If you’ve ever been to our store in person, you’ve probably seen just how massive our collection of special effects makeup really is. We’re talking Herschel Gordon Lewis levels of blood, we can’t help but brag a little bit! However, if there’s a downside to the endless array of arterial goodness, it’s the potential decision paralysis. In fact, the second most commonly heard phrase at our makeup counter is “Wait, there’s different kinds?” (The first being “Oh my god, I thought that cat was fake.”) Let us walk you through everything we’ve got, and you’ll be out for blood in no time!
What Color Of Blood Should I Use?
Confused already? That’s totally fair. Yes, blood is pretty much always red. But depending on the context of the look, you’ll wanna pay attention to the shade of red, especially if it’s going to be on camera. Regardless of the hue, watch out for stains- your clothes will be far less forgiving than your skin!
Bright Red (Arterial):
This is the most common color of fake blood, partially because it’s the most vibrant, easy-to-see hue. It’s also the color of blood from a fresh wound, so you’ll want it for simulating gashes and gouges that are meant to look less than 1 hour old. Or as mouth effects for vampires.
Dark Red (Venous):
Once it’s outside the body, blood turns darker as it starts to coagulate, making this color perfect for creating aged blood effects. If it’s been several hours since your character’s started bleeding, use dark blood to really sell it. It’s also the best choice for decorating horror movie sets, but watch out for porous floors and carpets!
Black Blood (Oxidized/Infected):
It’s rare, but blood can be black for the same reason it turns dark red- oxidization! It’s also often seen in stool and menstrual cycles, and it can be a sign of infection… or completely normal, just like red blood. For that reason, you won’t usually see fake black blood used in a realistic context. Black blood is usually seen in zombie makeup, because we’ve collectively decided that undead blood runs pitch black for some reason. In short, black is usually best for indicating that your character is something other than human.
What About The Consistency Of My Fake Blood?
Now we’re getting into the thick of it! You probably already know that regular stage blood won’t produce a realistic scab, so… what will? Here, we’ll cover the different formulations of fake blood and the intended effects of each one.
The kind you’ll likely grab for a Halloween costume. Stage blood is a slightly syrupy liquid used to replicate fresh injuries, spills, stains, and puddles. Some varieties, such as Ben Nye Stage Blood, is safe to go in the mouth. Stage blood tends to harden and/or stain as it dries, so careful using it around fabric!
As the name implies, this type of blood is a thick, gelatinous consistency. While stage blood is more akin to syrup, this is more of a gritty spread, similar to tapenade. The key difference is that thick blood is more malleable, and dries in place slightly after application, so it’s good for wounds that require visual continuity. Professional artists often utilize thick blood for scrapes and road rash by quickly swiping a stipple sponge across the skin.
You guessed it- it’s for scabs! Scab blood looks remarkably similar to thick blood, but with a slightly browner hue. The top of this gel will crust over as it dries to better simulate a scab, whereas thick blood doesn’t harden quite as much.
This water based formulation is basically a thinner version of stage blood, and often comes in a spritzer bottle. It’s also used to fill blood squibs, which are the rigs that make it possible to simulate gunshot wounds. For a superfine mist, you can even mix your own with water and red food coloring!
What Kind Of Blood Do Pro Artists Use?
All of the above, and then some! If you’re trying to create onscreen practical effects, or you just wanna post some mind-blowing content this Halloween, check out these deep cuts!
Blood Capsules: Probably the most beginner friendly blood effect, these capsules usually come empty as part of a fake blood set, but they can be bought pre-filled as well. Store a couple in your cheek, and bite down when you’re ready to go. Careful not to bite your tongue!
Eye Blood: A special, watery formulation packaged in an eye dropper that’ll simulate blood-filled eyes for about sixty seconds, just long enough to get it on camera. Kryolan Professional Make-up is currently the only brand that makes eye blood, so we can’t stress this next part enough: You CANNOT put any other kind of fake blood, store bought or DIY, into an eyedropper and use it the same way. We’re all for ingenuity, but a creative vision isn’t worth gambling your literal vision.
Blood Powder: Wanna create a fake incision or puncture wound in real time? Simply dust some of this special translucent powder on the skin with a brush or powder puff, then coat the edge of your prop blade/needle in glycerine. Once the moisture makes contact with the powdered area, it’ll activate and turn to blood before your eyes!
Silicone Modeling Compounds: Silicone compounds can seem intimidating, since it’s a quick-setting formula that doesn’t take kindly to cross contamination. But trust us, you can create virtually any bodily effect using this stuff. Using separate spatulas to scoop out Parts A and B, mix the parts together on a palette, then sculpt your mixture directly onto the skin. While most compounds are colorless, the blood red variants helps create realistic gouge and burn effects. Gnarly!
Now, Let’s Get Some Blood On Your Hands!
Need to keep the creative flow going with a kit refresher? We’ve got our whole collection of Fake Blood online to help you put your newfound knowledge to the test! And as always, be sure to tag @abracadabranyc when you post your gloriously gory creations to Instagram!