Halloween is coming up fast, and with it, most of us will have already picked out our costumes. But, whether you’re going as a classic vampire, a decomposing zombie, or a wicked witch, one thing which makes all of these look better is some fake blood. Splatter it on, or go the whole hog and drench yourself — in either case, it definitely adds to the look. Before you run out to buy countless bottles and tubes of this stuff, did you know you can make it yourself? Plus, you probably have everything you need at home!
However you want to use the blood, and whatever consistency and vibrancy of color you want, we'll guide you through the best methods to make fake blood at home. So whether you just want to spritz your costume, or create some convincing guts, we’ve got the solution. Here’s how to make fake blood — and make it look convincing.
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How to make fake blood
Before we start, you should know that a lot of the following recipes contain red food coloring, but you can substitute natural alternatives if you don’t have this at home, such as pomegranate juice, beet powder or tomato paste. You can also boil cranberries and strain the resulting juice.
1. Thin and quick fake blood — This is the perfect recipe if you’ve left dressing up until the last minute. For a simple solution, all you need to do is combine water and red food coloring — use as much water as you want and add the food coloring until you achieve a bright color.
You can then fill an empty spray bottle with this mixture and spritz on your clothes and around your body as required. Bear in mind food coloring will stain though, so apply outside of your home. This fake blood will appear thin and quite bright, but it’s very fast and convenient to mix if you’re running out of time.
2. For a thicker consistency — If you want your fake blood to look more convincing, you’re going to have to thicken it up. To do this, you’ll need to reduce the water in the first recipe and add in corn syrup and chocolate sauce or cocoa mix. Both of these ingredients will thicken up the consistency, while the chocolate sauce will give the coloring a more realistic, darker tone. Depending on how much you want to make, use the following guidelines: 3 parts corn syrup to 1 part water, then add chocolate sauce or cocoa mix (1 tbsp at a time) and red food coloring until you're happy with the vibrancy and consistency. Simply combine these in a mixing bowl for your thick fake blood — be careful not to flick it around the kitchen as you do. Feel free to add a couple of drops of blue and green food coloring as well, as this will make the tone more realistic.
You can adjust the ingredients of this recipe to achieve the consistency you want — so add some water if you want it to be more fluid, or thicken it up with some corn starch. For more detail, perhaps chuck in some cooked pasta or dried onions for fleshy parts. Bear in mind this will stain all the more easily because it contains corn syrup, so don’t apply to rental costumes. But, it is safe to use on your skin — so long as you don’t mind the pink patches the following day!
3. For a washable alternative — If you’re scared of fake blood stains more than anything else, we’ve got a solution for you. In the above recipe, corn syrup essentially contributes to the staining power on clothes, but if you swap this out for a detergent base, the fake blood will wash out much more easily.
Simply remove the corn syrup from the second recipe, and swap in a liquid laundry detergent — if you use The Pink Stuff ($25.40, Amazon), you will at least have a hand in the coloring! You want about 2 parts chocolate sauce or cocoa mix to 1 part detergent in this recipe, and then add the red food coloring as needed. Alternatively, you can also combine dish soap with your basic fake blood recipe for similar results.
Of course, this recipe is non-edible due to the detergent. You should avoid contact with the face and eyes as well as the skin in general for the same reason. Detergent can cause a reaction on sensitive skin, so wash it away immediately if exposed and consult a doctor if necessary. However, the best washing machines will thank you for this alternative, and your costume should emerge from the wash as good as new.
4. Wounds — Fake wounds sound complicated, but they’re actually relatively easy to achieve, plus they give you a chance to get creative. For the appearance of broken skin, you can simply combine peanut butter with your basic blood recipe. You then need to mold this on your skin to create your desired look.
Alternatively, you can apply liquid latex to your skin, followed by sticking a layer of toilet paper to it. Repeat this until you achieve a thick layer of ‘fake skin.’ Once it’s dry, use a toothpick to carefully tear open the tissue and create your wound. You’re then free to use foundation and fake blood to achieve the finishing touches.
5. Flesh and guts — If you want to make your own guts, it’s quicker than you’d think. In the Guardian, Dan Martin, FX expert, reveals a quick method for recreating intestines. First, you're going to need a long, flat surface that you don’t mind getting a little messy. Using liquid latex, paint several lengthy layers, one on top of the other as each dries. Next grab some paper towels and scrunch them to fashion a long sausage. Then roll your paper over the latex, getting it to stick to the exterior as you do. Finally, leave your intestines to soak in some fake blood and you’re good to go.
Corn starch is also useful for a fleshy consistency if you happen to have this in the cupboard. Combine 4 tbsp corn starch with about 50ml water, then add food coloring as needed. After mixing together, add ½ tsp chocolate sauce or cocoa mix last. You should achieve a rubbery consistency — something a bit like wet putty. Your flesh is now ready, you can combine this with your fake blood for the full effect.