Shows like Sweeney Todd, Titus Andronicus, and Carrie The Musical are creepy, violent, and above all else, bloody. If you’re doing a show that requires stage blood, save money and head to your local grocery store for a few ingredients (though you might already have them in your pantry) for a quick homemade recipe. To help you get started, here are some recipes for all your bloody needs!
You only need three ingredients to create this simple recipe: chocolate syrup, corn syrup, and red food coloring. Mix 1 part chocolate syrup and 2 parts corn syrup, while gradually adding the red food coloring to achieve the right color. That’s it! It’s a sticky but edible recipe, so it’s perfectly safe if your actors ingest it. Since it has food coloring, though, be warned that it will stain any clothing it lands on.
If you plan on reusing your costumes in future productions, you can make a washable version of the basic recipe using dish soap. You can mix just dish soap and red food coloring (you might have to play with the color using blue or yellow food coloring) or add ½ part dish soap to the basic recipe above. Obviously the recipe won’t be safe to ingest anymore, but you’ll have a much easier time washing out the stains from any clothing your bloodied actor wears.
Corn syrup is often considered a staple ingredient for fake blood, but it’s also very sticky. Thankfully, you can avoid the stickiness without sacrificing the realistic look of your fake blood. First, blend 1 cup of water and 2 cups of powdered sugar in a blender on low. Then add 2 tbsp of red food coloring and blend on medium. Finally, add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and blend it completely. This is another edible recipe but it will also stain clothing, so be careful!
Blood Packs (Squibs)
When a scene calls for a character to be stabbed or shot, you can easily create a squib, or a blood pack, to pop on contact during the performance. Find the cheapest, lowest quality sandwich bags (they need to be thin for this to work) and fill one of the corners with some of your fake blood. Tie the corner of the bag tightly until it balloons with the blood, then cut off the excess part of the bag. Upon impact, the squib will pop and things will get messy. Just be sure to practice with it a few times until it pops without issue.
Sometimes blood just doesn’t cut it. When you need to mimic wounds, brush a layer of regular glue on the area and place a layer of toilet paper over it; for a deeper-looking wound, add more layers of glue and toilet paper. After everything dries, apply makeup foundation to blend the toilet paper edges with your actor’s skin and use scissors to cut through the center of toilet paper layers. Finally, add your fake blood! You can also use ingredients like oatmeal or peanut butter mixed with corn syrup and red food coloring for more fleshy wounds.
Everyone has their favorite fake blood recipe, so don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and consistency until you find yours! Things will get messy, though, so take extra precautions when handling your ingredients. Break a leg!