Moulage Effect




Introduction: Moulage Effect

Moulage (pronounced “moo-lahzh”), comes from the French word moul or to mold and has historical roots dating back to the 16th century. Moulage is the art of recreating wounds or illnesses on a person to simulate a realistic injury. In modern times it is used primarily in training for medical personnel, military teams and predominately those in emergency medical services (EMS) such as emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics (medic). Moulage encompasses a wide variety of artistic applications of realistic injuries and simulated illnesses. These fake wounds help create a realistic training environment in which emergency personnel can be tested in a similar environment for which they will be working in. Some examples of moulage are blue lips and pale skin, signs of cyanosis or a visible bone fracture coupled with an open gash indicating trauma. Once one has an understanding of basic moulage techniques, they can be used in a multitude of ways.

The above picture is the finished moulage you can create with this instructable.

Step 1: Supplies

The beauty of moulage is that it only requires everyday items. If you want to purchase specialized supplies for it you can, but it is by no means necessary. Wal-mart or target would have most, if not all of the basic supplies. An online store such as Ben Nye would have the more expensive options should you wish to purchase wound-specific supplies. The crucial supplies needed are toilet paper, glue, foundation (in your shade or the shade of the person you are doing moulage on), an eye shadow palette with browns, reds, and black matte colors, baby powder, fake blood (purchased online or in person at a Spirit Halloween store), and a sponge applicator. If you cannot purchase fake blood I will include steps at the end of this manual on how to make your own.


1. Toilet paper

2. Liquid latex (or washable non-toxic glue)

3. Liquid foundation

4. Powder (or baby powder or even cornstarch)

5. Fake blood (or you can make your own)

6. Eye shadow palette - matte colors

7. Sponge applicator

8. Toothpicks (or a dull needle)


9. Brushes

10. Stage makeup

11. Stage makeup - bruise palette

12. Vaseline

13. Hair dryer

14. Stipple sponge

Step 2: Preparing the Skin

For all makeup, regardless of it being moulage or everyday it is important to have a clean canvas to start on and for us that canvas will be the skin you are doing moulage on. Be sure to wash the skin you are using so it is free of any makeup or debris prior to starting. If the skin is on your face use cleanser that is specific for facial washing, do not use regular hand soap. Our facial and neck skin is far more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our body so it's important to use cleanser specific for it. Once the skin has been washed let it air dry. At this point if you are placing the moulage in an area that has hair, such as facial or arm hair, it needs to be shaved prior to using liquid latex or the glue. Otherwise you're in for some pain. Vaseline can be used to cover the hair and protect it somewhat but the only sure way to prevent the hairs being pulled out is to shave.

If using liquid latex it is important to test the product on a small patch of skin like the back of the hand. Some people have an allergy to latex and if so glue should be used instead.

Step 3: Apply Glue

For this tutorial we will be doing an open gash moulage and finish off with some basic bruising around the open cut (gash).

Apply a thin layer of glue (or liquid latex, for this guide I am using glue) in the designated spot. For my example I decided to use my left forearm as it is easily reachable and I can use my dominant hand while making the wound. Once the first layer of glue dries apply another thicker layer of glue (see the above figure).

Step 4: Apply Toilet Paper

For this step, work fast because you need to finish before the second layer of glue dries! Take the toilet paper and tear off a couple sheets. If it is two ply or more then separate(pull apart) the sheets so they are one ply. Take the single layer of toilet paper and rip it into smaller chunks. Then place them in the glue so they stick out. The idea here is to build a layer of material to 'tear' into for your cut (see above figure).

Note that as you build up the toilet paper you should try to form it in the shape of an elongated oval. You can overlap some of the toilet paper as a light layer across the gap built. This will get torn into later.

Step 5: MORE GLUE!

Add more glue to the toilet paper so it gets mushy and stays in place. Once you're happy with the amount of toilet paper you have allow it to dry. You can wait 10-15 minutes for it to air dry or use a hair dryer to speed the process up. I chose to use a hair dryer (see figure 4).

Step 6: Add Color!

Once it has dried we can apply the base layer of makeup. Take the liquid foundation that matches your skin color or the skin color of the person you are doing the moulage on. Apply enough foundation to cover the white edges of the toilet paper and most of the white towards the inside. Blend with either a sponge or your fingers. The idea is to blend the makeup outward so it is a seamless transition from your skin to the toilet paper as far as color is concerned (see above figure).

