My husband is "into" Zombies, I am not, but I thought I would make him a zombie themed cake for his birthday, complete with staring eyeballs (edible), and finger candles to blow out.
Step 1: Make Your Finger Candles- Making the Moulds
For these you will need:-
Hairdryer or a fan heater (recommended if you don't want to spend hours and hours and hours staring at a wall waiting for the latex to dry);
A handy (boom boom) set of fingers- generally found attached to your non dominant hand.
A small pot to put the latex in (large enough to dip your fingers in up to just past the second joint);
The short version
Pour the latex into the pot.
Dip your fingers in and take them out.
Wait for them to dry (using assistance from the hairdryer)- latex is dry when it goes clear.
Repeat several times.
Once you have about three layers sprinkle talc on the fingers and spread it over the latex.
Unroll your latex finger mould.
Repair any holes with dabs of latex.
DO NOT THROW WASTE LATEX DOWN THE SINK!!!!!
Make some spare moulds with left over latex
The longer version
Use a narrow pot- you don't want to waste the latex (expensive) you don't have to dip your fingers in all at once - dip one, then the next etc.
Pose your fingers before dipping- for a clutching hand coming up out of the ground your fingers should be slightly bent to get that authentic Zombie grabbing the unwary passerby look. But don't go mad- if you bend your fingers too much it will be very hard to make decent candles later on- a slight bend is fine- also remember you have to be able to comfortably hold this pose for as long as it takes for the latex to set....(that would be a long and very boring time)
Drying time- this is the booooooring bit. Latex takes quite some time to dry- especially when you get bored waiting and redip your fingers too early making a thick layer which takes much much longer (can you tell I am speaking from experience here?). using the hairdryer helps. No you can't read a book while waiting, you have latex all over one hand and a hairdryer in the other.
TOP TIP- dip your non dominant hand - that way you can actually use the hairdryer more effectively in your dominant hand (once again this is experience speaking here)
Keep the hairdryer moving- I found my hand got quite warm so a good way to do this was to have several fingers on the go at once so to speak- rather than dipping one and completing one and then dipping the next (more experience). Keep the hairdryer on one finger until it gets too warm then move to another finger etc.
Three layers should be enough- actually you can get away with two or even one if your are very careful but I wouldn't recommend less than three- there will be thin spots (check under your fingernails for good coverage as this seems to be the hard to get to spot) and if you don't get enough layers these can tear when you remove the mould- then you have to do it all again!
Make sure you apply the talc BEFORE trying to remove the moulds (yet more experience. This is to stop the latex sticking to itself.
Gently roll the latex off from the edge, once you have it started it will come quite easily. If you didn't apply the talc you will now have a little roll of latex which is stuck together bearing no resemblance to a finger and you will have to start all over again.
Once off your finger talc the INSIDE of the mould.
If you rolled it inside out gently turn it back the right way- the way it was on your finger.
Check for any holes, these can be repaired by dipping a paintbrush (cover the bristles in soap or handwash first to make the latex easier to wash out afterwards) in the latex and painting over the holes- they will show up in the final cast though.
Step 2: Make Your Finger Candles- Making the Actual Candles
You will need:-
Pan to boil water in
Mould stand - foil pie pan, toilet roll or kitchen paper inner cardboard roll and an eggbox to place it in- enough to hold several fingers together, upright without squashing them
Old newspaper etc to cover worktop
And (depending on your country of origin) -Asbestos fingers, full face shield, welding apron, signed disclaimer cross witnessed by three lawyers that you have read and understood the dangers etc etc etc
SAFETY- melted wax is HOT, hot enough to burn you badly. Be a sensible little zombie maker eh? NEVER melt wax directly in a pan- because when your significant m/other finds it all stuck to the bottom later on they will kill you- oh and it will catch fire and burn down your house but that will be the least of your worries if you trash their favourite saucepan (or spill wax onto the worktop because it won't come off again and will leave a mark)
Half fill pan with water
Place aluminium foil on top
Place white wax in foil
Boil water until wax melts
Pour wax into first finger mould
Rotate mould to spread wax evenly around the inside of the mould
Repeat with other fingers
Repeat with white wax to apply another layer (or two)
Melt pink wax in aluminium foil
Fill each finger to the top with pink wax
Leave in stand to cool
Top up pink wax as needed as it cools
DO NOT DISPOSE OF WASTE WAX DOWN THE SINK!!!!!
