Coraline Button Eyes Makeup Part 4: Casting Appliances

How best to get boiling hot gelatine into a mould without burning yourself to pieces?

The answer of course is a bloody great syringe which doesn’t melt under such circumstances.  Originally this video was gong to a couple of minutes long…and then I realised I’d best show how I made the syringe or else much of it would be useless.

So, please let me know what you think of this video – the most ambitious of mine so far. I dabbled with illustrations mixed with the video to try and best show various techniques in as simple-to-understand way as possible.  What do you reckon?:

I will get on with the final video on application as soon as possible. I am enjoying the process of making the videos and am gearing up for Halloween. If you have any ideas for tutorials you’d like to see then PLEASE do let me know so I can put it into action if possible!

Happy blood-slinging.



All material, images and text © Stuart Bray 2011

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19 Responses to Coraline Button Eyes Makeup Part 4: Casting Appliances

  1. Pingback: Frankie 2 preppin’ & pourin’ | Learn Makeup Effects

  2. Myriam says:

    Hey Stuart,

    Great tutorial, can’t thank you enough for all the tips, and the vids help a great deal to know how a material is supposed to look like and flow.
    Quick question : I do not have a microwave in my studio so I am using a camping stove, on low heat, and stiring constantly. I used one of the techniques described by Todd Debreceni in his Special Makeup Effects book for the gelatine, using powdered gelatine, glyceryn, yeast and distilled water, and I ended up with quite a weak gelatine. Not as weak as the one shown in Gabriel Correia’s vid but mostly difficult to peal of (very difficult) and easily torn in the process.
    Would you by any chance have any idea where I could have gone wrong, and do you think that using a constant small heat in a pan as opposed to a microwave has any effect on the material’s finish?

    Thanks heaps again,


    • Stuart says:

      Using water creates, in my opinion, a weak gelatine.

      Substitute water with Sorbitol. I am not a chemist so can’t say for sure what the temperature – or the duration of it – will do. However, you can use a double boiler method.

      This involves a large pan of boiling water, into which you immerse a pan of gelatine & liquids. This ensures that the mixture does not exceed boiling water temperature.

      If at all possible, a microwave is so much quicker. You are not going to eat it, after all.


  3. Vero says:

    Hi Stuart!
    Loved the making of the syringe! Also, i would like to ask you about any good recipy for gelatine, and if you would recomend use flocking to colour it?
    Thank you so much for your tutorials! Amazing job!
    Best wishes,

    • Stuart says:

      Hey Vero

      Yes, I love using flocking in addition to pigments, and will be doing this as part of the ‘making your own gelatine’ tutorial which is coming soon!


  4. gabriel correia says:

    That one was crazy.
    I want to do some makeup masks with gelatine, but I can’t find the sorbitol to make it really strong.

    I’m using a recipe with:
    1 part of gelatine (dunno the bloom, but is a good one)
    2 parts of water
    2 parts de bi-destilated gliceryn

    But it makes a weak prostetic:

    Where should I look for the sorbitol? What kind of shop sells it?

    • Stuart says:


      Yeah, adding water makes for a weak gelatine mixture. All the ingredients can be got from Mouldlife. Unfortunately, sorbitol is one of those materials hard to find in small quantities. The food industry use it a lot so factories buy huge drums of it which, although you’d never run out, are impractical for the average consumer such as me.


      • gothmate says:

        I’ve found a brasilian site that sells small amounts 100ml and 1L of sorbitol right after posting here, thanks a lot for the replying. 😀

      • Steve says:

        You can also get 70% sorbitol from some pharmacies. It is used as a laxative. a recipe I found also uses zinc oxide as a strengthener. This one was harder for me to find, but is you know of any ceramic supply stores that make their own glazes you should find it there. It can also be under the name “zinc white” or “china white.”

        • Stuart says:

          Steve – thank you for pointing that out!

          I managed to buy Zinc Oxide from this place:

          I understand that it also raises the melting temperature so it is more stable as an appliance material. Because it is white (zinc is sometimes used in pigments and paints) you can use this to get the opacity and paleness rather than use a white pigment too.

          I hope to be covering this soon as I have just got my delivery of ingredients to make FX gelatine and, will of course, get it on camera for you!


  5. Steve says:

    A nicely done video. The only thing I was disappointed by was that you used store bought pre-made gelatin instead of showing us how to make your own. Also, had you ever used foamed gelatin? I would love to see tutorials on both of these.

    • Stuart says:

      Steve – I knew someone would call me on that!

      Well, it so happens that I ordered sorbitol, glycerine and gelatine from Mouldlife this morning and I will do a video on that just for you!


  6. great video as always, great that you’ve showed the plunger creation, may have to give that a go as got all the bits on hand 🙂
    any problems cleaning it out after use tho?
    you’re giving me and the team here a lot of knowledge which we greatly appreciate!

    • Stuart says:

      Hi Steve

      Once you are sure the mould is filled (or as sure as you can be – this is where gut instinct comes in) then you withdraw the syringe and block the back with clay or similar.

      Then you squeeze what remains back into the jug to use again later. Once the syringe is empty, you pull the plunger out so that it doesn’t cool down and lock the thing together. If that happens, then you use hot water to loosen it up and flush it out.

      Hot water cleans up gelatine a treat.


  7. Dennis Roberts says:

    I am really learning alot and i to am looking foward to Holloween.

  8. Craig says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Another superb video tutorial, great idea with the syringe and well demonstrated too.

    For someone like myself who is pursuing prosthetics as a fun hobby, your knowledge and experience is a real free bonus and I look forward to the tutorials coming online.

    I may trest myself to one of your beginners courses/days soon, they sound like they contain a fountain of information for those just starting to scratch the prosthetics surface.

    Keep up the good work.



  9. joe says:

    Great idea with the syringe!
    Maybe you can remember my thumb-“sleeve” question? I`ve injected it with a typical 20ml medical plastic syringe… and it became unbelievable hot. Next time I`ll use a metal syringe or your special thick-walled selfmade syringe! 😉

  10. Doug Morrow says:

    Really terrific tutorials Stuart! I’ve been a makeup artist for about 22 years, living in Canada and work constantly. Between you and Neil Gorton, I’ve been getting the best information available! Your tutorials are fun and I learn something new with each one….for instance, I’ve never injected gelatine, always poured it. Much cleaner and less chance of scalding…which I’ve done once or twice!

    Please keep doing these…they are awesome!



    P.S. Love the crazy jazz music!

    • Stuart says:

      Hi Doug

      I think pouring into moulds and clamping is much better in many ways. For one thing, it can be much quicker, certainly for smaller things. However, it kind of relies on the mould being like a bowl, accommodating the volume of gelatine required to fill the mould which inevitably goes everywhere.

      This is particularly tricky for things like foreheads etc where the curvature means that the mould often ends up being huge simply to make them a closed bowl shape. You need to put so much material in that it would cost more. That actually is not a tragedy for gelatine which can be remelted, but is prohibitively expensive for silicone.

      I basically took the silicone mentality and applied it to gelatine. As you saw, some concession is required to get it out of the syringe and into the mould swiftly, but once you get a feel for it, it’s a pretty quick method. That syringe can be used for silicone & gelatine for a thousand appliances now!

      Thanks for watching! I appreciate the support.


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