I have tried sculpting and casting a vampire brow prosthetic once before and I wasn’t very happy with how it came out. I kind of just had 3 raised lines above each eye and then covered the prosthetic in a red and blue paint job. I called that one a test run and definitely needed to try again.
Products I Used:
- Clay for sculpting
- Face cast
- Plaster of Paris
- Fx gelatin (or homemade with gelatin powder and glycerin)
- Pros aide
- White, brown, red, yellow Mehron face paint
- BYS Berries eyeshadow palette
- Liquid foundation
- Black eyeliner pencil
- Palladio liquid eyeliner
- Vampire teeth
Sculpting the Brow
I packed a few pieces of clay onto my face cast and smoothed them out until I had a jutting brow shaped area to work with. Using a ball stylus sculpting tool, I made grooves in the areas I wanted the brow furrows to be. I went back and forth a few times with my fingers and the tool to smooth these out. I used the ball tool to tap tiny little dots all over the brow so this piece had a some dimension and wasn’t just totally smooth.
Making a Plaster Cast of the Brow
I rolled out a long strip of clay and created a barrier around the brow sculpt, keeping it as close as possible to the sculpt while still leaving enough room for the prosthetic to taper out into thin edges. I covered it all with a little Vaseline so my plaster wouldn’t lock to my face cast. I’ve broken a few molds by not being able to easily pop them off. I mixed up some plaster of Paris in a ratio of about one part water to two parts plaster and dripped small amounts over my sculpt. I keep adding more plaster until the whole sculpt was covered and added enough to the whole piece so I had no thin spots that would break.
Creating the Gelatin Prosthetic
My mold popped off my face cast without much force and luckily nothing broke. The plaster mold looked pretty good and none of the clay stuck in my mold but I did have to scraped it off my face cast.
I mixed up some FX gelatin using 1 tbsp of Knox gelatin powder, 1 tbsp of glycerin, ½ tbsp of water, and a drop of liquid foundation. I mixed the gelatin and glycerin first, mixed in the water and foundation, then heated it in short 5-7 second bursts until it was just melted but not boiling.
I poured the FX gelatin into my plaster mold and stuck my face cast back in the mold but because the mold is slightly rounded from my forehead, the gelatin leaked out of the nose area and didn’t fill the outer brow ridges. Luckily, you can reheat FX gelatin a bunch of times so I let my failed attempt harden up, peeled it off the cast, reheated it, and tried again. This time I poured it into the mold and tipped the mold back and forth to coat the outer edges, moving it in every direction to get some thinner edges forming as well. Before it fully hardened, I stuck my face cast back into the mold and propped it up so the face cast looked down into the mold. I let it harden up at this angle so the gelatin would leak down out of the mold and leave air pockets.
I let the gelatin sit for a few hours, it doesn’t really take too long to harden up, and popped the plaster mold off my face cast again. I gently peeled the gelatin prosthetic out and it turned out pretty nicely. The edges could have been thinner but my prosthetic making skills are a work in progress.
Applying the Brow Prosthetic
To avoid getting a ton of adhesive stuck in my eyebrow hairs, I coated them with a thick layer from a glue stick, let them dry, and patted them down with baby powder. I covered the back of my vampire brow prosthetic with some pros aide, gave it about 15 seconds to get a little tacky, and positioned it on to my forehead.
I’m pretty sure it was a little crooked but, whatever, the asymmetry might have added some character. I pressed the prosthetic into my skin and held the edges down for about a minute while the adhesive dried.
There were a few spots that my edges didn’t lay flat to my skin so I ripped apart a cotton ball and used small chunks to fill the holes. I coated them with more pros aide and they actually patched up the gaps pretty well. They did create their own problem of looking quite different than the prosthetic or my skin though.
Painting an Even Base
I patted some liquid foundation over my skin and the gelatin prosthetic. The foundation didn’t have much effect on the prosthetic since I had already mixed some of that color into the molten gelatin. Once the foundation was dry, I added a light layer of white Mehron face paint. Neither of these colours helped to blend the bad spots on my edges as I had hoped.
Speckling Some Skin Tones
I have never attempted to use the chipping technique with face paint (or with any other paint for that matter) but this seems to work pretty well for other artists when blending prosthetics to your skin so I thought I’d give it a try. I used brown, white, red, and the tiniest bit of yellow, splattered onto my face by putting a little paint on a thick, stiff brush, pulling the bristles back, and releasing to let the paint fly where it wanted.
A few times I had splotches that were way too big and thick so I blotted those down with a stipple sponge. I went back and forth with these colors in different layers until I had an even, mottled tone across my whole face. I found that this technique did help to disguise my bad edges a little more.
Vamping up the Eyes and Lips
I used the Shaded and Cherry Bomb colors from my BYS Berries palette to get a dark shadow going on in my eyes, and also shadowed under my brows and on either side of my nose to get some deep, dark shadows happening. I bought three BYS palettes from Amazon a few weeks ago and that Berries palette has become my go to palette for everything. I really love all the red and brown tones in it. After I got over playing with my eyeshadow palette, I lined my lower waterline with a black eyeliner pencil and brushed some mascara on my eyelashes.
Because I don’t seem to have a red lipstick anywhere, I used some red Mehron face paint, mixed in a tiny bit of black, and painted my lips a vampy blood red shade. I pulled the paint as far to the edges of my mouth as I could to make my mouth sharper and longer.
Fanging out the Teeth
I added a few sets of vampire teeth to an amazon order I placed a while ago and haven’t had many chances to use them. I grabbed the longest of the three sets, put a tiny dot of Polident inside each tooth, dried off my real incisors so they’d stick, and put the fake teeth over my own, holding them for about 30-45 seconds until they were good and stuck.
These teeth don’t fit very snugly and they have a very apparent gap where they end and your natural tooth starts, but they’re cheap and do a pretty decent job of looking like long, vicious fangs.
The Final Results
What I Learned
The prosthetic brow didn’t lay completely flat on my head so my edges didn’t blend very smoothly. I could have fixed this by making sure the gelatin spread out further, thinner, and more evenly when pouring it. I have been trying to pay more attention to where the gelatin is going to go when I’m making a sculpt, pouring the melted gelatin, and positioning the mold to set.
I’m pretty happy with how the face paint and makeup turned out. I do need a better chipping brush because I had used using a regular, stiff makeup brush that wasn’t flicking much paint around and definitely wasn’t doing it very evenly. Some of this could have been my own lack of experience with splashing specks of paint on my own face. This technique was definitely a lot of fun and I love the effects you can get so I will be trying this a lot more when trying to paint prosthetics and skin tones.