Last week I received a call from a long term family friend who needed my help with something very personal. We've spoken about it briefly in the past, but hadn't actually sat down to discuss it properly. 30+ years ago she'd had a tumour removed from her leg which has since left her with a scar underneath her calf muscle and an indent in her leg that she's been trying to disguise for years. She told me that she's tried everything under the sun to try and hide it, from cotton wool and large plasters to the clear gel 'party feet' you put in your shoes if they are uncomfortable. She'll spend hours getting ready trying to disguise her leg before putting on a pair of tights, or eventually have to give in and wear yet another pair of trousers. All my lovely friend wanted was something that would cover the indent and give her calf its shape back.
Straight away after speaking to her I tried to think up the best solution in which I could help. The usual wax and latex that I use for my SFX make-ups wouldn't be strong or long lasting enough for something like this. The wax would eventually become soft and tacky against the warmth of the skin and the latex wouldn't be strong or durable enough to allow it to be re-used whenever needed. After a lot of 'googling' I managed to find a 'Moulding Rubber' which I thought would work. It is basically a skin safe silicone that comes in 2 parts. When you mix both parts together, in equal measurements, it gives you 5-8 minutes working time before the silicone sets and then a further 20-30 minutes before the rubber is ready to be removed. This I thought would be perfect, as usual silicone moulds take at least 24 hours to properly set before they can be removed...
I applied the mixture in 4 seperate layers as the rubber seemed to set quite quickly on the leg. Different factors such as the room temperature and also a persons body heat can speed up the setting time. We started off with my friend lying down with her leg positioned in a way which was easy for me to apply the rubber; then applied the last few layers with her standing up, as I was used to the way the silicone worked and set, so was able to manipulate it into shape. Once the rubber had dried completely I slowly removed it from the leg by using a bit of talc and a make-up brush. It came off really easily and looked amazing. We were both really impressed with how it turned out. It wasn't meant to be perfect, just something to bring the shape of her leg back. All she needs to do when she wants to wear it is put a bit of 'Spirit Gum' glue on the back of it and stick it into place. The results of our little experiment are below... My friend was very happy for me to show you these pictures, so I hope you are impressed as much as we were! I'm still going to do a bit more experimenting with the silicone myself, to see if I can make something even better for her, so will keep you posted!