Rather than use another pan to put the wax in to melt I find that a sheet of tin foil works really well- it heats up super fast so you get your wax melted quickly and there is no washing up to do, surplus wax can just be cracked off and returned to a remelt and reuse pile.
Make a dip in the foil for the wax to melt in - it can be difficult to pour so it's a good idea to also make a pouring spout by bending the foil. Be careful not to burn your fingers when you take the foil off the pan to pour the wax.
The first layer is white- not pink, this is for the "skin". I used an ordinary household candle for this- break it up a bit so it melts more quickly, the eight hour burning candles are a nice pure white and cut with a sharp knife (don't cut your own fingers off at this point). Remove the wick and save it for later.
When you pour this make sure you rotate the mould to spread the wax around the inner surface of the mould- think "skin", try to get a fairly even spread but don't stress too much if it isn't completely perfect or if it cracks or peels when you do the second layer- these are ZOMBIE fingers remember. You will want at least two layers to get a good thickness- 2-3 mm/8th inch is what you are aiming for. The wax will tend to be thicker at the base (fingernail end) of the mould- this is ok as long as it isn't a lump of white- if you got it wrong crack out the wax when it's dry, remelt and start again.
Pink wax- I had some wax dye which I added to the white, plus I melted down some pink birthday candles. If you don't have any wax dye just buy some coloured candles and melt them down.
How pink is pink?- pink - not red is what you are after, not birthday candle pink but a little darker than that.
This is the "meat" in your finger candle- but it's a zombie so its dead meat, have a play and be creative....
It will contract as it cools so top it up. If you used an egg box as a stand any wax you spill will be collected and you have some firestarters for later use- BONUS!
Allow fingers to set- don't be tempted to poke and prod them too soon or you will squash them out of shape (like I did with one of mine). You can dunk them in water to speed up the cooling but don't let them tip over and spill the wax.
Once set demould them and admire your handicraft (boom boom).
Where the white wax has chipped or peeled it looks like dead skin coming off to show the flesh underneath- co-ol!
Step 3: Finger Candles- Finishing
Look a bit too clean to be zombie fingers scrabbling up out of the ground don't they? Let's dirty them up and add some wicks so they are candles not just wax fingers.
You will need:-
Acrylic or water colour paint- black or brown
Washing up liquid
Darning needle and something to hold it in
Mix your paint with some washing up liquid and water, paint around the fingernail and brush over any areas you want to dirty up, dab off with a dry cloth.
Heat up the darning needle (over the cooker, blowtorch , fire etc- it will get HOT - so have something to hold it in)
Melt a hole in the tops of each finger
Use the needle to punch short ends of wick into the hole.
There isn't one really, ths gives you a short wick suitable for a birthday cake candle, if you want a longer burn you will need to make a hole in your mould (before you fill it) and push the wick through the hole , plug it wit modelling clay and then do your pour
Step 4: Making the Cake
I wanted a nice dark chocolate cake (earth), with raisins (stones) and chocolate drops (why not? chocolate drops are always acceptable everywhere), with a raspberry jelly filling. Or make your own recipe of cake- red velvet could be zombie appropriate as well.
Ok- I'll be honest I tried an experimental recipe and it didn't work out so well- turned out a bit dry- so here is a standard Victoria sandwich cake recipe instead...
For every 2 eggs you will need:-
4oz Flour (there are plenty of conversion calculators out there in internet land so you can make it in metric if you must- but it tastes much better in imperial measurements ;-))
4oz Sugar/ or 4oz equivalent Sugar substitute of your choice (e.g. splenda etc)
Raisins- to taste
Chocolate drops- everyone likes chocolate!
