Using Silicone-based Pastes to Create Quick Makeup FX




About: I create and teach makeup effects and prosthetics for a living. I love The B52's, good sarcasm and boring things like history, science and Radio 4.

Sculptgel and Third Degree are both great silicone based materials which can be used directly on the skin to create three dimesional makeup effects for fun, Halloween, low budget movies or to create work for a portfolio. This instructable shows you a step by step makeup of how this great material can be used. No need for sculpting or moulding, no latex allergies and no mess!

Incidentally, if you like this kind of thing why not check out the free mini ecourse on my site-sign up quick and easy at! 


Step 1: The Material

Two-part platinum silicone pastes may sound technical and off putting to some, but these materials are very simple to use. This article aims to show you a simple method for using Sculpt Gel.

There are similar materials such as Third Degree, which behave in the same fashion owing to the fact that it is also a two-part silicone based product. The main difference with this kind of material compared to wax is that you need to measure out equal amounts, mix them and apply them to the skin before it sets (or cures) with a working time of 4-5 minutes. You can cover larger areas by adding additional mixes, as it will bond well to itself. Unlike wax, it does not damage easily.

The only thing you need to remember is avoid contact with latex! Platinum silicones are usually very sensitive, and exposure to latex (in a dried or liquid form) can result in the silicone not curing properly. This is known as inhibition, and usually occurs on a surface someone has touched using latex gloves. As a result, if you do ever need to wear gloves make sure you use Vinyl and not latex!

Step 2: Mixing It Up

Sculpt Gel comes with three components-clearly marked as parts A, B and C. Parts A and B are the two silicone components which need to be mixed together thoroughly to cure. They have been pigmented two different flesh tones to avoid confusion as to which is which. Part C is purely a softener, and is clear.

Using a clean spatula or wooden tool for each material to avoid cross-contamination, scoop out equal sized blobs of parts A and B onto a clean surface.

You can mix these two parts together and use it as is, or add some part C to soften the mixture further. That is basically it. A palette or a ceramic tile is good to mix on, as these can easily be cleaned and reused using a little alcohol on a cotton wool pad or tissue. Now, let's take a look at how this material is used in a makeup.

Step 3: Apply the Mix

To get maximum adhesion, make sure the skin is clean and free of makeup. Use a light astringent toner to clean the skin surface just before you start working.

Mix your Sculpt Gel components together; youll only need a small amount of each at any one time. If you want to create something more extensive, mix additional batches and keep adding. You do not want to create a huge thickness in one hit, as the material will start drooping until it sets. Blend out the edges and keep working the surface. Using a blunt tool, start to create a line where you want the laceration to be.

Step 4: Define Your Details

Lift the edges with a blunt tool to create some more depth. You can pull the Sculpt Gel away slightly, and pack it out in places with tissue, cotton wool or sponge. This way you can create irregular edges without adding more mixes.

Keep teasing out the edges to help them blend into the skin. You can keep working the surface until it ceases to move.

You can always add more if you accidentally pull any edges off.

Step 5: Lose the Shine

Use a sponge on the surface just before it sets completely. This will help dull the shine and create a skin texture effect. If you miss your window and it sets before you do this, simply mix a little more A & B, and stipple this over the surface. Speed up cure using a hairdryer on a warm setting.

Whilst I wait for it to cure properly, I add some bruise tones around the eye area to add to the effect.

I then used a little Skin Illustrator to tweak the colour of the Sculpt Gel to match the surrounding skin.

Step 6: Finish Your Makeup, and Add Some Gore!

The finished makeup. I used some blood-coloured Skin Illustrator in the cut itself before adding some (purchased) congealed blood and dark scab. Then I dripped some blood into the wound and hairline. You can thicken blood using cornstarch.

I used a tissue, and mopped the blood as you would a real wound in order to create a realistic, messy look. Let the blood drip and run naturally, wiping it into the hair and around the face. Ensure the makeup goes onto the lip and into the mouth, using an edible blood.

Step 7: Finishing Touch

I also added a little black tooth enamel (you can use Skin Illustrator) to make the tooth looked chipped. Swill some blood around the mouth, and you're good to go.

A makeup like this can be achieved quickly using a material like Sculpt Gel. Because it is very flexible and unaffected by heat or moisture, it should last reasonably well. Maintain the appliance using more Sculpt Gel or a little medical adhesive like Telesis V.

If the Sculpt Gel mixture is outrageously different from your subjects own skin tone, you can add a little silicone pigment to the mix to intrinsically colour the material. This may be especially worth doing if you have a lot of makeups to do in this fashion on the same person. Silicone pigments will be stocked by sculpture and FX material suppliers-get the smallest amount you can as it is incredibly concentrated and a little goes a long way.

Sculptgel is also useful for repairing and patching silicone gel filled appliance makeups, as well as creating direct-applied effects. I always keep some in my kit.

Happy sticking

If you like this kind of thing why not check out the free mini ecourse on my site-sign up quick and easy at!  There's more like this, and looking at other aspects of makeup effects and prosthetics on the Free Downloads page.

