Hey guys! I’ve been getting a lot of positive comments about my facial prosthetic for B’elanna Torres. I will briefly explain how I made my facial ridges here. It’s the easiest way to create a latex prosthetic, but definitely not the most beautiful way. It takes quite a few tries of practice to get it right. I made 7 prosthetics before I ended up with the one that I use most often now.
Photo of my B’elanna Torres costume by Vincent Lee Fotografie.
Step 1: Copy your face!
What you need to make a properly fitting prosthetic is a cast of your on face. The cheapest and easiest way to do it is by using plaster cast. This is normally used for broken legs. 😉 I bought mine from an online shop that sells this kind of thing. It was super easy to find and not so expensive. I still have a lot left. 😛
You do need a friend for this one. you cannot do this by yourself. What you do is cover your face in Vaseline or some other greasy cream, and cover your hair with a hairnet and kitchen wrap to protect it. You then close your eyes and let your friend do all the work. What your friend does is make the plaster cast wet in water and put it on your face. Your friend has to make sure that it’s gently pushed against your skin so all the shapes of your face come out well. The only important thing is to keep your nostrils free from plaster or you will suffocate! The plaster dries really quickly, about 15 minutes. When it’s all dry all you have to do is wiggle your facial muscles (frown, smile, things like that) and it will come off very easily.
And yes, it’s horror movie material. My boyfriend walked in on us without knowing what we were doing…. Nightmare fuel assured!
Step 2: Make a plaster face.
Now that you have your face mask, the next step is to make an actual cast of your face. You rub Vaseline on the inside of your mask (as a releasing agent), and put it firmly in a bowl or tub. I put a lot of kitchen towels under it and at the sides to make sure that it would not move from its place. Then you mix actual plaster with water (I would recommend a little less than on the packaging because my plaster took over a month to completely dry) and fill up your plaster mask with plaster. 😀 Tap the sides to make sure the big bubbles go out of the plaster and make it more even.
When the plaster is dry you can pull it free from the mask. Your mask will be destroyed, but that’s okay. You don’t need it anymore. When you’re completely sure that it is dry, you can sand your face down and cover it in two layers of wood-glue to make the surface smooth.
This is my un-sanded and un-glued face.
Step 3: Making your clay ridges
I bought fatty, waxy clay that does not become solid. However, my cheap clay was a little too soft so I would recommend using a more sturdy one. What you do is you clay your ridges on your face, exactly the way you want them to be. Make sure it is smooth and all edges of the clay blend in to your forehead seamlessly.
Step 4: Making your Latex prosthetic
I bought liquid latex from Mehron, but any type of liquid latex will do. You use a non-latex sponge (make-up stores have fairly cheap ones, you can not re-use them) and dab very thin layers of latex over your clay. Make sure not to cover your eyes. In this example I did cover my brows because I made fake eye-brows in this prosthetic. I would recommend keeping them above your brows though, because it is more comfortable. Make sure that the edges stay thin enough, or it will be difficult to cover the seams with make-up. Wait for each layer to dry before applying the next. This is a long process. You need to make sure that the latex is thick enough so it won’t cave in when you remove it from your plaster-self. This means many layers.
Step 5: Finishing the prosthetic
When you have enough layers, cover your prosthetic in any kind of powder with a brush. I used some kind of face powder, really cheap. 😛 Take a pair of tweezers and start at the top of your head. Use the brush and keep putting powder underneath the prosthetic as you slowly and carefully remove it from your plaster face. When it’s finally off, you are nearly done!
To make the ridges more sturdy, dip cotton in latex and fill up the ridges from the back. Wait for it to dry and you’re done!
Step 6: Applying it to your face and adding make-up
A fairly logical step. 😛 You can attach it to your face using either liquid latex or skin-glue. I use Mastix, and to remove it Mastix remover. Be careful not to get it in your eyes! All you have to do then is use foundation and many types of shading make-up to make your ridges look beautiful and more realistic. You put darker shades under your ridges and a highlighter on top. This will make them stand out a lot more.
And you’re done!
Photo by Erwin van Dijk.