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Hey, you can't use real blood in a movie unless you're some sort of psychopath. But you're going to need to find the best recipe to make sure your audience isn't taken out of the story. It’s hard enough to convey the tone of your movie on the page; you don’t want VFX holding you back as well. That’s why it’s paramount to get the look, feel, and color of your blood perfect. And what better way to make sure it’s great than to do it yourself?
The kinds of fake blood you create will certainly clue the audience into what you want them to feel, so for this post, we rounded up the best recipes for fake blood. We’ll also learn what the hue of your blood can do for the tone of your movie. Plus how to make blood without corn syrup! These recipes will come in handy for home use, for stage blood, movie blood, and for Halloween costumes.
Okay, no more wasted time, we got a bleeder!
How To Make The Best DIY Fake Blood Recipe
You came here for the best blood recipe, so we're not going to bury it in the article. The best blood recipe has not only to look real but be easy to use and recreate on set if you run out of the sloppy stuff. It also has to be easy enough to use on your Halloween costume as well. These ingredients are all available on Amazon, and an FX person worth their weight and pay will carry most of this stuff in their toolkit.
Thanks to some awesome research by our intrepid writer, V Renee, we dug up VFX master Dick Smith’s (The Exorcist, Scanners, and Poltergeist III) ingredients.
Fake Blood Ingredients:
(1 qt) Clear corn syrup
(1 tsp) Methyl paraben
(2 oz) Powdered red food color
(5 tsp) Powdered yellow food color
(2 oz) Kodak Photo-Flo (WARNING: Toxic)
(2 oz) Water
Steps to Make Fake Blood:
Mix the methyl paraben with some of the corn syrup in a large bowl. Then pour in the red and yellow food coloring. Finally, mix in the water.
You can adjust the color by adding more coloring. This will come in handy as we figure out what color your movie requires. Here’s the catch with this blood recipe - you can’t eat it!
Repeat: This is NOT an edible recipe.
The ingredients are toxic, so make sure to keep it away from your actor’s eyes and mouth.
Want to make some edible blood? We have a lip-licking recipe for that.
An Edible Blood Recipe
If you're doing Shakespeare or anything else that has stabbing, you might need some stage blood or blood you can make on a budget. That's where this edible blood recipe comes into play. As I scoured the internet for the best edible fake blood recipe, I stumbled upon Tom Savini’s Special Effects School in Pennsylvania. As a PA boy myself, I can’t help but give props (pun intended) to Jerry Gergely, who is the school’s director. He’s been able to cut out the deadly ingredients and create his own DIY that probably tastes great.
Its main ingredient is corn syrup! That's easy to scrub out of any Halloween costume.
What about a Blood Recipe I can Make in my Kitchen?
If you are stuck at home and have limited ingredients and time, this recipe could be the ticket. It was developed by someone who wanted to help you create the most realistic fake blood, with just a few things in most people’s kitchen:
It's nice being able to make your blood at home. You can use it to freak out your mom or make your siblings believe it's real blood, or even tell people you're reenacting the Theranos documentary.
Another thing about some of these recipes is that they can get pricey. I found this other great DIY fake blood recipe video that promises to make a ton of blood for really cheap. That can come in handy with any splatter film! You can put it into squirt bottles, super soakers, and even use buckets of it to dump on your actors.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have to wear a smock when I’m creating my DIY recipes. Things can get kind of messy when I’m in the kitchen, so a lot of times I’m looking for a recipe that cuts down on, or eliminates, stains.
Is There Blood Recipe That Won’t Stain?
One of the best ways to ensure your fake blood won’t stain is to add a surprise ingredient to your favorite recipe: dish soap!
That’s right, an over the counter detergent not only will help with viscosity, it will also help lift the red stains. This can help you save on dry cleaning, especially if you have to do multiple takes!
See, homemade fake blood can also be clean.
One other thing that’s unpleasant about most recipes is that they’re so sticky! Have you ever walked through a puddle of fake blood on a set?
Your shoes get ruined!
So I also set out to answer an age-old question…
Is There a DIY Fake Blood That’s Not Sticky?
This question is insane, partly because I love how specific it is, and partly because I’ve been so lucky to spend my day researching homemade stage blood. So I’m riding that high.
This is the real deal, so if you want to learn how to make blood without corn syrup, this is where to start. Corn syrup is what makes this stuff sticky.
I was bouncing around Reddit and found this recipe that’s a little closer to frosting than I’d imagine, but that promises not to be sticky at all. So another way to learn how to make stage blood without corn syrup is this edible recipe below.
No-Stick Blood Recipe Ingredients:
(16 oz) Powdered sugar
(1 oz) Red food coloring
(1 tb) Cocoa powder
(8 oz) Water
No-Stick Step to make Fake Blood
Step one: put the water and powdered sugar in a blender and combine on low. Then add the food coloring and spin on medium. You want to avoid froth. Lastly, blend in the cocoa powder.
Once finished, ice a cake. Or, smear it all over your face and hands and then wash it off with ease. You’ve got your recipe AND less of a mess!
How Can Fake Blood Affect My Movie?
We’ve talked a lot about how DIY fake blood recipes can help your day to day on shoots, but how can the color of your homemade blood affect your movie?
For starters, the color of your blood says a lot about the tone of your film. Will it be almost black, like in a Fincher movie?
Or will your blood be bright, and blend genres like in Kill Bill?
When you’re working on the VFX for your blood, think about what details you want to convey to your audience.
Do you want it to look dark and gritty? Check out the blood styling in Oldboy?
No matter what, put time and effort into what your DIY fake blood recipe looks like because if you flub on it, you might get a weird orange-blood like the Black Knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail.
And if you nail it...you get Carrie.
Summing Up DIY Fake Blood Recipes
So there you have it, a comprehensive investigation into DIY fake blood recipes. I’m happy we got to go on this homemade fake blood journey, and I’m excited to see how you use the recipes in your "filmic" applications.
Or pranks on your Mom. Whatever works.
Maybe you just want to eat edible blood. That’s on you.
What are some of your favorite fake blood moments in movies?
What do you think is the BEST fake blood recipe?
Let me know in the comments!
Don’t have time to test all these recipes? RocketJump Film School did all the heavy lifting.
See if their results will work for you!
Bleed ya later!