Introduction: Blood, the Chemical Way!

Picture of Blood, the Chemical Way!

Well well, well. It's Halloween. What would Halloween be like without blood effects? As much as I may despise this "holiday" it is Always fun to MAKE something awesome for a costume or just something to scare the crap out of anyone. I mean, that's what it's all about right? (or is it massive sugar rushes...?)

So we get onto the instructable itself.

Now, before I go any further, we are dealing with CHEMICALS. Yes, that's right, CHEMICALS! they may be awesome, but as a disclaimer (though these are not volatile, nor caustic) I take NO responsibility for your stupidity. One of the chemicals is a TOXIN hazard. AKA don't drink it, it's not good for you. Also, the final blood product is kind of like medical iodine, it WILL stain, and takes a fair amount of washing to get the color out of your skin. No burns, but toxic, and stains. Act accordingly.

This might also not be something smart for children under 10. Stick with red cool-ade.

That said, let's have fun! This can be used for special FX in movies and not only Halloween! For hair raising blood effects, I've never seen anything like this! It's so crazy close to REAL blood that you'll have your neighbors dropping their mouths and dialing the local hospital for an ambulance!

Even better, this requires no pumps (heart included, we're not actually cutting ourselves)

So what DO we need?

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Here's what you need.

Potassium Thiocyanate
Ferric Nitrate
Two plastic spoons
stirring rods (can be spoons)
shot glass
two containers to put your two part blood in. Should be easy to seal, and easy to carry.
Paint brush (optional, but recommended)
dull something to "cut" yourself with

Don't know where to get the chemicals? look here:
potassium thiocyanate:

Ferric nitrate:

30g lasts a LONG time, and makes one heck of a lot of blood. Maximum you'll ever need is two bottles of each... unless you intend to bathe in the stuff... (see stupidity disclaimer)

Step 2: Add Water

Picture of Add Water

Simply, fill the shotglass, and dump it once into each container.

Step 3: Add Chemicals

Picture of Add Chemicals

Make SURE to use separate spoons for each! otherwise just the dust will react and color your solutions! (which is not good)

The pictures show about how much. It's not really much at all.

Oh, and pour over the sink... it's easier to wash out that way.

Step 4: Mix

Picture of Mix

Take your stir rod (or spoons) and sir until the crystals are completely dissolved.

Brown solution is the Ferric Nitrate, Clear is the Potassium Thiocyanate.

Step 5: Apply!

Picture of Apply!

Using the paint brush, "paint" the clear solution all over the area you want to "cut".

Step 6: Dip Knife

Picture of Dip Knife

Simply dip your blunt object in the solution, or, apply it to the knife (easiest) I used the stir rods to drop it near the tip.

Step 7: CUT!

Picture of CUT!
As a general tip, the proper technique to cutting is to press with the tip, then slowly lower the knife until the wet part touches. Slowly drag across skin to "cut".

It also should be noted that it is best to point the wet side away from the camera/person to give a better effect.

So, here's a video of the knife in action!

(above video should load in a few hours, it's being processed link below)

Step 8: Safety Issues and Concerns

well, it's been mentioned that "hey look at the labels of these chemicals! they don't seem healthy? do I want that on my skin?"

in short, the rule of moderation applies, a little bit, for a little while, isn't going to cause harm.

Keep it on your skin for a very long time, well... all hands off!

Please, use at your own discretion! However, even if you don't want to put it on your skin, think about where you could put it.... poor jack'o'lantern...

Here are all the health concerns that need to be addressed:

Fire- no issues, we're diluting it heavily in water.

Oxidation- minimal. Unless you leave it on there, there should be no/minimal oxidization. That said, wash your knife anyways. This isn't like some CERTAIN other chemical reactions...

Poisonous gasses- nothing to be concerned about here. If you even have ambient air flow, you don't have a thing to worry about. If it produces gasses, they're produced too slow to be a problem and will be completely dissipated. Unless you live in a small air tight box, but then you've got other problems.

Toxin- Yes, it's poisionous. How much? unknown, I'd assume it's not life threatening in the diluted form that we're using, and at most (unless you're drinking these) will have an upset stomach. Don't be licking your "wound"...

Please note, lethal dose 15g-30g, that's half the bottle! and that's taking it straight! we're only using about 3-5g grams at a time. No issue.

Eyes- keep out of eyes, ears, and other orifices as well as cuts (duh) would you rub soap in your eyes? (or real blood for that matter?) no, back to the stupidity disclaimer.

