Making your own FX grade gelatine

When I did the Coraline videos, I used pre-made gelatine blocks and so this video is here to correct that!

Gelatine blocksMaking your own gelatine blocks is easy with the right materials.  Food gelatine – the kind in supermarkets and general stores – is not really strong enough.  It will make a gelatine block, but won’t stand much punishment and wear, and melts easily.

Gelatine is graded in strengths by a rating system known as it’s ‘bloom’, and the higher the number, the stronger te gelatine will be.  This stuff from Mouldlife is 300 bloom, which is ideally the strength we need.

The other ingredients are sorbitol and glycerine (aka glycerol), used as food sweetener and sugar substitute.  These are easily found from food suppliers and wholesalers, but very often only in huge drums.  Often these suppliers will not sell small amounts.  You may find a retailer or some supplier who has bough it in bulk and is retailing in the amounts required for a kilo of gelatine blocks, it all depends on where in the world you are and what is available to you.  I am in the UK and got everything from Mouldlife as it was easiest to get all the ingredients in one box and pay one delivery charge.

Also, be aware that most FX gelatine is pork based, made from collagen found in skin and bones.  However, it is quite a cheap material (and reusable – just clean and remelt it) and a good value alternative to silicone for learning and low budget jobs.

Anyway, here is the video…please leave a comment!

Happy sticking



All material, images and text © Stuart Bray 2011

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Making your own FX grade gelatine

  1. Pingback: fx artist tutorial - Claremont Chambers

  2. Pingback: Misconceptions and Facts: Lies and Truth About the Business of Modeling

  3. Joshua B. says:

    After 3 years of research, I’ve found this one video to be the single most informative piece of media on the internet. Thank you for that! I keep coming back to it year after year. We own a makeup and photography studio and have been using molds to manufacture gelatin prosthetics for resale. I use your formula and we’ve always had issues with melting from heat and sweat. As you might imagine, this is a problem for people under hot studio lights or even someone dancing at a costume party. I’ve seen a few mentions about zinc oxide adding durability and even you mentioned sealing the prostehtic before application, which is brilliant. I know this is an old post but you are a master of the art and I was hoping you could tell me what sealant you use and if there are any other tips to keep these lasting longer throughout use? Thanks again!

  4. Daniel Donovan says:

    Hi, this is somewhat of an old post but still extremely helpful and viable. I do have a question in that the first time I made this I had no sorbitol and so mixed just the gelatine and glycerin (I can’t remember to what ratios, probably 1:1). Everything went fine, mix was clear gelatine dissolved and left to set in the fridge. I had nice little blocks the next day… unfortunately everytime I picked one up the surface would melt and when I tried applying some to my face it would continually remelt and slide off in a mess.

    Have you any idea why this might have happened?


    • Lucy says:

      The ratio of gelatine to glycerin should definitely not be 1:1. I would say that you used way too much glycerin. The ratio should probably be around 3:1 or even 4:1.

  5. Erica says:

    Hey Stuart!
    There’s no way to keep gelatine clear when using zinc oxide is there? I have a hunch that it’ll always end up milky colored. Thoughts?

    • Stuart Bray says:

      Yes that is correct. However if you intent to pigment it a flesh tone then this is not usually an issue. If you need it to be more transparent than leave out the zinc oxide.

  6. Jon says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. Just returned to it and my first batch is chillin’ now. For anyone in the UK having problems sourcing sorbitol try they do small quantities for a reasonable price. Hope this helps someone.

  7. Continuez sur cette voie, c’est un plaisir de vous suivre.

  8. marc bienvenue says:

    Hi Stuart. This would be my ump tenth gelatin formula I’ve collected so far.

    I’ve been doing gelatine and foam gelatine prosthetic appliances for years, and been looking around for different variations of the process myself. Youtube has a couple of videos I’ve posted on the subject.

    Hope this is of interest.

  9. joe says:

    More ideas for Blogposts needed?

    Precise Clay Modellings:
    – How to create depth just by modelling (let a 0,5mm deep wound appear as 1,5mm)
    – How to create different skin and flesh layers (epidermis, hypodermis, fat tissue…)
    as an example for both:

  10. Gabriel Correia says:

    I knew this recipe but never had the chance to put it to test.
    This year, I have done a Gelatine prosthetic for Zombie Walk Rio de Janeiro and it worked fine.

    Very Strong and easy to make.
    Besides the difficulty to apply it myself.
    Here is a pic:

    • Hkautomobile says:

      Really terrific tuliroats 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 tuliroats 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!Best,Doug P.S. Love the crazy jazz music!

