The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

Anjy Fadairo, Web Editor-in-Chief • June 17, 2024

In May of 1979, following years of effort from Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Representative Frank Horton of New York, the United States...

Ms. Day speaks to Hockaday students as well as other students in the Dallas area as part of her role to involve Hockaday students in the community and lead them to fulfill their purpose.
A day with Ms. Day
Sarah Moskowitz and Melinda HuMay 19, 2024

How did you get your start in social impact? Day: Out of college, I decided to do a year in a program called The Jesuit Volunteer Corps. It...

Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Lang Cooper and Mary Bradley SutherlandMay 17, 2024

What initially interested you in beauty pageants? Roberts: When I was six I joined the Miss America Organization. This program is for girls...

Senior Splash Day
Senior Splash Day
May 13, 2024

Blood, Guts and an Instagram Account


Three deep gashes run across sophomore Hannah Sipes’ forehead. The irritated skin surrounding the cuts are filled with splotchy red; blood pools run in skinny rivulets down her cheek. And she is not in pain. In fact, she starts video recording herself in front of the mirror. This ghastly wound can be peeled off in seconds, revealing perfectly healthy skin underneath.

The blood on her forehead is nothing more than red and purple face paint, while the irritated skin is nothing more than liquid latex.

Sipes is a self-taught special effects makeup artist, specializing in crafting and painting eerily realistic wounds such as cuts and burns. Discovering her unique talent, however, came spontaneously and unexpectedly.

“Earlier this year, I had to find a last-minute Halloween costume for a party I attended” Sipes said. “I went to the store, grabbed some supplies and did a zombie makeup.”

Story continues below advertisement

It was in December, a few months later, when Sipes found some leftover face paints and decided to experiment with creating a fake cut. From there, her interest snowballed. Now, Sipes creates about three original makeups a week, posting pictures to her Instagram account ( (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES), which has recently garnered over 1000 followers.

“I started with burn makeups, because I thought those were easy,” Sipes said. “I taught myself, and there were a few times I looked up pictures. Then, I learned how to do cuts, and I’ve just been figuring out what works and what doesn’t.”

Many of the materials Sipes uses in her special effects work are household items, which is part of the appeal for her. For each makeup, she first begins with either scar wax and/or liquid latex as a base. Her scar wax is homemade – a mixture of Vaseline and flour – and she orders the liquid latex from Amazon.

When using liquid latex, which resembles “fake skin” according to Sipes, she sometimes mixes it with another object for texture. This is one of the many avenues for creativity in special effects.

“I’ll mix it with tissue paper, toilet paper or even ground up coffee beans to create a paste,” Sipes said. “There are really lots of different supplies you can use.”

After laying out the base and the design, Sipes cuts the dried latex with scissors to create an incision. She then paints the latex with different colors of face paint: black, varying shades of red and purple and green for bruises. Lastly, she covers the “wound” with fake blood.

“When I was first starting, I didn’t do a lot of detailed work–just regular cuts,” Sipes said. “Those would take 10 to 20 minutes to do. The more detail there is the longer it takes, so I’ve done [makeups] that take an hour and a half.”

While Sipes usually performs special effects work on herself, she occasionally does makeups on intrigued friends and family as well. She has created a large gash makeup on sophomore Chloe Irwin’s hand for practice.

“It was surreal to see her just paint a cut on me, because it looked really realistic,” Irwin said. “It was really cool to see it come on and it was really weird to take it off because it all came off at once.”

Likewise, sophomore Ashlyn Olden has had an incision makeup done on her hand; she remembers the experience as “creative and fun to watch” and also enjoys giving her friend ideas for makeups.

“It’s not a typical, every-day type of hobby,” Olden said. “I really like seeing what she creates it. She always asks [her friends] for suggestions of what she should make next, so we always like to help her with that.”

Sipes regularly discusses her work with her family, who are always curious about her next creation. Melissa Sipes, Hannah Sipes’ mother, is very impressed with the skills her daughter has mastered, although she has had to warn extended family and friends not to worry if they see Sipes’ photos on social media.

“We think Hannah has found a talent and a passion – a combination we all look for in life,” Mrs. Sipes said. “My favorite aspect of special effects makeup is the realism. It’s like acting in a physical form. You believe in the character or event you see.”

Sipes also receives input from people she doesn’t even know. She enjoys hearing from individuals who see her work on Instagram and also gets inspiration off of the work of other special effects artists.

“One thing I’ve realized is that the special effects community on Instagram is very large,” Sipes said. “It’s really fun connecting with them through direct messaging and organizing collaboration projects. We’ll set a scene or topic, each do a makeup and combine the two in one post.”

And her Instagram helps her record images and see her improvement over the months, sometimes inspiring her to recreate an old makeup with more detail and complexity.

But her posts are not only about finished pieces. She has also posted videos of her removing her makeup, which have rapidly gained popularity recently. One of her latest removal videos has gained over 20,000 views, a feat Sipes is very proud of.

As for continuing her special effects makeups in the future, Sipes acknowledges that it is difficult to find jobs that require her unique talent but is open to working gigs especially around Halloween time.

“I’m thinking maybe things around Halloween, for people’s Halloween costumes,” Sipes said. “I am thinking of possibly getting a job at a haunted house.”

Still, Sipes is unsure as to why exactly she finds special effects so compelling. Describing herself as “never really the person who was into horror or gory movies,” she did not have a particular interest in cosmetic makeup prior to delving into special effects.

She does, however, appreciate the distinctiveness of the hobby, the creativity aspect and the sense of fulfillment it provides.

“I like being able to finish a project and saying, ‘Wow, that looks really realistic,’” Sipes said.

Three deep gashes run across sophomore Hannah Sipes’ forehead. She pinches the crimson-stained latex, peels off the elastic makeup and stops the video recording.

More to Discover