Often used in connection with body squibs and other theatrical F/X, fake blood is an important part of stage performance. Most good theater supply stores should have gallons and gallons of the stuff available for purchase, but if you are planning to do gory stuff, the price of fake blood can do bad things to your budget.

So - here are a few recipes of fake blood that I have used in the past. They are all tried and tested to various degrees of luck.

Tasty blood

Some times you have to use blood that the actors can hold in their mouths. To be able to do this, it should taste OK, not be toxic, and still look good.

Purpose

If you want blood bubbling from your actor's mouths, this is a shure-shot way of achieving your goal!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of corn syrup (for viscosity and color)
  • 1 cup of water (for balancing viscosity)
  • 10 table spoons of maize flour (for making the blood less translucent)
  • 10 tea spoons red food coloring (for color)
  • 10 drops blue food coloring (for color)
  • A few drops concentrated mint (for taste - optional)

How?

Basically mix everything together. Make sure you get all the flour to dissolve - this is what adds the viscosity you want

Drying blood

Purpose

If you need your actors to "die" on stage, and then stay there for a prolonged period of time, it is nice if the blood dries and changes color (i.e gets darker) like real blood would.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 handfuls of Nesquick (or other cocoa milk mix)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 30 drops of red food coloring
  • 5-6 drops of blue food coloring

How?

Make sure to mix the cocoa milk mix with the water first, adding the other stuff later.

This mixture works very nice as blood, and dries in a very cool way on textile - try to have your actors "spill" some on white clothing of the murderer - stunning effect. This is my preferred type of fake blood for use with body squibs (if I can't get "real" fake blood, of course )

Blood for drinking

Purpose

For scenes where (i.e) a vampire needs to drink blood. This looks good if it's taken from test tubes or a wine glass or something like that.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup dark colored squash (e.g blackcurrant)
  • 4-5 drops blue food coloring

How?

Mix it all together. Make sure you keep stirring until just before use

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Creating Edible Blood for the Stage and Special Effects

There are a variety of methods for creating edible blood on stage. General considerations when choosing your recipe include color, viscosity, and the actor's preference.

The most common container for edible blood is a gel capsule. In most states these can be obtained without a prescription from drug stores and health food stores. The sizes range from 000 to 4. The smallest capsules, 000, measure 1 inch by 3/16 of an inch. Larger capsules can be obtained from livestock and feed suppliers, or though palatability definitely suffers, clean, empty sausage casing can be used.

  • Honey is an excellent choice in for its natural viscosity, but can also be diluted with Karo's syrup or corn syrup. When dyeing, add a few drops of blue or green to your red food coloring to prevent orange-colored blood.
  • Peanut Butter is very thick and has the same color considerations as honey. It too can be thinned by adding white Karo's syrup. Actors tend not to like this formula as it coats the throat.
  • Chocolate Syrup creates a very dark, opaque blood. In this instance, the addition of Karo's syrup will thicken the blood. However, using chocolate means you will have to contend with the possibility of garments stained by the red food coloring and also by the chocolate itself. As in Psycho, chocolate can be used without the red dye for black and white film or photography.
  • Jello is an excellent choice. Choose any red flavor. Note that you will definitely need to add more food coloring (usually a surprising amount) and will almost certainly need the addition of Karo's syrup to control viscosity. Jello blood tends to become stringy as it dries, though in some horror scenes this can be used as an advantage. It dries with a dark, hard clot. Note that unsweetened gelatin does not have an appealing taste.
  • Kensington Gore is perhaps the simplest and cheapest form of edible blood. It is formed simply by mixing corn syrup with red food coloring. Tradebacks are that the color isn't quite as natural (though the addition of blue or green food coloring, or a little starch will help) and viscosity is somewhat innaccurate. If your audience is a distance away from the blood, or cost is a major factor, consider this form of stage blood.
  • Powdered Milk when mixed with dye and Karo's syrup creates a very opaque blood. While the texture is not correct for most applications, it does create a very nice caked blood effect, such as around the corners of the mouth.
  • Commercial Preparations are available from nearly all special effects or stage make-up suppliers. Mehron and Zauder brands have excellent launderablity, especially on scotch-guarded fabrics. Most are syrup based and usually have a mint flavor. This is not to say that they taste good!! Unfortuantely, commercial blood is quite expensive, especially when purchasing large quantities.

Part of the Stage Makeup Metanode.

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