Step 7: Poke Holes in It

It's time to start creating the open gash. Take a toothpick or a needle (if you have one) and carefully tear open a hole down the center of the toilet paper. If you have neither a toothpick, a needle or a similar tool to use you can carefully use your fingernails. Don't worry about the ragged edges or if you tear it a little too much. It's an organic injury and any perceived flaws will contribute to the authentic look of it (see above figure).

Step 8: Add Shading

Crack open that eye shadow palette (or the stage makeup if you have any). Take a dark brown color and apply it to the center of the cut and up along the edges. Then go back over with a black along the edges and where the darkest shadows would be seen on an injury. Blend the colors together and then apply a light layer of red over the entire center of the wound (see above figure). The application of the red should be much lighter than the former colors, allowing for the brown and black to still be visible. You can use a brush or your fingers for this but be prepared to wash your fingers off in between layers.

Apply a layer of baby powder, or if you have it, makeup powder. Translucent powder is better but if it's tinted that won't make a huge difference on the look of the wound. The powder will set the colors so they won't run when we add fake blood.

At this point you may want to look up some images or reference pictures of real, similar injuries to better mimic as you work on the finer details of the injury.

Step 9: Stippling

If you don't have a stipple brush, other makeup brushes, or stage makeup, skip to step 10. For those who do have these supplies take the stipple brush and use a brown color from the stage makeup palette. Stipple the color lightly around the edges of the wound and down around where the glue and toilet paper attach to the skin (see above figure). We are giving depth to the torn toilet paper and blending it into the natural skin.

With an angle brush (or similar makeup brush) take a red color from the stage makeup palette and dab it in around the inside edges of the cut. Do the same with black but use the darker color sparingly. This will represent the deepest edges of the cut.

Apply one more layer of baby powder or the loose makeup powder to set the new colors you've added.

Step 10: BLOOOD

With the gash created it is time to add blood. Take your blood and pour it over the center of the wound, allowing some of it to pool and run down outside of the edges (see above figure).

If you need more textural interest on the cut and have Vaseline then go ahead and add some to the raised edges of the toilet paper. This will give it a glossy appearance and also help protect the toilet paper from drying out and cracking. It prolongs the use of the prosthetic you are making.

Step 11: *BONUS: But Wait There's More! Bruising!

Bruising will be helpful to give the gash depth. Deep cuts from the force of such trauma may result in bruising if not around the injury than on other parts of the body representing internal bleeding. It is a useful moulage skill to combine with the cut you've now learned.

For the bruise you can use either eye shadow or the bruise palette stage makeup.

Begin with the lightest color of makeup, which for a bruise would be yellow. Stipple the color on with the stipple sponge or a regular makeup sponge (see above figure). If applying it to the cut focus the bruising around the outside edges of the toilet paper.

Step 12: *Bonus: Final Bruise Effects

Next add a green color that will be the shape of the bruise itself. For my example I am going in a round semi-circle around the cut. Once you've added the green, blend it with your fingers or a sponge brush. This will wash out the colors some but you can always add more.

Dab on some purple or if you have no purple, blue will work. Lightly stipple this color on around the bruise, leaving some of the yellow around the edges untouched. Follow the shape you started with the green (see above figure).

A little bit of black will go a long way. For the final touches take a sponge brush and apply a small amount of black over the purple areas. This will give it a blotchy appearance with the depth bruises naturally have (see above figure).

Step 13: Ta Da!

The wound is complete! It can be applied in a variety of places and altered to fit your scenario as need be.

Step 14: Bonus Bonus! Fake Blood!

If obtaining fake blood is impossible then there are many ways to make your own supply. One method is to combine one part of water with three parts corn syrup. Adjust the parts for however much you need. It can range from tablespoons to cups. Mix these two together and add red dye and then a small amount of blue and green to achieve a richer look. To thicken the mixture up add cornstarch or flour. You can also use gelatin packs if you need blood with a coagulated consistency.

Finally, add some chocolate syrup and you will have homemade fake blood! Be cautious about using too much green or blue dye. One drop in a large amount is usually more than enough. Too much blue and the blood becomes purple and the process has to be restarted.

Prior to using the blood, let it set up for ten to fifteen minutes. If it isn't thick enough add more flour, cornstarch or consider adding a little bit of instant gelatin mix. All of these ingredients can be found at the grocery store. Be sure to not ingest the blood as it isn't edible.

If you need more assistance then a simple google search can provide helpful video tutorials that go more in depth about making blood.

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    5 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago

    looks great- but when you say "washable glue" what sort do you mean? I'm thinking PVA but is that what you meant? or something else?


    3 years ago

    looks really good...nice job


    3 years ago

    I like it. Well done indeed.


    3 years ago

    That is most definitely the best disgusting fake wound I have ever seen. Great job!!