The original version of this post was written for the Film and Television Institute in Perth, Western Australia a few years ago. It has since been updated and added to several times. In its current form it summarises the best and most accurate recipes and useful information currently available to Makeup Artists, to allow you to make your own Theatrical Bloods for Film, Tv or Stage.
THE HOLY GRAIL OF MAKEUP FX
As a Makeup Artist, I am often asked about the best way to make a CHEAP, REALISTIC artificial BLOOD, that won’t stain, and can be made in bulk for film and theatre.
The answer isn’t always what they want to hear, sadly, there is no such beast! As always, the classic designers triangle applies here: Good, Fast and Cheap. Pick two…..
Quite honestly, if you are only using a small amount then you are better off buying a good brand of theatrical blood as it will work out the same price to make your own and wont always be as good, and less fuss!
However, if you need a large quantity or are unable to source a good quality product in your geographic area, there are plenty of recipes around and one of those listed here is bound to suit your purposes.
In my personal Makeup FX kit I routinely carry between 12 and 16 different types of bloods at any one time. Yes, thats right- at least a dozen! The reason for is that there are many variables on a shoot, and rarely is one product suitable for every occasion. You need to mix and match. I carry runny bloods that dont dry, runny bloods that do dry, runny bloods that are mouth-safe or edible, bloods that stay where you put them, bloods in different colours in the above categories, opaque bloods, translucent bloods, blood pastes, blood that can be reactivated by a spritz of water, blood that will stay on underwater, blood that sets scabby, blood that looks fresh, blood for eyes, blood powder, blood capsules…. you get the idea?