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Guest contributor David Lay always makes us laugh…and sometimes, scream. Here’s an EASY and fun tutorial on creating your own faux scars.


Okay, moms and dads, push the children from the room and close the door. We’ve gotta talk. Done? Good. It’s about scarring the kids. Not scaring the kids, though that would be fun, but scarring the kids. Not for life, mind you, but just for Halloween.

I think I have a pretty good idea how you’ve been doing it up ‘til now: You’ve been going to the corner store and buying that cheap Halloween makeup to try to make your kids scary.

But this year it’s time to graduate, inexpensively, to the big time, like the professionals use: In one word, collodion.

Collodion has been around a long time for theater and movies. It comes from the Greek word meaning “glue.” It is a material called pyroxylin that is dissolved in ether and alcohol, and was originally used in the early 1800’s as a primitive band-aid.

When exposed to air, the ether and alcohol evaporates off, leaving the material that was dissolved to harden and shrink – which is why we want to use it to make scars. It temporarily shrinks and wrinkles the skin, making it look eerily like scar tissue.

A Word of Caution – VERY FLAMMABLE

CAUTION: Remember, this stuff is for professionals, and there is a reason: Collodion is extremely flammable. And PLEASE, PLEASE don’t let children use this stuff themselves. Make sure you use adequate ventilation. Don’t use it near the eyes, and don’t get it in the eyes.

Where to Buy Collodion

You’re going to have to buy some somewhere – try Amazon. DO NOT buy the “flexable collodion”, as it does not shrink when it dries. You want “rigid collodion,” which is the theatrical stuff.

How to Create Your Custom Scar

  1. What Type of Scar?

    First, decide what kind of scar you’re going to have. A few choices are:

    • short scars
    • long scars
    • pockmarks
    • wrinkles
  2. Prepare the Area

    Prepare the skin area by washing it with soap that has no oils or lanolins. This stuff works even when the skin is oily, but better if it is not. Make sure the skin is dry before application.

    collodion-before-scarTo make the scar even more gory, “draw” the scar with red, or purple ink first, and then lay the collodion down over it. The ink will show through.

  3. Apply the Collodion

    I use a small paint brush, but you can use cotton swabs or, if you are making a large area wrinkled or scarred, you can just pour it on. Use a larger brush, and you get a larger area (this is how they make people look old in the movies or on stage), or keep re-applying it to the same swath with a small brush to make a nasty scar.

    You can make “pock” marks by dabbing in one spot. The more layers you lay down, the deeper the scar.

collodion and brush collodion-first-application
ANOTHER CAUTION: This stuff, as it dries, pulls the skin in tight, and that is why it looks so much like a scar. However, that also means it can be uncomfortable after a while. Little kids may not like having this on their skin, so be aware of this.

collodion-scar collodion-scar-2

Removing the Scar

The instructions on the bottle say to peal it off, but from my experience that can be a bit painful. Better to use fingernail polish remover. Again, needless to say but I’m going to say it anyway, make sure there is adequate ventilation and don’t get this stuff in your eye!

Okay. Order it. Use it. Scare people. Or just make people feel sorry for you and put money in your tin can. Simple.

Happy Haunting!

3 thoughts on “Scary Scars and Wrinkles Made with Collodion”

  1. That’s so funny–your knife scar story! I once went to Halloween party as Little Red Riding Hood, and pretended the wolf ate half my arm. I tucked my arm under the cape and fashioned the stub (elbow) with blood, “fur” and teeth from the wolf. I was later told that people who didn’t know me thought I was amputee. (“Pretty girl, shame about the arm…”) Ha, ha

  2. this stuff is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! im gonna scare the living daylights out of everyone at my halloween/b-day party, which is somewhat of a legend amoung my friends.

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