Skin contact- Well, here's the main issue I'll assume, once again, we're DILUTING. This means- deconcentrating a solution ( :p )
incurable diseases- none

Seriously, the safest way is to keep yourself clean. It's the easiest way to keep yourself safe. I have no doubt that with the current concentrations you could cause all of the above problems, but, these will be from multiple hours of exposure. For any short amount of time, these won't be an issue. Unless someone can prove me wrong, I'll stand by that these are harmless for their "intended" purpose if the directions are followed. When you're done, wash skin throughly. Besides, you have to anyways if you're going to do it again, right?

Also, because their is a chemical reaction, generally both original chemicals lose their properties. (such as chlorine and sodium into salt) The final blood should have even less to worry about, as you're removing much of the original dangerous properties of (really mainly) the ferric nitrate by adding a base (potassium Thiocyanate) and also removing it's properties as well. Keep that in mind as well.


easyfabric (author)2013-10-01

its seems kind of unnecessary to use chemicals when there are many other ways to make fake blood

eviltechie (author)2007-10-17

This is so cool. This could be used as a great effect in theatre. I heard cyanate. Is'nt that related to cynide.

thecheatscalc (author)eviltechie2007-10-17

I'm not sure actually, but...

Cyanide is (C≡N)
cyanate is (O=C=N) or (O-C≡N)

So yes, I guess they would be related. Cyanate just has an Oxygen thrown in.

Nagarok (author)thecheatscalc2011-08-11

That little oxygen is a significant factor though.
From Carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide is a major difference.

One kills you, one doesn't
one is only present in insignificant amounts naturally, one is the very reason why our world runs.

zimmemic25 (author)2011-01-23

Hi, I'd like to ask if there's another way to get this effect, because the problem I see is the potassium thiocyanate (the uncolored solution) is (at leas in EU) rated as "toxic when in contact with skin" (don't know the exact translation, original in germany is "R 21 Gesundheitsschädlich bei Berührung mit der Haut")... and that's the solution you paint on your skin…

navik (author)2010-10-15

does anyone know where to Potassium Thiocyanate and Ferric nitrate from because dont sell it anymore.

hoppe_groda (author)2010-09-03

OMG! You are a freaking genius! :D

weesuzi (author)2010-07-23 Hmmm It is harmful so you are taking a bit of a risk with this stuff, check out the safety data sheet above

Duct Tape Dude (author)2009-08-12

Can you ummm... repeat the first two materials in English?

I believe he did ;)

I ment in terms I can understand (sorry for stupidity ^_^ )

iwon95 (author)Duct Tape Dude2009-08-13

actually no those are the names of the chemicals. you know how chemicals always have long name :P

ilovegm (author)2009-10-13

Fake blood: [Fe(H20)5.SCN]^2+

Its an aqueous complex solution and thus watery, you can always try to thicken it with stuff like corn syrup.

Movienoc101 (author)ilovegm2009-10-26
bad ass pope (author)Movienoc1012009-11-10

You may "lol", but that's actually a very useful comment. I was thinking it looked rather watery.

krisking93 (author)2009-03-08

what if the fluids gets dry will it still work

Movienoc101 (author)krisking932009-10-26
I don't think u would have it on that long. :)
Sniper72 (author)2009-09-14

The two components create a "chemical" blood, My question is does the "chemical" blood have a similar viscosity of that actual blood?

szechuan53 (author)2008-07-18

yay, unconscious mom!

PKTraceur (author)szechuan532009-03-10


PKTraceur (author)2009-03-10

Aweosme! Probably not something I'd show off though. -PKT

maruawe (author)2008-11-25

When mixing chemicals you always turn the two chemicals into another chemical. What is the mixture called after mixing. and what is the possibility of the combined mix being toxic when dumped esp. washed down the sink where you have just cleaned with bleach or borax

Berkin (author)2008-11-25

This is pretty awesome.

It would be better, though, if you could not see the skin underneath the red in places. Because then it just looks like there is mysterious red liquid appearing, and no cut.

It would be a great improvement if you found something that could blacken the skin and make the blood, so it looks like an actual cut.

John Smith (author)2007-10-16

OK, let me start off by saying that this is awesome, and looks extremely cool. Anyway, here's the health part of the MSDS for Potassium Thio-whatever:

Potential Health Effects

Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath.
May cause psychosis, vomiting, disorientation, weakness, low blood pressure, convulsions and death which may be delayed. The probable lethal dose is between 15-30 grams.
Skin Contact:
Causes irritation to skin. Symptoms include redness, itching, and pain.
Eye Contact:
Causes irritation, redness, and pain.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged or repeated skin exposure may cause dermatitis. Repeated ingestion of small amounts may cause weakness, confusion, central nervous system effects, nausea and skin eruptions.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
No information found.

