Getting Started: Adhesives and Removers

Thursday, 21 April 2011, 8:00 | Author : Kricket
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If your character has long elf ears, excessive facial hair or a deep wound, we recommend purchasing latex prosthetics to better emulate your character.  Given that there are a wide variety of prosthetic suppliers online, we are going to teach you how to use adhesives and removers.

Note: If this is your first time using skin adhesives, apply a small amount in an inconspicuous area to monitor your skin reaction.

To begin, apply a small amount of adhesive onto the edge of the prosthetic.  (Most bottles come with application brushes attached to the lid.)  For best results, apply adhesive to both surfaces that you are bonding and wait for the adhesive to become tacky before attaching.  Once the prosthetic is securely attached, you can layer Liquid Latex over the seam to make the transition appear more natural.  Once these adhesives dry they become water and sweat resistant, so you will need to use commercially available solvents to remove them.  These removers can be applied using q-tips or latex sponges.  If you apply too much force when “peeling” the latex, you might end up irritating or damaging the skin.

If you notice that your prosthetic is starting to fall off of its own accord, this is most likely due to sweat.  Unfortunately, these adhesives are not sweat-proof, so if you are in a warm environment, physically active, and/or sweating heavily, take a moment to dry your skin and reapply the adhesive as necessary.

Popular adhesives listed in order of strength:

Spirit Gum adhesive is made up of SD Alcohol 35-A and resin. It is traditionally used within the theatrical community, even though it is the weakest of all the available adhesives.
Kryolan Medical Adhesive is a silicone-based adhesive that is designed to be hypoallergenic and reduce skin irritation. Many people complain about the strong smell.
Pros-Aide is a very strong, non-toxic, water-based adhesive. We recommend purchasing Pros-Aide only if the previous two adhesives were unsuccessful.

Popular removers listed in order of strength:

If you purchase Spirit Gum from a party-supply store, it will often come in a pack with a bottle of Spirit Gum Remover, the obvious counterpart that is made specifically to remove Spirit Gum.
Detachol is gentle and non-irritating and has a lot of medical applications. It is reported to be able to remove medical adhesive and even Pros-Aide.
Bond-Off is by far the strongest remover and can easily remove Pros-Aide adhesive. It does not come cheap, however, and it leaves an oily residue, so be sure to clean your skin with soap and water or Ben Nye Hydra Cleanse after use.
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