Cocoa powder- to taste
This will make enough for two 7 inch cake tins. If you want more just use the proportions above to incease the amount..
Pre warm oven to 160 degrees (centigrade)
Cream together the butter/margarine with the sugar/sugar substitute.
Carefully break the eggs so that the shells are in roughly two halves- save the shells.
Add the beaten eggs to the butter/sugar mix and beat together - you can add a little milk if it looks too dry.
Fold in half the flour until it is well mixed in.
Fold in the rest of the flour, the cocoa powder (how much is up to you), the raisins (how many is up to you) and LOTS of chocolate drops (cos you can never have too much chocolate)
When it's well mixed pour half into one tin and half into the other.
You need to make two holes to insert the eyeballs into later on. Scoop out a little of the uncooked mix from one tin and place a small paper bun case in the hole, fill the case with the mixture you just scooped out. Repeat for the other eyeball hole.
Bake in the middle of the oven until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean (about 20 minutes- don't open the oven door too early or cakes will sink)
Once cool remove the bun cases from the cake to leave your eyeball holes empty.
Again an experiment but basically raspberry jelly mix with added frozen raspberries and extra water so that the jelly was squishy rather than fully set- or make up your own filling.
Sandwich the two cake layers together with your filling.
I had spare mix so made some buns as well.
Step 5: Making the Eyeballs
You will need:-
Two empty eggs shells from your cake. Wash them out.
Kebab or cocktail stick.
Use the rounder end of the egg shells as a mould.
Partially fill egg shell with water and tip water into measuring container to find out volume needed.
Mix up gelatine to packet instructions to approx same volume as that measure. (usually same volume of gelatine as hot water)
Mix up icing sugar with water to a thick paste.
Mix gelatine and icing sugar together until you like the appearance, texture (but not necessarily the taste)
Pour icing sugar gelatine mix into eggshells and allow to set.
If you are feeling creative (bored, experimental etc) add some of the raspberry jelly cake filling mix in the centre of the eyeball- either scoop out some of the mix when it sets or use less icing/gelatine mix and rotate the shells so it sticks to the shell while leaving the centre empty.
Once set demould from eggshell
Use the kebab stick to create a small hole in the centre of your eyeball. Dip stick in black food colouring and add to pupil. Repeat as needed.
Method one- use same method as pupil but using appropriate colours.
Method two-pour a couple of drops of food colouring into the eggshell moulds (not much) and replace each eyeball back into the mould to soak up the colour.
Just some explanations here.
I was experimenting and didn't keep notes of how much gelatine to icing sugar. The gelatine will make the eyeball translucent and the icing sugar will make it opaque white so have a play. The texture will change as well- it will be more- jelly like- with the gelatine, more crunchy with more icing sugar. Keep the icing sugar mix very thick. However you make it it will just taste very sweet. You could add some flavouring if you like.Bear in mind that the gelatine will start to set after you add the hot water- but you can remelt it again, just don;t boil it- follow instructions on the packet.
Colouring the eyeball was quite tricky and I used both the methods above - one on each eyeball as I wasn't sure how it would turn out. The "blurry" looking eyeball is the one that was soaked in the food colouring rather than using the stab and colour stick method. Pick the one you like the look of best. The "blurry " one actually looked much better when it was in the cake. Very dead zombie eyeball.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Pop your eyeballs into the eye sockets and shove the fingers into the cake until they stand up on their own.
I wasn't that happy with the arrangement in the end- my cake wasn't really big enough to make a nice grabbing hand in the right place relative to the eyeballs- ce la vie- (or is that ce la apres vie?)
I also iced the cake with green butter cream to try and look like grass - but my icing skills are terrible so I'm not including that here!
Light up your fingers and hand over to your resident evil zombie enthusiast.
(P.S. make THEM eat the eyeballs!)
My first instructable, entering for halloween contest- hope you like it and give it a go.