Photographs © Jane Hobson

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    45 Discussions


    2 years ago

    So I have to make a nasty zombie for an upcoming film, and I am stumped about what to use on the hands. He may or may not be touching another actor, and whereas the makeup can smear (as good blood and gore would) I don't want the darn thing to fall off. And I cannot make gloves currently. 3rd degree then?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Heyyy guys I love this I am totally doin this for haloween



    Reply 7 years ago on Step 2

    Guys, what on earth do you put your mashed potatoes? All of this looks to me more like snot and slime than something that was formely a potato. :D

    (To the maker of this 'ible, great job, I'd try this out if only I can find sculpt gel-retailer somewhere in Europe.)

    WOW! all of your instructables for halloween makeup are so realistic! you are a ledgend, wish i coukd do stuff like this for a job and be as good as you are at it:) not being clingy just thought id tell you:)


    8 years ago on Step 5


    Skin Illustrator is a brand of alcohol activated makeup colours. There are several brands such as Reel Color and Sta Color which all use 99% isopropyl alcohol as the solvent.  They are very durable colours which appear realistic on the skin and do not smudge when dry unlike oil based makeup.

    They can be thinned to washes and applied with sponge, brush or airbrush in layers to create realistic skin colours, especially on appliances or materials such as Sculptgel, where translucency needs to be maintained.

    There is a little about this and other types of makeup in an article I wrote which may be of interest to you:



    8 years ago on Step 6

    What type of fake blood was used to make this? I want to have some that looks very realistic, and I'm not sure of what would be the best one.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6


    I used a syrup based blood from a professional makeup store. The typical shop bought bloods for halloween are not that good. The colour and consistency needs to be right and cheaper bloods are usually a deal thinner and often stain skin and fabrics much easier.  (Non staining bloods that look great and which are not expensive are the Holy Grail qualities of fake bloods).

    Also, real blood is opaque, not translucent, which is a giveaway on cheaper bloods. It depends on your budget and how good you want it to look.

    I don't know where in the world you are, but in the UK, here are some good bloods:

    In the States:
    Cinema Secrets
    Monster Club

    Most fake bloods are syrup based (either corn or syrup) with food grade dyes allowing them to be safely used in the mouth although I always advise checking that to be should state it on the bottle. 

    Also, a little tip is if you find the blood beads up on an oily surface (such as wax, siliocne or oil based makeup) then apply a little dish washing/washing up liquid detergent to area first.  It will reduce this effect (known as 'reticulation').

    I also used a material made by 'Maekup' called 'Scab' which dries matt, dark and non flexible so it cracks and peels - just like real dried blood.  You could also use a little acrylic ink or skin illustrator the right colour to appear as dark, dried blood.  I think having larger areas of dried blood with some fresh stuff helps the overall realism.

    Hope this helps


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Skin-Tite is available from Smooth-on in the US, behaves the same as Scupltgel and I have worn full head silicone prosthetics for several hours, bit hot &sweaty but my skin was as smooth as just having a facial treatment


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Just a few questions. Are there any alternatives to this company/brand if so why did you pick this one? Two: Can you peel the silicone off and re-use them if you so desired as you would if you made a mask or is this a different sort of material. I would assume that stuff doesent breath well for your skin

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Well, to be honest, this method IS the cheaper option to sculpting, moulding, casting and applying a prosthetic appliance, which is a couple of days work as opposed to fifteen minutes. There are a couple of versions, but I had use one and I used this one 'cos it's what I am familiar with. They are pretty similar. Skin breathing issues, well I suppose there would be, but no more than any prosthetic makeup, which has yet to be an issue for me. I have heard of anecdotal stories of gold body paint used in a James Bond intro sequence day after day, but a small area like this isn't a problem. If you wear a wetsuit and snorkel for two hours, your skin doesn't meet air either, with no ill effect. This stuff is designed for skin use, and is quite safe to use. You can peel it off if you are careful, and if you clean it with alcohol (99%) you could reapply using a silicone prosthetic adhesive, or a little more of the gel. Edges may be a little damaged, but you can add more gel to repair.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The "skin breathing" thing is a myth, as is the legend of the actress on the set of Goldfinger. You can double check on Snopes and Wikipedia.
    Several other species do it but not humans :)
    The two big things to worry about are toxicity and heat. If there are toxins in the makeup/mixture, well you shouldn't be applying it anyway and certainly not over the whole body. Only use safe agents.
    Heat is where things can go wrong with a full body appliance. Stay hydrated, and monitor temperatures. If you can't sweat through your makeup or radiate heat away your temp will spike. The proteins in the brain can start to cook at temps as low as 45 celsius, so remember to keep cool. :)


    9 years ago on Step 1

    were can i get sculpt gel and cheap
    and wat do i use 4 da blood fake blood or shall i get my own real blood

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction is the direct link for the UK site, and in the US they can be contacted at Tel 949 923 9583 or 949 923 9551. They are in California somewhere but I don't know where or the area dial code. email is

    I'm not sure if there is a 'cheap' sculptgel-This method IS the cheaper option to sculpting, moulding, casting and applying a prosthetic appliance, which is a couple of days work as opposed to fifteen minutes.

    It is what it is and unlike mass produced items that everyone uses, there is not so much of a cheap option.  I guess the alternative is stick with scar or morticians wax instead.

    Professional makeup stores are the place to get fake blood-it will probably be cheaper than buying all the ingredients and making it.