Fake wound special FX makeup tutorial

A few weeks ago, I did Ross’s makeup for our Rocky Horror Party. He dressed up as Eddie, the ex-delivery boy, who has a massive wound on his forehead where Dr Frank N Furter removed half of his brain. While we were thinking up ideas for Ross’s costume, I started doing some research about special effects makeup. I wanted to make the wound look somewhat realistic, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune. Most of the tutorials and makeup books suggest that you use specialist makeup products, like scar modelling paint. These products can be quite expensive, and as this was just a once-off costume, I started scouting around for other ideas. I have come up with a pretty good special effects makeup process for making scars and wounds, which uses products that you are likely to already have at home. If you don’t have all the materials at home, all of the things that I have used in this tutorial can be purchased quite cheaply at a supermarket or junk store.


You will need:

– Edible gelatine

– Plastic cup

– Popsicle stick

– Liquid foundation in a colour that matches your skin tone

– Makeup sponge

– Translucent powder

– Large powder brush

– Rusty red lipstick

– Black eyeliner pencil

– Petroleum jelly

– Thin makeup brush

– Needle and thread (optional)



You can apply the wounds to any part of your body. If you are applying to an area that is close to your hairline or eyebrows, be very careful not to drip any of the gelatine mixture onto these areas, because it can be very difficult to remove. To be on the safe side, rub a dollop of petroleum jelly over your eyebrows and hairline before you begin, and make sure that your hair is tied back from your face.



Step 1.

Mix 2 heaped teaspoons of gelatine powder and 2 ¼ teaspoons of hot water in the paper cup. Use a popsicle stick to stir the mixture until you have a thick, runny paste.


Step 2.

Using the popsicle stick, apply a thin line of the gelatine mixture to your skin. Then add a second line of the gelatine mixture parallel to the first line. Make sure that the ends meet, so that it looks like a gash. You can make the wound as large or as small as you want.



Step 3.

The gelatine will set rather quickly. Before it sets, you can use the popsicle stick to mould it into the shape you want. When the gelatine sets it will be a little soft and slightly tacky. It should bond quite closely to your skin.


Step 3.

When the gelatine is set, take a makeup sponge and a little foundation and blend it over the entire ‘wound’. Make sure that you blend it into the surrounding skin as well. The gelatine tends to be a bit waxy, so the foundation tends to go on better if you dab it on, rather than swiping over the wound.

Step 4.

Take a large powder brush and dip it into some translucent powder. Baby powder would also work fine, but use it sparingly. Sweep the powder gently over the wound to set the foundation and give it a matte look.


Step 5.

Take a thin brush and load it up with a rusty red lipstick. Carefully fill in the inside of the wound.


Step 6.

Use the eyeliner pencil to draw a light line down the centre of the inside of the wound. Then, use your brush to blend it with the red. This will give the wound the illusion of depth.


Step 7.

Use your thin brush to apply a very light, thin line of red lipstick just around the outside of the wound. This will make the wound stand out, and make it look fresh and irritated.


Step 8.

Use a lipgloss or petroleum jelly on a thin brush to dab the inside of the wound. This will make the wound look wet and juicy. Don’t use a lipgloss that has any sort of shimmer or glitter, or it will look ridiculous. Petroleum jelly is ideal for this step.


Step 9.

If you want to add stitches to your wound, simply thread a needle and carefully sew the thread through the gelatine ‘prosthesis’. Be very careful not to sew your skin.


The wound should last for several hours. If the edges of the gelatine start to lift, you can use a tiny bit of eyelash glue to stick it back down.



To remove the wound, you can just peel it off. If you have applied it to an area that has a lot of hair on it, such as your arm or leg, soak the area in a little warm water for a few minutes, and the gelatine should just wipe off.


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