Introduction: A VERY Easy to Do VERY Convincing Scar!

Picture of A VERY Easy to Do VERY Convincing Scar!

Sadly here in Belgium there is little to no enforcement of Halloween. Say all you want about it becoming a marketing product; I like what the industry has carved the day into. Wish there were more marks of it felt around here.

Thus I thought I would make an instructable (my first) after reading of the Halloween competition:
A VERY convincing scar!

The instructable is long because I tried to present in detail. But the process itself is rather simple and short. Good luck!

WARNING 1: Keeping it on too long can have simiallar effect to wearing tight socks for a long time would have around your ankles. This can be extremely disturbing.
WARNING 2: folding too much skin is sure to increase the effects mentioned in warning #1. Try to make a ratio of size and time& the more you need to keep it on; the better you keep the amount low.
WARNING 3: In this instructable you are advised to use glue directly onto your skin. As DIY'ers, we possibly already have simply too much experience with glue on our skin. But none the less you may want to keep in mind that this glue is to remaing for some time. Your skin won't breath it's usual amount and will be in constant contact. Do NOT choose any chemical that your body would allergically react to. Please USE YOUR COMMON SENSE.

Step 1: Blah Blah Stuff...

Let's begin with a little history (Blah blah stuff... you can skip it):

My childhood was a little unfortunate, resulting with a great number of stitches here and there (Hence had enough time to examine stitches thoroughly).
Around my first years of junior high I had come up with a way to make realistic scars. Due to my background in what they are suppose to look like. I had in fact even managed to skip an exam because my hand was stitched!
Although this was a method I have completely figured out on my own; I am more than sure that a lot of people must have done something similar since it is actually such a simple method.

For some additional information; I was a few years younger than the rest of the class... so it should be acceptable that I was more what childish at the time.

Step 2: What You Will Need&

Picture of What You Will Need&

Most importantly you are going to need
Some free time (it took me about 30-45 minutes to do this WITH taking the photos with one hand and WITH typing all the below. I recall making these in less than 5 minutes),
sharp scissors,

The basic ingredient could come down to only the above But to have the glue stick longer and better;
Ethyl alcohol would help.
Additionally you may want to have some
painting material to your choice.
and a set of brushes for afterwards...

To remove the scar:
Acetone works best (NOT on the picture... sorry hadn't crossed my mind until I was finished with the instructable).

Some of you may want to have a set of
or helper hands as well.

You can pretty well manage without the additional materials stated... it still looks amazing.

Edit: Super glue is a 'healthy' choice it seems... thanks for the heads up Kiteman!
Only thing I could say through experience is that it is less flexible and can layer easily from reapplying. But did have a natural 'crust' feel.

Step 3: Now First Let’s Make the Knots…

Picture of Now First Let’s Make the Knots…

For those that may not have had a stitching before and haven't had the honor(?) of watching the first Rambo movie; It is basically trying to get the two edges together and sewing them.

And unlike the childish image I had from cartoons and so on; the stitches were not of one consistent thread; but more of short pieces that were cut and tied together after each stitch was performed.
So; we want to duplicate the same thing for a convincing result.

Now take a piece of string (here you can go very dramatic and make monstrous stitches ; but I am going to go for a thin (burnt umber/dark brown) thread that pretty much resembles the medical ones used in hospitals);

fold it in two

And start tying knots in them.

Leave about half a centimeter (that would about a fifth of an inch) gap between them. You may want to make them longer as they can always be made smaller later.

When done:

At a little bit less than a quarter cm (tenth of an inch) cut them.

Step 4: And Spread Their Legs :)

Picture of And Spread Their Legs :)

Make as many of these as you want...

The more the merrier as it may not be as easy to make later if you are going to add a stitch to your hand as I am going to do in this instructable.

For me I think 7 or 8 should be more than enough but making extras won't hurt.

Step 5: Victom Subject and "sterilisation'

Picture of Victom Subject and "sterilisation'

Obviously you have to decide where to apply this to!

