How to make liquid latex alternatives

Written by christina sloane
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How to make liquid latex alternatives
Gelatin often is used in theatrical make-up. (make up image by Mat Hayward from

Liquid latex is an easy-to-use medium for creating theatrical special effects. The product commonly is applied in skin prosthetics and used to resemble fake scars, warts and burns. If you or an actor you are working has an allergy to latex, you can use gelatin to create many of the same effects. Used by professional performers such as the late comic Andy Kaufman and singer/actress Bernadette Peters, gelatin is a safe, effective and inexpensive alternative to liquid latex.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Envelope of unflavored gelatin
  • Food colouring
  • Make-up foundation and/or blush
  • Witch hazel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn meal
  • Small saucepan
  • Paint brush

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  1. 1

    Pour 1/4 cup cold water into a saucepan.

  2. 2

    Sprinkle gelatin into the water and wait for one minute.

  3. 3

    Turn on a burner to low heat and stir the solution until the gelatin dissolves.

  4. 4

    Add food colouring to the mix to create a bloody or discoloured effect. If you want a flesh-toned effect, do not add food colouring.

  5. 5

    Wait for the gelatin mixture to cool.

  6. 6

    Paint corn syrup on your or another actor's face in the shape of a burn, scar, scab or whatever effect you want to create.

  7. 7

    Apply corn meal, scrunched up tissue paper or other materials on top of the corn syrup to help create an effect's desired shape and texture. Corn meal works well for creating the texture of scabs. Tissue paper is best for replicating scars and peeling skin. When using corn meal, wait two minutes after the application and tap off any excess before painting on gelatin.

  8. 8

    Gently dab a make-up foundation and/or blush over the area of skin to help your special effects blend in with the rest of the skin, or to give it a slightly reddish appearance (such as a freshly healed scar.)

  9. 9

    Gently paint gelatin over and around the target area of skin to seal the effect in place. Wait for it to dry.

  10. 10

    Dissolve the edges of gelatin with witch hazel. This will help it blend with the rest of the skin.

Tips and warnings

  • Gelatin effects can melt in high heat.

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