :)</p>
@ rmagnificent: <br> <br>Not sure if marshon will be responding. If you don't mind, I may be able to help. First off, I want to tell you that I am no expert. I've just been learning as I go. So you may want to confirm any statement I give if it doesn't sound right to you. 1. Honey. I believe he uses the honey because it gives the gelatin a translucent appearance and color that more closely resembles natural skin. 2. I've tried using liquid latex on my masks in the past and I've had problems around my mouth, eyes, and neck, where the most movement occurs. I now use Pro's-Aide or medical adhesive. It works great, but that stuff REALLY sticks to your skin. If you use it, definitely get the remover that goes along with the particular adhesive you're using. Also, these adhesives don't allow much time (if any) to adjust after you apply the prosthetic. When you stick it, it's there. I prefer Pro's-Aide cause I just apply it and pretty much forget it for the rest of the night. Hope this helps.

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Bio: Untidy, disorganised and a bit silly. I am a photographer, artist, body artist, sculptor, prosthetic maker, model engineer, and general idiot who likes making stuff ... More »
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