It may be a wise idea to free your skin from any oily surface. For most cases I use something in the lines of ethyl alcohol. It works best to my experience. But maybe just washing with soap would suffice. IMPORTANT edit: I can not believe I forgot to add... this thing WILL pull at hair in the region even if you use acetone. A word of caution to watch out for hair growth on where you apply it.

Since I am going to be doing this only for the photographs; I am going on with it as it is (thus not the best results; sorry. But that should give you an idea of how bad scars can look like to have reference of! Okay, okay... just too lazy).

Oh and btw:
I have decided to use my hand for this time.

Step 6: And the Cut!

Picture of And the Cut!

Here is the really creative part:

You have to get a sort of tacky but quality glue that you are not allergic to (When I was a child I had always used superglue of some cheaper sort. It worked perfectly, but I have my doubts on its good nature to your skin to be wearing in great amount for a long time).

For this purpose I am using weak contact glue that was just simply lying around. If I was to be doing it really correctly I would use an adhesive that you would find in the costume shops or at beauty stores for fake eyelashes (not those for a fake nails... those are also super glue).

Decide where you want the scar to be. And apply the adhesive along it (You may want to first darken the area with make up for your scar)

Once you are done with the gluing part: just take two sides of it and stick/pinch/crease them together.

Now try not to be TOO picky on what it is going to look like. Through experience I have to say that usually wounds tend to be a little random. But for forensically corrected results you may want to pay attention to the langer lines for small scars because the skin tends to pull to particular directions.

Here I have folded my skin thoroughly to each end making sure that it holds each other securely. This may require some practice at first but it is not really too difficult a task to master.

You may always choose to lengthen the scar by adding more glue. I am going to leave mine such and add a little more glue to the ends to better cap it.

An important thing to keep in mind is to not make the fold with too much skin folded underneath it. As a result it will be an area that shall not get as much blood and can cause problems. Also the more skin it has to hold back the more strain the glue has. Thus it may be for the best of interest to make light stitches until you get the hang of it.

Step 7: Better Stitch It Up Now!

Picture of Better Stitch It Up Now!


Let's take the little pieces of string and glue them along the wound.

Now here there are a few things to pay attention to:

_ Firstly you don't want to over-glue it, because the amount of glue showing would be glossy and take from the convincing effect (and they do have bad combination with the paint/make-up).

_ You want to try to think of the positioning tactically. Not one doctor has had a worry about the strings looking aesthetic that has tailored my skin... on the contrary they had all done a pretty rough job for the strings itself; but they did however pay attention to where a thread was needed in order to hold it together.

_ Last of all try to pay special attention to not allow the thread tips to split at the ends (they are supposed to be IN your skin remember). I used to apply glue around the tips after or just before I cut them to prevent this from happening.

Step 8: Lets Wrap This Up;

Picture of Lets Wrap This Up;

Now to finish it off... lets cut the tips of the threads.

At this step you are going to be very grateful if you supplied sharp scissors. Since bad ones will make this step a big mess.
NEEDLESS to say: sharp things can do a boo-boo beyond reconstruct-ability; so BE CAREFUL WITH IT!
(or you may need REAL'istic' stitches)

Well that just about sums it up!
Fast and easy convincing stitch that cost just about nothing , and didn't take any time at all!
(Sadly I've spent more time trying to figure out how to submit an instructable than preparing it :( ... maybe next time I'll stick to a video)

Taking the result a little further from here on in the next steps with paint (as an example)

Step 9: Take It a Few Steps Further Now!

Picture of Take It a Few Steps Further Now!

Add bandages, blood and what not. It's your wound: dress it however you wish to.

For instructasamplable sake I am going to apply a little paint postwork
(Using my airbrush acrylics for this one)

To add some realisticity (is that a word?); don't forget to add marks of the blood being smeared off, or also some yellowness from chemicals used to prevent infections... or maybe a little bit of washed off blue to make it more pale around the area

I am reminding you that it was all done very crudely... the only reason it looks good here is because of the steps taken. The fold of skin is a real fold of skin and the strings knotted on top are real strings knotted on top.
I am SURE you can get much cooler results with a little bit of creativity.

