The Magic Brush specialize in creating custom costumes and custom made prosthetics. Your only limit is your imagination, so what are you waiting for? Start thinking about the next event you really want to stand out at, and we are here to help! This particular “Medusa” headpiece was created for two clients in Wellington who were attending their end of year, Christmas Corporate Ball.

Custom Made Prosthetics

The clients came to us with their brief, images and pictures of the headpieces they were making. They wanted us to create custom made prosthetics for their forehead and a brow piece to hold three snakes that were to sit out from the piece. The ladies sent through images and ideas of colour scheme & shape, and our team got straight to work!

THE PROCESS:

Written brief and images from the client
Discussion of purpose and guidelines set by the client
Custom design: We are also able to custom create and draw to your specifications or inspiration (attracts an hourly rate for custom design)
Approval of design and quote
Full payment made (required for all custom made prosthetics) & completion date set
Measurements of clients taken and photos of face / reference taken as necessary

For this particular project, we had an existing life cast we could re-use. The client’s measurements were similar and the sculpture didn’t require the exact face to sit on. For some custom made prosthetic projects, especially for film and television; we need to take a life cast of the actor or model first.

THE SCULPTURE:

Samantha and Olivia worked on this project together. Sam sculpted the general shape and profile of the piece, while Olivia refined and put texture into the sculpture.  Olivia put walls onto the sculpture and prepped it ready for molding. Sam and Olivia then molded the piece together and Olivia took care of molding the snakes.

We used WED Clay to sculpt the prosthetic using a generic female head cast we already had. Since we had measurements from the client, we were fairly confident our prosthetic would fit. We also made some adjustments to our sculpt to allow for “cheating” or “re-fitting” of the prosthetic. The forehead of the snake was built up fairly thick (on the brow piece) so the snakes could rest in here and look like the were protruding out from the forehead.

MAKING THE MOLD: 

Want to know more about our mold making process? Find an earlier blog we wrote here: Orc SFX Makeup Blog

Running the Mold:

The custom made prosthetic was run using liquid latex with foam on the inside to hold it’s shape. The liquid latex was stippled into the mold and the layers were built up one by one.

By stippling in the liquid latex, layer by layer we could really control the thickness of the edges to help with application day.

THE MAKING OF: THE SNAKES: 

The snakes were made separately with wire inside so they would hold their shape and sit up straight from the “forehead holes”. We super glued the snakes in. We purchased $2 shop snakes and flat molded them in two halves.

Our process is outlined below:

Cut strips of cheap potters clay to even thickness. Make a bed big enough to fit 3 cut to size snakes. Since this clay will get thrown out, we recommend using cheap clay.
Press snakes in, belly down to make an impression. Dig clay out, enough so that snakes can be embedded half way into clay.
TIP: Due to the shape of the rubber snakes, it was really hard to get them to sit flat. We used pins to straighten out and hold the snakes in the shape we required.
The snakes were then fit into the clay bed and a brush was used to smooth out the surrounding clay. We made sure the clay sat flush against the snakes (so the plaster would not seep into the clay bed). It’s best not to rush this step for nice clean molds. Ensure you take time to create smooth edges and straight lines.
We created a wall around the clay so we could pour our mold into this.
We made the mold from Ultracal30. We mixed up a thicker than slush coat, but thinner than mud coat consistency. We poured in the ultracal for this mold and used 2 layers of burlap for strength.
Once the Ultracal has set, flip the mold and clean the clay out. Ensure you Vaseline the stone well to prevent it from sticking to the other side. This is also where adding keys becomes handy for opening the mold later on.
Repeat these steps but with the snakes belly side up!!

Snake molds – with an insane time coming up to Christmas, we were running molds out of our car in-between jobs!! It’s most definitely messy business!!

Snake molds – with an insane time coming up to Christmas, we were running molds out of our car in-between jobs!! It’s most definitely messy business!!

For this project, we had to deliver two Medusa Custom made Prosthetics, which meant 6x snakes. To speed up the process with our deadline soon approaching (and the stippling method failing), we decided to fill the molds completely and leave them in the car to bake in the heat. This method proved successful and the snakes dried in no time.

We matched the snakes up, put wire through the centre of them and glued them together. We then attached the custom made prosthetic to the snakes with pros-aid and stippled latex around the edges to hold them in place.

The prosthetics were painted using Skin Illustrator: Alchemy palette and water soluble oils. We avoided painting right to the edges so that blending them into the makeup would be easier!

What do you think? Share your thoughts in our comments section below, we would love to hear from you!

Let our team add a little Magic to your next event, click here for a link to our custom made prosthetic services