Halloween Howto : The Nasty Cut SFX

Hello Friends!

If you remember my very first WWT post ever, you’ll recall that it was Zombie Alice for Halloween! Fitting because Halloween is my absolute favorite.

Issa (among others) has been picking my skull for weeks now about how to do all kinds of FX… so, I thought I’d loop you all in to the discussion, because I know everyone here is interested in winning the grand prize at the Fright Fest, or The Monster Ball, or whatever it’s called in your neck of the woods.

Before you get started you’ll need to swing by my post at Examiner to see what supplies you’ll need to gather. But for efficiency sake, you can peep this slide show now, and go back to that later:

Created with flickr slideshow.

My favorite kind of out-of kit special FX makeup to do is what I call "The Nasty Cut."

I love it because it’s super simple and looks scary realistic. See:

To replicate this look follow my steps below:

1. Pick a flat area for your cut. Think carefully about areas of articulation when choosing a space to work, keep in mind that wax is not very flexible and will crack if placed on an area that bends.

2. Prep skin area with some toner to remove excess oils that would make the adhesive less effective.

3. Apply a thin layer Pros-aide or spirit gum to the cleaned area. Allow to dry slightly, until it is tacky to the touch.

4. Scoop a small amount of wax/putty using a metal spatula. A portion that is roughly the size of a marble should be ample. Cut in half.

5. Using the heat from your fingers, roll the wax into two long skinny “worms.” The “worms” should be about the length of the cut you are creating. Make the "worms" between 1/16 “ and 1/8” inches in diameter. Cut off any excess length. You can save the extra wax for another time, or use it for a different wound. 

Tip: the more you handle the wax, the more it will break down and melt, so you want to minimize the amount of handling as much as possible.

6. Lay the two wax “worms” side by side on top of the prepared area. They should touch slightly, but not be stuck together. Again keep in mind the movement of the muscles underneath. For example, if you chose to put a cut on the forehead, place your cut horizontally rather than vertically, so that the wax is compatible with the direction forehead muscles tend to move.

7. Using the flat side of the spatula, mush the ends of the worms and smooth them flush into the skin, moving away from the center. They should touch and disappear into each other.

8. Using the spatula again, carefully move along the outside of the worms smoothing the edges out from the opening of the “cut” so that the outside edges are flush with the skin. You can also run the spatula along the inside of the wound to shape and thin the walls and make it look like the skin is torn open. Once finished, the unpainted wound should look like the picture below:

9. For a longer lasting makeup, use a thin layer of plastic sealer to preserve the wax. Be careful not to use too much, it can become very brittle. Let the sealer set.

10. After sealing, use a foundation that matches the surrounding skin to cover the wax.

11. Now comes the really fun part. You can get really creative using an oil-based pigment cream palette (like a bruise wheel from Ben Nye or the FX Palette from Make Up For Ever) to "paint" the wound.

Before doing this, think about how long the wound has been there. Is it fresh? Is it jaundiced because the blood has drained out? Is there bruising from the trauma? Is the blood crusty and dry, or wet and oozing?

Also, You can also create depth by using deeper colors on the inside and lighter colors on the outside edges. Don’t be afraid to mix to create the right colors. Think fresh blood vs dried blood. Old bruises vs new bruises.

I find that looking up photos of real injuries online helps. (Gross, I know.)

12. After you are done with your paint job, you may want to set your work with a light dusting of translucent powder

13. Last, if the wound is "fresh" add fake blood into the wound. You can paint it in with a brush or use a spatula to scoop some from the container and place it in the wound. If you want some splattering, use an old toothbrush to create splattering or a porous sponge to dab around the wound.

My favorite is fake blood is coagulated blood. The jelly consistency keeps the blood in place and less likely to run right off your body.

Please feel free to leave me messages in the comments or contact me through Facebook with any questions!  Also, send me photos! I want to see what you have done.

If you’d like to see more examples of out-of-kit SFX please stop in at my blog Made(up) in NY. I have much more gore posted there.

Merry "Slaughtering." ;)

And Happy Halloween!


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