Lftndbt (author)John Smith2007-10-16

Skin Contact:: Causes irritation to skin, Symtoms include redness, itching and pain. This does not make me overconfident in slapping this on my skin. Any chance you could clarify this for me? Are these effects only "potential"?

szechuan53 (author)Lftndbt2008-10-20

these will probably only happen if you have an allergic reaction. if for some reason you want those symptoms, sprinkle on some powdered sodium. it also adds a flame.
(ps, don't do this)

John Smith (author)Lftndbt2007-10-17

I'm not sure, I just copied it from the MSDS. I think it is a potential, but I'm not sure.

John Smith (author)John Smith2007-10-16

Here's the info on the Ferric nitrate:

Health Rating: 1 - Slight
Flammability Rating: 0 - None
Reactivity Rating: 3 - Severe (Oxidizer)
Contact Rating: 2 - Moderate
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT
Storage Color Code: Yellow (Reactive)

Fire Fighting Measures

Not combustible, but substance is a strong oxidizer and its heat of reaction with reducing agents or combustibles may cause ignition. Fire may produce poisonous or irritating gases.

Contact with oxidizable substances may cause extremely violent combustion. Sealed containers may rupture when heated. Sensitive to mechanical impact.

Fire Extinguishing Media:
Dry chemical, foam, carbon dioxide, or water spray.

Special Information:
Wear full protective clothing and breathing equipment for high-intensity fire or potential explosion conditions.

John Smith (author)John Smith2007-10-16

Explosion is supposed to be bold too.

szechuan53 (author)2008-10-20

just so you know, your link doesn't sell either of these anymore. however, you can still get them at american elements.

kmc512 (author)2008-09-22

wow. i want to do this. right now. but my roommates are all pretty girly and i don't want to freak them out too much. well done, two thumbs up. :)

bdblock94 (author)kmc5122008-10-15

thats y you freak the out

szechuan53 (author)2008-10-15

will it work if the potassium thiocyanate is dry???

lnknprkfrk13 (author)2008-07-28

Would this work if you let the stuff you put on the knife dry? If so it would look a little better and you wouldn't have to hide anything from the camera.

Pancakeslayer (author)2008-04-14

nice, you added a "incurable diseases" section on your safety issues, that'll make the youngins stay away from anything

Thaychris (author)2008-03-14

I bet if someone did a production of Sweeney Todd, this would come quite handy.

koax (author)2008-01-28

Somebody know where can I find some in Canada? (Quebec) Because US company wont ship it in canada.... Oh and thx man for this good Instructable if i can find the 2 chemicals it will really help me whit some magic trick +1

pengyduck (author)2008-01-19

I'd love to make this, but the chemicals aren't sold anymore in those sites. It stinks that that's happening.

Shifrin (author)2008-01-06

This is one of my favorite movie effects, its easy and it is more of a low cost. Nice Instructable! +1 Rating! -Alex Shifrin

darthdredge (author)2007-10-17

both of your links go to potassium thiocyanate. this is the link i found for ferric nitrate at that website:
Ferric Nitrate

oops! thanks for catching that! (fixing right now...)

Now it says this on the website: "This product has been discontinued."

JAm13 7h3 3m0 (author)2007-10-27

Yeah, whats the point of making fake blood, when youve got plenty of it rushing round your body??? *cuts arm* Oh yeah, i do know why, it hurts!!!

LIVE HALO 3!!!!!!!!!

woohoo659 (author)2007-10-23

hmmm... what you do is take a knife from the silverware droor, cover it in the potassium thiocyanate (note: the stuff he sais put on your hand) then cover you palm with bout 7g so it covers all of it. Now start cutting someting with the butternife. dont let it touch it! rite before it touches it, drop it on the hand thats covered and scream like ultimate pain scream. scare the living s*** out of your mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

thecheatscalc (author)woohoo6592007-10-24

Exactly, or have some treats for your tricker treaters that need cutting.... apply chemicals. cut hand. Scare the living daylights out of those kids!

porkdemon (author)2007-10-21

hmmm, i remember reading something similar to this in a stage illusions book from school, i beleive theyre called analine colors, i think they come in the form of incandessant crystals and when exposed to alchahol they change color rapidly.

frazeeg (author)2007-10-18

Ironically, I just did a chemistry experiment involving this reaction (for Le Chatelier's Principle, not fake blood, unfortunately). I was amazed how deeply bloodred it turned out.

thecheatscalc (author)frazeeg2007-10-18

LoL, actually, that's the ONLY references on the web that I've been able to find! Besides one other instance in a movie that shows making this same thing, I haven't found it anywhere else. The movie was not very well documented, but the effect was staggering!

frazeeg (author)thecheatscalc2007-10-18

Yeah, if you want the chemical equilibrium equations for this just let me know. I can snag them from my lab report and send them to you.

thecheatscalc (author)frazeeg2007-10-18

Actually, I might be interested... I'd like to see how the equilibrium is reached, it'd also be nice to know what exactly it ends up making.

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