Prosthetic Application Guide

Materials

Before starting everything you need to make sure you have all the materials necessary.

You will need a proper form of adhesive. Pros-Aide is the standard adhesive used widely by most makeup artists.  It's strong enough to hold muzzles and faces in place for extended periods of time and remain budget friendly. Medical Adhesive and Telesis Adhesive are incredibly strong, stronger than Pros-Aide and require removers, however these adhesives are very espensive. Liquid Latex can also be used as an adhesive, but it is weak compared to all other adhesive and ammonia vapour can irritate the eyes. Spirit Gum isn't recommended for larger pieces because it is too weak to hold on large prosthetics for long periods of time, it's best used for noses or crepe hair.

Make sure to have makeup too! Water based and oil based makeups will both work well, though the choice is yours depending on which you prefer to work with.  Many good brands exist like Wolfe FX, Ben Nye, Mehron, Kryolan, Snazaroo and many more. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Experimentation is the key to find what you're the most comfortable with. Water based makeup can be affected by sweat and water, but it's easier to clean up.  Oil based makeup is resiliant, however it can smudge and smear and stain clothing.  Alcohol based makeup can cost more, but it's as easy to use as water based makeup and won't be affected by water.  Regular cosmetics found in depratment stores can also work very well for skin tones.

You'll need tools and other items such as scissors, brushes, cotton swabs, sponges and paper towels. If you so desire, an airbrush can also help with certain makeups and paints.  Gloves can help avoid staining your hands.

Lastly, remember to have your accessories together like fur, crepe hair, whiskers, teeth, contact lenses, etc.

For removing the makeup, you'd either need soap for the water based makeup or cold cream for grease based makeup. For removing the adhesives, Bond-Off, Super Solv, Telesis Remover or Pros-Aide Remover can be used to dissolve Pros-Aide.  Medical Adhesive and Telesis Adhesive have their own removers. Liquid latex generally doesn't need a remover.


Application Process

Step 1 : Preparation
Make sure your model's face is clean shaven and free of makeup, oil, soap and anything else that may interfere with the adhesive. Do not put moisturizer or cream on before application as it will make your skin greasy.  If you need to use a sweat stopping agent, now would be the time to use it.  Tie and pin back any long hair to keep it from being in the way.

 

Step 2 : Fitting
Hold your prosthetic up to your face and see if any parts need to be trimmed.  Using sharp scissors, trim away any excess material around the eyes or mouth to make the piece sit right on your face.  For Hot Foam latex prosthetics, you can open up nostrils for breathing by gently picking away little pieces of hot foam latex from the inside of the prosthetic.  Use small scissors to make any holes clean. For Slush Cast Latex prosthetics, you can snip open the nostrils of the nose.  Vinyl or rubber tubing can also help with opening up airways.  For all materials, larger muzzles can have the area between the nose and upper lip cut open to make a small breathing passage.  When applying multi-part prosthetics, try to start with the pieces that will cover the model's nose, such as the top parts of muzzles, before applying other pieces.

 

Step 3 : Tracing
Place the prosthetic up to the face and trace it out using a your base color of makeup, in this case, beige. This will help determine where to put adhesive onto the face and where to place the prosthetic when gluing it on later.

 



Step 4a : Gluing
For Pros-Aide, use a cotton swab or throw-away brush to spread adhesive on both the prosthetic and on the face.  You don't always need to put adhesive all over, as there may be times where only a 1/2" band of adhesive would be necessary. Start with the prosthetic and then put adhesive on the model's face.

Wait for the Pros-Aid to dry completely.  It will go from white to transparent and remain tacky to the touch.  A hair dryer can help speed this process up.  Once the adhesive is dry on both the prosthetic and on the face, begin carefully positioning and placing the two sides together.  When the prosthetic is pressed onto the face, the adhesive on both the face and the prosthetic will bond. It is important to place it properly on the first try as peeling the piece away from the face may lead to the adhesive not making a proper bond or tearing the prosthetic.

To make this step easier, you can glue down a section of the prosthetic at a time, begining with the nose and working your way outward to the cheeks, chin and forehead.

 


Step 4b : Overlapping
Multi-piece prosthetics such as muzzles will need to have some overlapping.  Corners of the mouth should line up and may need to be trimmed to line up properly.  Simply repeat steps 2, 3 and 4a for as many pieces as necessary such as lower jaws and brows.

 

Step 5 : Edges
Once all pieces have been applied onto the model's face.  You may want to blend the edges.  For theatre productions or LARPers, this my not be necessary as fine detail isn't always necessary.  Liquid latex or Cabopatch (thickened Pros-Aide) work best for this step.  For any large gaps between pieces, small pieces of tissue may be necessary.  Begin anywhere and work your way around the seams, patching the edges.  For Cabopatch, use a brush to place a small amount onto the seam and use a small amount of water to help smooth it out. Don't forget to go over seamlines between overlapping prosthetic pieces.

 

Step 6 : Foundation Color
Once all the gluing, blending and patching are completed, begin applying the foundation colors of makeup.  It's best to begin with white or other lighter colors first, then proceed with medium, then darker colors, saving black for last.  Use a brush or sponge for this task to ensure an even coating all over your face and on the prosthetic.

 


Step 7 : Shading
Shading water based makeup is simple.  Use a brush to put a small amount of the lighter and darker colors where you want shading to be.  In this case, dark brown and white.  Next, use a damp sponge and begin dabbing at the area to even out the coloring.  If necessary use more foundation/base color to get an even gradient.

 

Step 8 : Details
Details can range from fine lines with a fan brush or small brush, speckles from flicking a toothbrush or adding black lines and detals.  Also coloring teeth and eyebrows, adding eyeliner or mascara.

 

Step 9 : Finishing
Once the makeup is applied, for water based makeup, use hairspray or a finishing spray to set the makeup in place.  Oil based makeup will need translucent powder to help keep it from smudging and smearing and then being sprayed with finishing spray or hairspray.

 


Step 10 : Accessories & Costume
This is where hairwork can be added as well as putting in dentures, contact lenses and putting the rest of the costume on