Help? Medical Training Wearable Wounds

Hello Everyone,

Many moons ago I used to work in the industry, but got out of it to pursue another career. I have always dabbled in it for fun which lead to me being asked to create wearable gunshot wounds for a active shooter awareness course. The course is designed to help paramedics and firefighters deal with injuries in the event of one of these terrible tragedies. 

The lead instructor has asked me to create a wearable, reusable, and realistic looking wound that the students can practice packing the wounds (shoving gauze in to stop the bleeding) while on an actor. The instructor would like it to also bleed to simulate an actual wound. 

I have been asked if A) this is possible and B) what he would be looking at in terms of cost. 

Using the knowledge and experience I have, I have come up with an idea for how it could work, but I admittedly am quite far behind on modern techniques and materials. I am wondering if you guys could help me work through a possible solution?

If so... please read on. 


First, I live in Canada so that does mean I am somewhat limited in what types of materials I can get. A few stores in my area still exist and carry a lot of silicones, resins, and the like, so I can probably get what I need, but I will be limited to certain brands. 

What I was thinking was creating a large silicone appliance that could be strapped (velcro) to the actor in the appropriate places. A tube could run from within the appliance to a syringe which I think is pretty standard. This would allow it to bleed. 

Where I am getting lost is what technique would be best for this. 

My initial thoughts are to take a life cast of the armpit and hip / leg out of Smooth-on life cast silicone. Then make a resin or Ultracal positive to sculpt on. Sculpt the wound(s) and then take a silicone cast of them.

Here is where it gets complicated. 

Because the students need to be able to pack gauze inside to simulate a deep wound, I need to figure out how to give it enough depth. Plus, the blood needs to remain contained so it pours out of the wound and not everywhere else. 

Because this has to be medically accurate, the inside also needs to simulate what would be found inside and actual human (fat, muscle, torn skin, etc.  My thought was to basically create a  Wound Calzone. A top half of skin. An internal structure of fat / muscle using less dense silicone, then a base that had fat sculpted on the inside, but was flat on the back allowing room to attach the velcro. 

Then, the actor could put on the velcro straps and the wound could be placed in place. The students could then pack the wound as it would have a pocket inside (a 2 inch depth). 

The following questions are what I have to answer:

1. What is the best way to approach this?
2. What type of silicone would provide reasonable realism, but still be durable, washable, and reusable?
3. If I were to paint it, what technique (silicone paints, water paints, etc.) would last the longest?

Thoughts, suggestions?

Thank you!!


  • Options
    Sounds like a good project you have there!

    I would make each wound in 2 main parts.  The first would be a sculpt of the outer surface that when molded and cast would produce the outer skin layer, torn edges of the wound, and the first few dermal/fat/muscle layers to get the desired thickness of the anatomy in the area you are simulating.   Then I would make a second sculpt that represents the internal cavity.   When the two parts are sandwiched together you would have the desired pocket to pack with gauze.   The internal pocket could also have other added features like cast bone if you need to simulate a fracture or deeper wound, or even veins/arteries that you could hook up to your blood delivery system.

    I would try and make things as modular as possible as well, so damaged pieces can easily be repaired or replaced.  For example you could embed fabric on the outer edges of each piece with snaps in it so the outer layers could snap to the inner cavity layer.  This could also help protect the appliance from ripping as it could stretch around the opening but has a bit more structure along the outer perimeter.

    Platinum silicone would be my go-to for something like this.  I would probably not go softer than 10 durometer to help keep the life of the appliance as long as possible.

    For paint I would use pigmented silicone, so everything is nice and durable.   Then you just a silicone friendly blood formula and you are ready to go.

    That's just how I might approach this challenge, I'm sure there are lots of other ways this could be done, each with their own pros and cons.

    Hope that helps!


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