Costume adhesives, glues, and other sticky things.
What do I use to attach my Aradani product?
“Spirit gum is an adhesive, made mostly of SD Alcohol 35-A (the solvent, or “spirit”) and resin (the adhesive, or “gum”), used primarily for affixing costume prosthetics such as wigs or false facial hair. It has been manufactured since the 1890s, and has long been a standard tool in theatrical performances where prosthetic makeup or affixed costuming is used. It has also often been used in burlesque, in affixing pasties.
Spirit Gum is made of toxic materials and is not edible. It can be loosened from the skin (or any other surface) through the use of an acetone-based remover.
Ingredients: Isopropyl Alcohol, Rosin, Copal, & Silica”
We use spirit gum the most. Attaching latex products with spirit gum is easy, and in almost all circumstances, spirit gum works well. When you buy elf ears from us, you should use spirit gum. Unless you are allergic to it, which in our travels we have found very few people are.
To test, you can put a small amount on the underside of your arm and leave it there for a couple of hours. If it doesn’t get red and scratchy, you should be ok.
Our spirit gum is Graftobian brand, which we have found to be the best spirit gum on the market. It provides a strong bon, but it also completely dries, which makes removal easy. Some spirit gums stay tacky, which means it is a pain to pull off the prosthesis, and it takes a bit to clean off. We are very happy we found the Graftobian brand.
- Sold through many distributors (local and online)
- Easy removal
- Fast and easy Clean-up
- People can be allergic
- Can’t be used with Silicone
Flesh Latex is our least favorite way to attach prosthetics. People come to us all the time showing us how well their elf ears are blended in with latex, and they are right if blended in with latex and painted well, it looks great. The only problem is it ruins your prosthetic much faster than any other adhesive.
When you use latex on latex, you are slowly building up a bulky mass of latex on what should be a thin edge on your appliance. This means it will look good about 2 or 3 times, then your edge will be ruined. So the answer is, yes you can blend in the edges of your elf ears or masks with tissue paper and flesh latex, but in the long run, your appliances will look good for only a short period.
- Can blend in the edges of your appliance
- In applied well, can really make your stuff look real.
- Stops looking as good after a couple of runs.
- Long set up time.
- If you don’t get it right, it doesn’t look that much better.
- Can’t be used on Silicone, or near silicone, or even look at Silicone (latex causes silicone to not cure)
From the ADM Tronic website:
“The “original” water-based adhesive for the skin. It adheres for long periods without irritation. Pros-Aide® is the leading adhesive used for medical prosthetic applications. Pros-Aide® is the standard in the industry for adhering appliances and other make-up components to skin. It is safe to use on all skin including sensitive areas, gives a strong bond, has high water resistance, and is non-toxic and completely safe.
Pros-Aide® is the base for PAX Paint™ – a combination of water-based colors with Pros-Aide®. PAX Paint™ is a flexible color with high bond strengths used for the skin and many surfaces.
Pros-Aide® has been used in thousands of projects in filming major motion pictures, stage and TV.”
We have used many different types of pro adhesive over the years with varying degrees of effectiveness. We got in a sample of the original, Pros-aide today. I tried it out and I was very impressed with it. I used it to adhere a Silicone mask and I wore the mask around the office for about 2 1/2 hours with no problems. According to documentation, you need a remover, but after that amount of time it had become loose around the edges and it peeled off pretty easily. I do feel like it would have stayed adhered if I had left it alone for another couple of hours. The remover did help cleaning the appliance and my skin.
Pros-aide is a contact adhesive, so you put some on your skin and on the appliance. I was putting the mask on by myself and once I put it on, I wanted to adjust it a bit, and I couldn’t. This might be a small draw back seeing that most cosplayers rely on themselves to put on all their own pieces.
Pros-aide is a medical adhesive, so it is safe for the skin and from what I have read, generally non allergenic.
- Can be used on silicone
- Very strong bond.
- Can be used to make PAX Paint
- Created for the medical industry, so it is meant to be non allergenic.
- Strong bond needs to be removed using an adhesive solvent.
- Not recommended for latex. Because Pros Aide never truly dries, the inside of the latex ears can become glued together.
Skin Tite is used to attach silicone products to your skin. It can also be used to create quick effects.
From the Smooth on Website:
“Skin Tite® is a skin safe silicone (ACMI Certified Safe) used to create fast wounds, scars and skin effect appliances directly to the skin. It can be sculpted “on the fly”, offers maximum control and stays precisely where you put it. Skin Tite® will adhere to the skin and perfectly conforms to all contours. Cured rubber is strong and will bend/flex with body movement. Wounds and appliances will not come off until you remove them.
An infinite variety of color effects are achieved using Silc-Pig® silicone pigments. Blended Silc Pig® color pigments added to Skin Tite® will create hyper-realistic cuts, scars, slash wounds, bruises, necrotic (dead skin) effects, bullet holes and more.
Thi-vex® thickener will thicken Skin-Tite® for even greater vertical hang control and is ideal for creating skin pockets, hanging skin, deep cuts & wounds, holes and more.
Bio-Adhesive: Skin Tite® can also be used to adhere skin effects silicone appliances or silicone masks to the skin even when affixed to hard to hold areas such as elbows, fingers and joints. It is ideal for repetitive motion applications. Skin Tite® requires no release agent, even when applying to hair-covered skin surfaces.”
I have used Skin Tite for lots of appliances, and even created small effects on the spot. A great thing about it is that it can help blend in the edges of a appliance on the spot, and a very easy manner. A bit of thickened Skin Tite on the edge, can be blended out with Alcohol and boom, your edge is blended. In the movies, when an appliance is made it is made for that actor. For us, we often work with things that were sculpted on a generic life cast. In fact, one of the reasons I don;t have a lifecast of myself is so that when I put on an Aradani appliance, I have the same hang ups as our customers. That way, if I come up with a solution to a problem I encounter, I can pass it on to you guys.
Skin Tite has been great in my experience, having worn appliances for long periods at Dragoncon and not having any issues with the piece coming off before I want it to. It has always pulled out of hair and off of skin with no problems. In fact one time I got some in my eye and when I peeled the mask off, it came right out of my eye with no pain. I am sure its not recommended, but it happened and I can still see. I am pretty impressed with the stuff.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Skin Tite is that sometimes it doesn’t cure. Latex, sulfur and some skin products will cause it to stay a gel. A friend of ours had oily enough skin that it wouldn’t seem to set, even after using Rubbing Alcohol to clean the area.
- Great for blending edges
- Can make on the spot effects
- Strong bond
- The people I know have not had any issues with allergies.
- 2 part solution
- Different things can cause cure inhibition.
- Can NOT be used with latex.
At this time, Aradani no longer offers Skin Tite for sale on our website. If you prefer this adhesive, just Google “Skin Tite.”
Do you have anymore adhesive questions? If so, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!