Using gelatin for moulds and prosthetics


Step 5: Foaming gelatin

Picture of 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.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
venefica2 years ago
Hi Marshon!

I tried both stuff and had excellent results with the basic mix, but I can't make thin edges with the foamed stuff even after having warmed the molds up, which helped a lot with the basic mixture. Have any clue for me?
papercut7113 years ago
hi there again!
so i did the experiment and everything came out wonderful. thank you again for all your advice. i just had another question for you. inorder to make the gelatine to look clear, can i replace the honey with corn syrup?
marshon (author)  papercut7113 years ago
I think that should work OK, basically any sugar base will do it. I think it may yellow a bit anyway, even if you use Sorbitol (which is a clear liquid).
papercut7113 years ago
hi there marshon!
i have to say, your instructible has made me much more closer to my dreams, as i can now move on from regular character make-up to homemade prosthetics at no cost and with ease. i feel this technique is gonna provide me with enough practice and feel to what it is to produce prosthetics for the special effects make up industry. thank you very very very very much, i really appreciate your time and help. thank you!

i just had a few questions i felt i needed to have answered before i begin this wonderful project:

1)for this specific step, how many drops of washing liquid would i have to use for each part. does it depend on the amount of the part your using? what do you recommend for me?

2) i was on your youtube channel, and i was fascinated with the work you have done like the alien girl and the zombie you created. as far as the zombie video.

did you use the foaming tenchnique with this same gelatin your showing us how to make in this instructible?

3) is the quality of the foam the same quality as foam latex? is it the same softness?

4) wether it being raw gelatine or foam gelatin, what would happen if the actor sweats after a while of having the appliance adhered onto his face? what would happen if water get on the appliance? would it dissolve?
marshon (author)  papercut7113 years ago
I will try to answer as best I can, so here goes.

1. You only need to use 2 or 3 drops of washing liquid or bubble bath would do it as well. It depends more on the strength of the detergent than the amount of mixture.

2. These are not my videos, they are Jade FX's and specifically the work of Peter Gaal. The zombie face is made of foamed latex, not Gelatin. Only the nose piece in the Alien Girl shoot is Gelatin.

If I were to make the zombie face I would use a different technique and hand build it with upholstery foam, not sculpt and cast.

3. The foamed Gelatin is very similar in softness to foamed latex, but it is a little heavier. It does not last as long as foamed latex either. I use it because it is simpler to get a reasonable result.

4. This part is a little bit tricky to answer. In the UK the ambient temperature is generally below 60 degrees, and I have not had any real problems with heat and or sweat. If you use pros-aide or spirit gum to glue the appliance on.
Most of my prosthetics would last a day of shooting.

However, if you need a much stronger and more robust mixture use the following formula:

1 part gelatin powder (300 bloom)
1 part glycerine
1 part sorbitol (instead of the honey/water mix)
2 or 3 drops of detergent

This mix will stand up to more abuse than the basic domestic mix.

You can always just try a test piece and see what happens?
Thanx a million!!!! your answers have really helped me clear my doubts. just one more thing

1)so im guessing it will melt/dissolve or get tacky if it comes in contact with water or sweat correct?

2)would you happen to know if the material of the gelatine you are showing us how to make is the exact same quality as the gelatine being used in the video of peter gal (alien girl)? did they use the same recipe? or is he using the alternative that uses gelatine powder an sorbitol?

3)so lets say will be making a large amount of your gelatine recipe. would i just add only two-three drops to the whole mixture, or would i just measure it by eye?

thanks again for your wonderful help. i really appreciate it ALOT!!!!... thank you!!
marshon (author)  papercut7113 years ago
1. As I said I have never had a problem with sweat or water and have washed the make up off them before and they didn't melt. Heat is much more of an issue than water.

2. I have no idea what formula he used. I would think that he's used 300 bloom and sorbitol, but experimentation is the best bet.

3. By eye, the only problem is if you go completely overboard with the detergent which might in hibit the curing. I'd experiment the ingredients are very cheap.
i just got back from the supermarket and bought my ingredients ill be needing for my recipe. i found the glycerine but im not quite sure if its the one i can use. the bottle reads " glycerin usp " and below that it reads " skin protectant". can i use that one? the lady at the pharmacy told me that glycerine is used for many things. so im guessing im able to use it for this. what do you recommend?
marshon (author)  papercut7113 years ago
I have absolutely no idea. Try it and see.