First project picked: How to make a cabo-bondo transfer – Part 1

The very first cabo-bondo transfer I applied to a classmate in school

I have decided!
After much debate over the three project choices from yesterday’s blog, I have decided to select project #2:Create a set of small cabo-bondo transfer prosthetics.  Today we are going to talk about; where these cabo-bondo transfers came from, what is a cabo-bondo transfer, and what they are made of.

What is a cabo-bondo transfer?
A cabo-bondo transfer, (also called bondo transfer) is a small prosthetic piece (also called an appliance) which is basically made out of glue and molded to simulate injury, aging or other make-up special effect. The prosthetic pieces are set between tattoo transfer paper and transferred to the skin using water.

This handsome devil is Mr. Tinsley himself, creator of bondo transfers. Image from

Where did bondo transfers come from?
Bondo transfers were first used in the film ‘Passion of the Christ’, where they were created and applied by award-winning make-up artist, Christien Tinsley. Since then the technique has been used countless films, including ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, ‘The X-Files’ and ‘300’.

I  use the term “bondo transfer” here because I am not sure if Tinsley used CAB-O-SIL in his recipe. I have found the email address to Tinsley Studio and I am going to email him today and ask! I will let you know if I get a response.

What is a cabo-bondo transfers made of?

  • Pros-Aide – a prosthetic glue and main ingredient
  • CAB-O-SIL – fumed silica, a thickening agent powder (harmful if inhaled, so use a respirator!)
  • Dibutyl phthalate – a plasticizer that gives the finished prosthetic more flexibility (there are conflicting reports on how toxic this is to humans, so I don’t use it)

You can also make these transfers with different pasticizing agents, without CAB-O-SIL, or using nothing but Pros-Aide. We will discuss that later in another post.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we will discuss why you would want to make a cabo-bondo transfer and the supplies needed. Maybe I will get a response from Christien Tinsley’s Studio in time for my next blog! Keep your fingers crossed!

Hey kids, Mr. Tinsley is also well known for his killer temporary tattoos, check them out at:

Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think. If you have a makeup or special fx website, I would love to hear about it.

Twitter: @MakeupDrShari
Facebook: MakeupDrShari

6 thoughts on “First project picked: How to make a cabo-bondo transfer – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Part 3: Making cabo-bondo « Movie Makeup by Makeup Dr. Shari

  2. Pingback: Christien Tinsley on his signature transfers « Movie Makeup by Makeup Dr. Shari

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