Step 10: As Dramatic As This Ones Going to Get...

Picture of As Dramatic As This Ones Going to Get...

Now a little more work on mine... and Ta-daah!!

Well to be honest; I think I liked it in the last step before I added the last coats of paint. But oh well.. can always take it off and do it again.

The last steps were actually more to give you an inspiration/idea. The only real reason that this looks any good is the materials being realistic.
You can take this a good step further...
You can introduce fake blood under the stitch...
You can paint it more...
You can use staples or thicker threads mine or what not (pun unintended)...
You can mix the glue with paint to make it look more like a crust.

There are a LOT of options you can go for from here.

Step 11: Everything Has to Come to an End.

Picture of Everything Has to Come to an End.

Well even real stitches have to come off at some time!

I was sort of disappointed when real stitches were taken off when I was a child. I was so looking forward to walking around without the bandages and a Frankenstein look (yes I was an interesting case).

You can just pull it apart if you wish to. I doubt you can do too much damage.
But if you have any doubts; you would be better off using acetone (nail polish remover) as it tends to dissolve just about any glue you would possibly be using.

Here I just ripped it off:

EDIT (Acetone usage):
Being correctly warned through SueUpton that I should not advise people to use Acetone as an agent to remove the glue... I've researched and found countless reliable/serious sites stating acetone for removal of glue. But the BIG finds were those of glue brands such as superglue, gorilla glue and miracle glue advising to use acetone. And commercially available removers tend  to have products with up to 86-90 percent acetone in it.
I have also found out that medically acetone is used for pain treatments and orthopedic castings. Thus I can not reason to rule out the advise.

So was she wrong? Absolutely not!
Acetone can be very toxic. And I would appreciate that in her line of business (as I get it she is professional make-up artist) the constant usage of the product would present serious damage.

Thus as much as I can not rule it out I would feel it correct to state that you SHOULD use it with caution.
There are apparently many alternatives including non-acetone nail polish removers found in pharmacies.

Thank you SueUpton for the heads-up here.

Step 12: All Gone!!

Picture of All Gone!!

Isn't it cool? No trace!!

Well this is because I did not have it on for too long... Half an hour at the max. When you hold it on too long you get marks you would get on your leg from tight socks. And just like the elastics of tight socks, this will also "tell" you when it is getting to be too much.

When you use a considerable amount of skin; this can be about one or more hours.. truly depends on where you put it. Like on my forearm I had it on for half a day with a lot of skin. If you don't pinch too much between, then you can keep it on for a good amount of time. I would none the less advise you take it off at the moment you are done with the party
For those that want to use this to skip an exam or doing your homework: You can take it off after showing it to your teacher and then dressing it up with bandages for a week.

A last little IDEA addition: I used to make blood capsules and fold my skin over them. Then I would bust the wound "open" (read: force the glue to let go) making the blood rush out.
Unfortunately its results with my experiments were everything but dramatic... though once a while it did look convincing (keep in mind the bit I told you about folding too much skin. The capsules are the same thing. They should be kept small and thin and not glued for a long time)

Happy Halloween!


Ps: Don't forget to comment, rate, vote and "what not" to make me feel loved and cherished =)
(Well scratch out the "what-not" bit... that CAN come to some pretty nasty things)


wins5e (author)2010-10-31

thank you! i had no costume this year, but you gave me the best idea. and even though they don't sell super glue where i live in, and just used elmers glue? lol, it was way better than no costume. thank you so much!! :)

klingonprins (author)2009-06-05

what i do to get out of tests and stuff is get a razor, and run it over the place you want cut lightly, so that there is very little blood. wait for a night, and the next morning there will be a scab, but no real cut underneath. then proceed normally. (ps you could just push hard on the blade and really get stitches, i did that once)


no, not emo.  i got into a fight and i did it the next day and the other guy got into teenage jail for armed assult

so u basically cut yourself to make it look like the dude that attacked you hit you with a knife or something?