  11. joe says:

    BUT: I`ve never tried it 😉
    Just to soften some SGM-blocks I`ve bought

  12. Lorena (Mexico) says:

    Hi Stuart! It’s been a while since I suscribed to this website and I never comment anything, sorry. I just wanted to thank you, most of the things I know about prosthetic make up I’ve learned it from you, you really inspire me, I thought i’d let you know that! hehe Thank you very much, Stuart. I hope I have the chance to meet you someday, bye! Btw, this video helped me a lot.

  13. joe says:

    Well, let`s learn from Todd Debrecenis Book:
    “Sorbitol will add to the tear strength of the gelatine”
    And glycerin should make the gelatine softer (and of course moister) – like a deadener.
    Zinc Oxide Powder can be used to increase the tear resistancy as well.

  14. Love your work and so appreciate you sharing your skills.
    I love Special FX, but am vegetarian, do you know of any substitute that would work almost as well, but still blend on the edges as easily and be more cost effective than silicone please?

    Thanks again

    also a tutorial on achieving the most seamless latex edges would be great, I end up having to hide it with a smear of Kryolan blood!

    • Stuart says:

      Hi Jules

      I don’t know what alternatives would qualify. Gelatine is the cheaper alternative to silicone, and I have heard of gelatines which are not made from animal derivatives, I don’t personally know of any.

      Silicone is expensive, although I would argue small appliances are actually very reasonable. If silicone gel costs £25 a kilo, a wound which uses 10 grams of material is only using 25 pence worth of material. It is after all the cutting edge material, so naturally it isn’t going to be peanuts.

      The edge issue on latex is an interesting one. I foucs a lot on this in the Awesome Latex Ecourse and my blog post on edges may help. Send me some pics of your edges and I will gladly look them over and advise.


    • Angelina says:

      I have seen vegegel for sale in tiny packets in Sainsbury’s, obviously this is very small quantities but I reckon it will work

  15. Adam Chorley says:

    Hi Stuart, excellent tutorial. I made some gelatine for Halloween and won Best Costume for a version of your “torn face” makeup. Thank you!! I made it with just gelatine powder and glycerol – I did not have access to sorbitol.
    I ‘glued’ it to my face with cooled down gelatine. This worked fine, but after sweating the appliance failed to grip any longer. What is the best ‘glue’ to adhere the appliance? Keep up the good work…….

  16. Joe says:

    Here it is:
    vs. the traditional one:

    I think it`s made from the same type of gelatine – but with a special “transparency therapy” 😉

    • Brandomaster says:

      Hi Stuart,Another superb video turotial, 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 turotials 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.RegardsCraig

  17. Joe says:

    Ha, in 1992 I was able to walk just since a few months 😀
    Great Video again.
    What is the difference between Sorbitol and Gelatine – respectively: what if I leave out one of it?

    There is totally clear gelatine on the market, too (ready to melt). Without this light brown color as in your video. It`s colourless and clear.
    Do you know how to make this clear gelatine?

    • Stuart says:

      Hi Joe

      Nope – never heard of it. Sounds awesome, and if you find it then please let me know. However, for skin I pile a load of yellow in as part of the skin tone anyway, so the yellowness is not a problem despite the clear stuff being really really cool.

      I wonder what it is made from? As to the difference between sorbitol and glycerine…I have no idea. It is inherited wisdom on my prt to use it, and it is rigt and proper that tests with both and neither be made. I have not got time to do these tests myself just yet but I would love to know why myself.


  18. Paul Hodder says:

    Hi Stuart, Awesome upload and it’s going to help me greatly
    previously I’ve used a recipe I found online but found it took longer to set and was slightly soft until it went cold, this could be because I’ve been using food grade which you get in the shops but it still worked ok for some appliances
    I have found sorbital in homebrew shops which come in 1000ml bottles so good for small amounts.
    I will be going online to mouldlife and ordering some 300 Bloom as I’ve got a zombie viral coming up and I have loads of Gelatine prosthetics and wounds to make up
    Thanks again, your work is awesome and so helpfull…were you in 1992 when I was 17 and trying to get into the business all we had was books, Grande illusion and Fangoria & gorezone lol ..the internet is great for this.

    • Stuart says:

      Hi Paul

      Ha ha …in 1992 I started at Wimbledon school of Art and was similarly bumping around in the dark without Google, a computer, email or mobile phone (or short lived attention spans) so would have been very little use to you then!


  19. Thomas Pernull says:

    Hello Stuart! This is by far the most informativ clip for fx gelatine I have ever seen! Thanks a lot!

    • Christina says:

      Hey Stuart, Great tutorial, can’t thank you eugnoh 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, Myriam

      • Stuart says:

        Sounds like the water. Water makes a weaker gelatine, I never use it…just glycerine and sorbitol.

        I use a microwave as fire hazard is greatly reduced, you have a timer which you use to make sure you don’t overdo it and they cost £30 from the local store for a cheap one. May be worth investing in one just for gelatine.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.