It’s not only the Halloween season that calls for people to make fake blood. Entertainment such as plays, movies, video, even the popular Cosplay niche where people dress up like vampires and monsters calls for someone to come up with a good looking fake blood solution. Now there are many ways to make fake blood and it depends on the venue. Fake blood under hot studio lights is going to come from a combination of things that won’t evaporate and crumble. Fake blood for costume parties or contests you don’t want to use dyes tht stain things permanently or rub off on other objects and people.
Another thing to watch out for are toxic materials and flammable ones. You don’t want to look cool in your vampire outfit when someone with a cigarette passes by and you burst into flames. You might be the life of the party but a hospital trip is no prize. Paints that are toxic are only good for props like fake guillotines or weapons such as swords and axes. Remember, if you get it on your skin, you’ll get it “in” your skin. Also, consider kids and pets. Red is a tempting color to lick or taste and you don’t want to end up with someone sick. That all being said, let’s look at some ways to make fake blood.
The old standby is ketchup aka catsup, tomato paste or sauce. The advantage to this age old tied and true method is that it’s safe and easy to use. By adding a little water you can make a great looking fake blood solution. It usually washes out easy and there’s no danger of getting someone injured. Adding a bit of food coloring or maple syrup you can make all sorts of consistencies from thick to thin, bright to dark magenta. It stands up against light and on the stage very well. One of the best and oldest forms of fake blood there is.
2.) Food coloring
Of course there’s always food coloring and its been around quite a long time and as reliable as ketchup. The problem with food coloring is that sometimes it can be impossible to remove from a costume especially when mixed with other substances. Food coloring usually is made up from crushed insects. Beetles most likely. It’s tough but safe and with some added goodies can look so much like real blood that it can startle people. Sometimes floor, oatmeal, cornmeal, coffee grounds, are added to enhance the effect. Food coloring isn’t flammable so no problem there. It holds up well on camera, on stage, and film. It’s good to test different combinations to see what works best. The red dye is strong enough to withstand mixing with safe substances and should allow for lots of fun.
3.) Cosmetic paint
Nowadays because of the explosion in popularity of Cosplay aka Costume Play, manufacturers have come up with all sorts of new cosmetic applications so that people can dress up as characters from every area of fiction, history, and more. Fake blood is an important part of this industry and format so getting just the right combination is important if one is to stand out. Even though these companies make fake blood products they might not really be as good as the stuff you can make at home. If everyone is using the same manufactured fake blood product everyone looks the same. A real maestro wants to stand out and that means making their own fake blood. Using a ready made cosmetic product like something powdered yet red, even red lipstick but not fingernail polish, you can experiment and make safe and effective fake blood and still save money.
4.) Fruits and veggies
Talk about going green when it comes to making fake blood! Yes, you can use fruits and vegetables to make that deep or bright red blood. Ketchup as mentioned before is a top one but it takes finesse to use other produce such as cherries, blackberries, and the like. These are cheap yet call for the professional touch. Squeezing, straining, boiling may be needed to extract the rich color but none of the sugars which can crystallize. Once the juice colors are extracted you need to know what other substances to mix with it to lighten or darken and make a constancy that is passable. It’s not an approach for amateurs and young people should have adults around only because it can be quite a mess to clean up.
There are lots of colored syrups around and make great sources of fake blood. Problem is if they get on clothes you can probably forget it. Skin is tough too because if left on for a long time it can tighten up the skin. There are ways to dilute syrup with oils and water but you need to know what you’re doing and expect to do some cleaning up afterward. Try to stay away from syrups with high fructose corn syrup as they’re thicker and tougher. Look for natural syrups as they’re easier to work with and easier to clean.
The fun of play can take any form and people who like to dress up as vampires, monsters, or who are putting together shows for big screen or small, the know-how to make fake blood is an age old stage ploy that goes back so far no one can probably nail down where it started.
Since people have been appearing on stages like in ancient Greece or earlier, the need for fake blood has been essential especially in operas and don’t even mention anything Shakespearean. There’s fake blood all over the place in classical drama. As the invention of the camera came into play, ways to make fake blood changed and sometimes things like paint and tomato paste and such didn’t look real. For instance in the classic horror movie Psycho by director Alfred Hitchcock he used chocolate syrup instead as he didn’t have or use color film. In today’s big cinema productions there are sometimes patented solutions created by the top special effects masters like the late Stan Winston of Alien and Predator fame.
Fake blood is just as valuable a part of entertainment as any other special effect and won’t go away anytime soon.