Sounds like skulduggery...but this thread isn't the place... but dang! Not cool. The arrogance of youth, right? Know better & grown up now, right? Wrong, but still funny! ??

kaninijehna (author)2016-05-17

Nice post,really good idea of using socks. I started following the above steps before i use to get many scars but i always follow these tips you can also follow for any kind of skin problems.

sasquatch1996 (author)2014-10-18

yeah, dont use contact cement, very bad idea, but ronsonal lighter fluid works in a pinch as a remover

fiftikhar (author)2013-10-29

Great one (y)

Thisishersong (author)2012-09-30

As a "pro makeup person" we do actually use acetone to create this effect, or at least similar ones. There are many scarring compounds and adhesives out there and for a slit he has the right idea, but I would use a medical adhesive, silicone based or other, but not latex. The latex will not hold as the purpose of it is that it is flexible and will stretch.

Rigid Collodian will create an incredible scar like this if you paint on multiple layers of the thinnest line. It has acetone in it so yes, mua's do use acetone. Best of all no folding of e skin, it shrinks the skin you apply it too backward, as it contracts as it dries. More layers equals more pulling and a deeper cut. It is literally designed for this effect.

kakmer (author)Thisishersong2013-09-19

I loves my rigid collodion!! Most effective looking scars ever - even for people who knew me already.

des3cwt (author)2013-01-24

I have found that using liquid latex is one of the best things I've used for something like this. Though you'd have to be careful because it may cause allergic reactions.

BlackDidThis (author)2008-10-20

Hmmm thats very important information about acetone.

Mind I look into that first and edit accordingly?
Please do not get offended; I truly do not wish to insult your profession nor your knowledge.
It's that I would like to get some background on it first.

As for the latex... well latex adhesives (a version of contact glues) tend to work well. But with the latex I have used to date it held the two ends very poorly. Might be that it lacks quality. But in the end I don't advise latex for this in particular.
On the other hand I have had wonderful results in creating wrinkles with it.

I guess Pro-aide should be something I should look for at some time. Is it something found commonly? Or does it require postal ordering and etc?

Thank you very much for the input Sue.
It is much appreciated


I have now edited this step in accordance to my very short research with hopes that people will choose wisely on what to do in accordance to the amounts and circumstances. Thank you again

Lextone (author)BlackDidThis2008-10-21

I don't mean to rock the boat here, but you can use acetone on your skin. Not the industrial strength stuff you get in the hardware store. Go get a bottle of Nail Polish Remover. It has acetone as its number one ingredient which makes removing glues, paint and spirit gum from ones skin a snap. Some of them even have skin softening ingredients that leave your skin soft and smooth.You can get acetone free stuff too if you are sensitive. It just takes a bit more of it for longer.


Thisishersong (author)Lextone2012-09-30

Agreed. I know this is an old post but I don't want anyone reading it and being terrified if they ever get sfx makeup done and smell acetone. That person isn't trying to kill you! Lol it is perfectly fine! Kryolan, one of e leading theatrical makeup brands, sells acetone for goodness sakes, as well as Gradtobian I think? Anyway, it is used to blend bald cap edges, or you can thin your latex if it isn't blending into the skin around the edges of an appliance. Im not trying to be mean but I'm baffled a pro makeup artist said that... It is like saying you are a master chef who has never used butter.

xFr3akSh0W (author)2010-06-15

Heey , I was wondering if you could also use this 'technique' among legs , collarbones and face? And if no, is there another , just as simple way ? xxx Great Tutorial! Thank you a lot!

