Realistic Wound FX




In this following instructable I will be showing you how to make a simple, yet realistic and reusable, latex wound effect on a tight budget.

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Step 1: Getting the Supplies

For this project you are going to need the following supplies:

  • Liquid Latex - $11 for a 8oz bottle.
  • Stage Blood - $2 for a 1oz bottle.
  • Basic Make-Up Kit - Should include foundation, basic creme pallet of at least 4 colors, setting powder and applicators.
  • Toilet Paper
The most common place to find these out of the Halloween season is at a costume shop or online, especially for the liquid latex and stage blood. The make-up can be purchased at any retailer that carries make-up... usually for under $10. As for the toilet paper, that's practically free... and if don't have any at home, pocket a square next time you use the public restroom.

Step 2: Building the Prosthetic

Begin by cleansing the desired application area, in this case my left wrist. Once the area is dry and clean, begin applying the first thin layer of Liquid Latex. You can use a brush, a wood applicator or a clean finger for applying the Liquid Latex. I find that the best results come from using your finger. Let the latex dry until it is tacky. (Quick Tip: Use a blow-dryer set on cold to quicken the drying process.) Allow the latex to dry completely if you wish to add another coat to thicken the base.

After the base coat of Liquid Latex has begun to dry, remove one square of toilet paper from a roll. Try to obtain a two ply kind with no texture or designs. Separate the plies and roll each side into a snake like structure. This will create the raised skin that forms the wound. Take one of the rolls and apply it to the latex base.

Using your finger apply Liquid Latex to the toilet paper now positioned on your application area. Be generous, blending the outside of the wound structure with your skin. The inside should be left at an abrupt edge.

Add the second piece of tissue to complete the wound. I prefer to join the top and bottom edges as to create a pool that will catch the stage blood when it is applied.

As you did with the first side of the wound, coat in a generous amount of latex, blending the paper into your skin.

Step 3: Drying and Setting

Now let the latex dry completely. I recommend using the blow dryer to speed up the process for about 10 minutes and then taking a 15 min break to let the latex cure even more or until you have a dry application.

Once the latex has dried you will need to set it with some Neutral Set Powder to take away the tackiness and to make sure the make-up does not gelatinize the application. Shake off access powder.

Setting will often dull the colors and leave a powdery residue on your application. Dabbing the piece with a piece of damp toilet paper will fix these problems.

The piece is now dry, set and ready for the next step of production, make-up application.

Step 4: Applying the Make-Up: the Base

Make-Up application is an art and can be very frustrating at times. The following is just a guideline based on how I applied my make-up, but should be adapted to each individual situation. I begin my application with some liquid foundation to give a base color to the application.

I coat the application evenly with foundation using a flat brush. Use a foundation that closely resembles your skin color. (Quick Tip: To save on expenses, purchase brushes and applicators from art supply stores as the selection and price is better then the applicators found at normal super-markets.)

Blend the foundation into your skin using a blending sponge. I used one of those cheap little foam triangles. (Quick Tip: Make your sponges last, rinse them off after every use to keep make-up from building up on them and rendering them un-usable.)

Once the blending is complete. I prefer to add a darker foundation around the wound with a pad to create some depth.

The darker foundation will highlight the wound and draw attention to it and away from imperfect blending. It will also give the appearance of bruising which is common with large wounds.

Step 5: Applying the Make-Up: Highlights and Meat

Now it's time to highlight parts of the wound using a lighter colored make-up. I apply the highlights using a small flat brush only covering the higher sections of the application.

Followed by some texture using a texture sponge. You can use any textured sponge for this, I used a plastic hive like one I had on hand.

Now that the wounds has been blended into the application area, it is time to start working on the inside of the wound. I begin by applying some darker make-up to the inner edges of the wound to simulate stronger shading and add depth. In this example I used black.

After which I apply a dark red make-up to the inside of the wound.

Set the make-up using Neutral Set Powder and the same process as setting the latex at the beginning of the tutorial. Blotting the piece with moist toilet paper will bring back the color and remove extra powder. (Quick Tip: Setting make-up is the most often forgotten crucial steps in make-up application and results in running and ruined make-up at the first sign of moisture such as sweat or water.)

Step 6: Touching Up and Enhancing the Wound

Now that the brunt of the work is complete comes the fun part of applying blood. I prefer to use store bought stage blood and apply it with a fine tip brush. Although any common home-made blood recipe should do the job just as well.

The reservoir we created earlier does a great job of catching the blood.

To give it a more traumatic feeling I prefer to dab the wound and area surrounding it with a paper towel to spread and splatter the blood. After, I reapply blood to the interior of the wound.

If you wish, you can stop here since you've achieved a convincing wound. But I wanted to have little pieces of meat and matter inside my wound for a more nauseating look. I did this by saturating an end of a q-tip in stage blood, then pulling loose strands of the cotton from the stick with a push pin and applying it to the wound. The results are quite good.

Step 7: Removing the Prosthetic

Before removing the prosthetic I gently rinse off the blood. Since the make-up has been set it shouldn't wash off. It might fade slightly but that can be retouched when it's applied again at a later time.

After rinsing I remove the prosthetic by rolling the edges towards the center of the wound. Latex tends to stick to itself after curing, so powdering it with talc or baby powder will prevent this. Removing the latex should be relatively easy and painless unless it has been caught in some hair. Do not use any oil based products to remove the latex piece as the oil will break down its structure. You can purchase silicon oil that will remove latex and leave it intact, although shiny. The silicon oil is often expensive and not worth the trouble.

And there you go... you know have a re-usable prosthetic application of a wound that can easily be used at a later time. Although you will need to purchase some spirit gum (and spirit gum remover) to attach the piece to your skin. With a little Liquid Latex to blend the edges and some touch ups on the make-up, the wound can be ready to go again in no time.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable and have learned some valuable information from it. Have fun creating horrendous wounds and scars.

Don't forget to leave comments and show off what you've accomplished using the Instructable.

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    221 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago

    I need to build a chest wound for one of the actors in a play. The wound has to be good for 10 performances, plus tech week rehearsals so the actor can get used to it. How many applications or uses can I expect one "wound" to be good for? In other words, how many of these things will I need to make? And are there any special storage requirements (e.g., not above or below a certain temp)?


    1 year ago

    Eww! So gross, but yet so cool...


    Reply 3 years ago

    i used to use school glue and that worked really well!!


    Reply 5 years ago

    flour and vasaline, however after a little the mixture begins to crumble


    5 years ago

    this worked great for me(: the Halloween store only had pints and it was about 17 and the fake boodwas about 3 i had my makeup from theatre so that helped. i did burn wonds and a knife slice on my face, which had little baby hairs and was a pain to get out but nothing too bad i have no idea how to post the pics but it looked so realistic everyone was asking where i bought my wounds!(:


    5 years ago on Introduction

    My Zombie look. I did the fleshy look on my neck on myself :)


    This year you gotta get some white makeup in there so that you can "see" the bones... now that'd really freak some ppl out


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 7

    That is Awesome, man. Especialy for a first try. My first attempt was nowhere near as cool. Congradulations. I think you've found your special talent.