This tutorial comes after the first in my ‘Basic SFX’ series, Cuts With Liquid Latex. As I mentioned in that post, I will be posting more SFX content with basic tutorials for beginners and new techniques that I learn and more advanced looks or more specialised looks that I create that incorporate more than one basic skill. An example of that is my Joker Mouth Tutorial for Halloween.
This post is on a medium called Scar Wax and this can also just be called Special Effects Wax or various other names depending on the brand. For example, my scar wax is by Mehron and it’s called SynWax but Kryolan’s scar wax is called CineWax. This product is fairly cheap but not the easiest to work with but can give a more realistic effect than Liquid Latex.
Scar wax is more difficult to work with because it can be sticky, hard to manipulate and easy to crack. It can be especially hard to work with on parts of the body that move a lot so certain parts of the face and, as I found out, the hand.
It is quicker to work with (once you’re used to it) than liquid latex. This is definitely a beginner friendly option though compared to Third Degree silicone. It’s not impossible to make scar wax work but it requires patience for sure.
I use my Mehron SynWax in this post but I also own the Snazaroo Special FX Wax which is clear rather than flesh colour but is cheaper by a mile. My SynWax was £23 but my FX Wax was £3. Yes you get a significantly smaller amount but if you’re not using it often, the Snazaroo wax would be your best bet.
Now that intro is out the way, let’s crack on with the tutorial!
You Will Need:
Makeup Wipe/Makeup Remover/ 99% Alcohol (Isopropyl Myristate)
Spatula or Knife
Translucent or Banana Powder
Water Activated Paints (Red, Brown & Black)
Cut Up Bath Sponge or Stipple Sponge
The prep for this tutorial is significantly less than for the liquid latex cut but making sure you have a workspace that you don’t mind getting dirty is still key here.
Unlike with liquid latex where you can apply straight onto paint or makeup, scar wax needs a completely clean surface to be able to adhere to it. Using a makeup wipe to clear away any makeup, cream or lotion will suffice but I like to take a cotton wool pad with 99% alcohol (Ispropyl Myristate) and make sure the surface is 100% clear. Isopropyl Myristate is safe to use on skin and you will find it in a lot of makeup products you own! I find having a bottle to hand very useful for removing SFX and cleaning surfaces. 99% alcohol is also the only alcohol that will activate alcohol activated paints but we’ll get to that in future posts.
Using a spatula or knife, scoop out some scar wax. I would recommend using something metal and pretty rigid because if the scar wax is hard, it may break what you’re using. From experience, the Snazroo SFX Wax can be scooped up with a plastic spatula but my Mehron SynWax needed a metal cutlery knife (sorry mum).
You’ll need 2 roughly equal amounts and for a small to medium sized cut, I use the amount of wax that would make a medium sized marble.
Next, start to roll each of the wax piles into balls. If the wax is sticky, coat your fingers and palms in Vaseline so that the wax is easier to manipulate. Again, in my experience, the Mehron SynWax is a lot less sticky than the Snazaroo FX Wax.
You then want to roll them out into two equal length sausages that are as long as you want your wound to be. The sausages should be quite thick so that you can build up the sides of your cut.
This is the part where the patience is required.
Lay the first length of wax down where you want it on your skin and start smoothing down the outside edge into your skin with your finger or your spatula/knife. If you are using your finger, coating it in Vaseline may be a good idea.
The softer the wax the easier it is to work with so you need to keep it warm rather than try to work with it while it’s hard. You could use a hairdryer to warm it up but be careful not to melt the wax.
Build up the inside edge by shaping the edge how you want it. If you want a clean wound, you may want a straight edge but a more rough wound, you’ll want more rugged edges. I wanted a clean cut with slight ruggedness so I ran the knife blade along the top edge of the wound.
Do the same for the other length of wax, joining the ends of this strip to the ends of the already placed piece. At this point, you can make the opening of the wound as thick or as thin as you like. You may want a more closed cut or you may want an open gash like I’ve opted for.
Once you’re satisfied with the shape of your cut, use your translucent or banana powder to remove the shine from the wax. If your wax is flesh coloured, you could use a bit of bronzer instead to add irritation but if your wax is clear, you may want to use a pigmented powder or a light layer of foundation to match the wax to your skin colour. Because my SynWax is flash coloured, I just dusted over the top with banana powder by Makeup Revolution.
The painting steps are the same as the liquid latex cut.
Using black, do the same as with the brown to make the wound look deeper. How your wound looks is entirely up to you but this is the very basics of painting wounds. If you’re not too squeamish, study photos of wounds (or your own) to see how they are constructed and how to make them look more realistic.
And that’s your cut done! I wasn’t 100% happy with how mine turned out because it was the first time I’d used my Mehron SynWax instead of my Snazaroo FX Wax and I found this wax harder to work with.
I personally find latex easier to work with but I know some people prefer wax because it looks more realistic. Wax is definitely better for smaller projects purely because of the fact it doesn’t react well with movement.
When it comes to these creations, if you follow the tutorial and post it to Instagram or Twitter, don’t forget to tag me so I know my instructions helped someone! My Twitter is @/melaniewithaie and my Instagram is @/melaniewithanie.
I hope you learnt something today and I’d love to know what you’d like to see next! Leave me a comment and let me know!