BlackDidThis (author)xFr3akSh0W2012-09-02

I am so sorry for such a belated reply...
But for future reference you may want to take note that the legs are not the best candidate especially if you are of athletic physical state. As the skin there tends to really move about; the scars would tend to burst sooner or later. Unless you are in a bed or a wheel chair I would advise your obtaining some sort of putty and gluing the stitches onto it.

But ironically I have never had trouble with the clavicle area despite the fact that I am what you would describe as skinny-bones and the mount of loose flesh is mere minimum in such an area.

For the face I would advise caution for obvious reasons... On the cheek I had kept it for a day and babbled my heart out still not having it pop. The forehead did demand my limiting my actions.
Further than that I can really not give much advise through personal experience but through common sense I can presume that the nose would be rather difficult and the brows rather dangerous.

I hope to have been of some use...
Once again: My sincere apologies for the delay!

Lillian Bakht (author)2012-07-15

Hi, wanted to say how much I loved your design. I used a variant on this for a costume for a facial scar (with makeup instead of folding the skin since I was going to have it on all day). Kudos to your design because a *lot* of people thought it was real.

Rubber cement worked really well for holding the stitches in place, though it tore a few upper layers of skin off if I didn't pick the stitches out first and rub it off slowly. Not perfect, but I'd still say better than spirit gum.

Thank you for stopping by with such encouraging words...

Honestly I have never done this without the glue on myself (For sfx we usually would have a latex layer to really stitch).
I would love to see pictures of your results!

sportguru (author)2010-02-01

Awesome..I'd like to try it but Ican't find any suitable glue. :'(

Tardisaholic (author)sportguru2011-07-24

Use Spirit Gum..

kicker109 (author)sportguru2010-10-06

Use Super Glue :P

dont... that stuff would be a biach to get off

hackerlife (author)2009-11-01

I incorporated my costume this halloween (I was a corporate zombie, I also used
It came out looking great!
I didn't follow your directions exactly, as I had no internet connection at the time.
Also, it ripped off halfway through the zombie battles.
I'm pretty sure it tore off some skin.
It currently hurts like a b***h.
But great 'ible!!

smartaleck135 (author)2009-10-17

AMAZING! you heal quick all thats lef is a crease where it used to be :) im going as a skateboarding accident so using big stiches for the "do-it-yourself" look 5 stars for simplicity and accuracy (would have been 4 but someone who can cut class with this deserves credit)

jcmuscarello (author)2008-10-25

Or you could just stab yourself with a sharp kitchen knife and have a doctor do it for you,(it may be easier)

ReCreate (author)jcmuscarello2009-03-18

ah yes,but the hardest part is convincing yourself that it wont hurt!

159Ghouls (author)2009-01-24

this is soooooo awsom i got to try this

fireblast_1212 (author)2009-01-17

Sweet! Some guy at school did this and he "accidentally" pulled his "stitches" out and it started "bleeding" all over. The teacher was out so when he came back, he freaked!

tmos540 (author)2009-01-12

lol i did a bunch on my arm, but i just bloodied them, no stitches. before you apply the glue to an area with hair, get rid of the hair or it will stick to the hair and removing it will hurt like heck.

bloodpact (author)2009-01-10

really top notch. Do you have any other effect make-up instructables up?

Father Christmas (author)2008-12-10

i made some of these but i used superglue instead. i would suggest against it. it held wonderfully, but if you leave it on for more than a few hours(mine was on overnight) it gets all lack of blood flow-ish. and then it starts to sting. i ended up pullin it off a few hours early >_<

gmana (author)2008-11-02

asum scar looks real

jbisker (author)2008-10-30

This is a great instructable: thanks! The word you were looking for, by the way, is "verisimilitude"

dkfa (author)2008-10-27

Can you do a video how to do this? I can't figure out how to make the thread/stitching knot things.

BlackDidThis (author)dkfa2008-10-30

I can't this week and I guess next week would be too late for holloween. Why don't you message me to more specifically state where you need help. I'll do my best.

jfearnside (author)2008-10-28

Nice technique - this is my first try - I think I need more practice but there is definitely potential here

Plasmana (author)2008-10-28

That is really coo! Nice work.

shantaram (author)2008-10-28

Time to read some Roald Dahl...

shantaram (author)2008-10-26

GOOD STUFF you like my neck vampire bite

BlackDidThis (author)shantaram2008-10-27

Yes, but actually I am moved by your nick: "thee God's peace be/is upon" even more...
Not a word I had expected to hear/read for a long while to come.

Actually your bite looks very convincing... much more convincining than the forensically impossible two puncture vampire bites commonly out there.
I would only comment on the blood drip... I personally would either smear it, (really) over-do it, or remove it.

shantaram (author)BlackDidThis2008-10-28

Thank you for your observation ,

Tinderbox (author)2008-10-26

you could have gone with 'realism', but 'realisticity' carries much more charm! :P

cheyennewills (author)2008-10-25

I think (though I'm not absolutely sure) that tincture of Benzoin might be what you are referring to for the colostomy bag.

Tincture of Benzoin is used as a "glue" for holding on bandages. It does have some minor side effects, it will slightly stain your skin, and prolonged use will "toughen" your skin (I have heard that some guitarists will use it on their finger tips, and I do know that rock climbers use it to toughen finger tips).

In fact in terms of this Instructable, Tincture of Benzoin might work well, the slight staining effect might make the stitches look more "real".

In doing a quick web search, I did find a medical reference where there is a slight possibility of an allergic reaction to Benzoin, and the concluding remark was:
"To conclude, tincture benzoin is a safe, natural substance to increase tackiness; however, it can rarely cause allergic contact dermatitis."

As for sources, it should be available a larger drugstores or other medical supply places, and I saw that it is available from REI

nerfer192 (author)2008-10-23

um when i tried this the super glue gave a burning that bad? i took it off right after it dried fully, so as not to glue my hands together.

BlackDidThis (author)nerfer1922008-10-24

With some varieties I tend to get the such a sensation particularly on thinner skin such as forearm and so forth. The glue has a tendency to react with moisture fast and the reaction is exothermic (I hope thats how you say it in English also)... Thus a heating sensation is does happen. But how far itwent and how much it disturbed you is your observation completely. Especially since you are going to keep it on for some while... Had it felt "really wrong", you had definitely best follow the many alternatives members have stated here. The making of this Instructable was met with a low tack rubber cement. It gave no similar sensations. But another member argued that it carried greater harm/toxins... so you may want to be precautions. Since the amount we are going to be using is practically the same amount we get in contact with while we work with glue; one would say "it shouldn't matter..." But in our case we are intentionally keeping the glue on our skin for a serious amount of time. So precaution would be a wise idea. Actually Since you were able to wait until the glue dried off... it may be a good sign that you can actually use super glue since the biggest signs of strain would come in this process period had there been need to be worried. You would best experiment with which glue works best for you. I hope this was of some help.

Just about the whole comment/advice was written around SuperGlue (or CrazyGlue or any other CyanoacrylateGlue); save from aditonally trying to state that it is not your only option since this Instructable you just read through was done with rubbercement (which does not give similar sensations). Please reread the comments context keeping this in mind since this way It might be of more use to you. If you are talking about the same white "glue-stick" ... you must have VERY soft skin (read: "envy"). It's cool that you are experimenting. Good luck!!

nerfer192 (author)BlackDidThis2008-10-24

well, i used krazyglue and not rubber cement. I actually did this in school with a glue stick and it worked quite well, but it is not durable at all. it hit it and it fell apart.

place name here- (author)2008-10-24

cooooooooooooooooooolllllllllll Love it that is so metal

otbpaintball (author)2008-10-23

Amazing instructable. Very detailed and the final results are very believable. Best scar effect I have ever seen. Two thumbs up.

About This Instructable




Bio: A pretty odd combination of interests and history: I graduated a little young and started lecturing in the academy before 18. Along side this I ... More »
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