Picture of Washable, Non-staining Stage Blood by the Gallon
For our recent stage production of The Revenger's Tragedy, I needed to come up with an economical and effective way to make several gallons of realistic stage blood. Normally, I would have used one of the many corn syrup based recipes that have been popular for decades, but the Technical Director wanted to avoid sugary recipes due to the risk of attracting ants and other nasty creatures into the theatre.
In addition, the costume designer needed to be able to wash the blood completely out of the costumes between performances, the set designer wanted to prevent staining the set, and (since there was a possibility of splashing the audience) we needed to be able to assure audience members that their clothes would not be ruined. This pretty much meant no red food coloring could be in the recipe either.
Furthermore, the blood would have to be visible on both light and dark surfaces and work in several different delivery devices, including air cannons, pneumatic squibs, squeeze bulbs, blood bags and a trick knife. (For a truly excellent pneumatic squib, see Crosius' phenomenal Instructible here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Pneumatic-Squib-Tutorial/)
After experimenting with several formulas I came up with this one, which met all of the needs listed above very well, and only costs about $13.00 a gallon. Compared to some commercial blood at $60.00 a gallon or more, this is quite a bargain. If you need buckets of blood for any reason, give this a try.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Tools

Picture of Gather Your Ingredients and Tools
For this recipe, you will need:

Four 28 oz. bottles of orange or red ultra-concentrated dish detergent (the red frequently contains bleach - do not use any detergent with bleach)
One small bottle of ultra-concentrated Dawn dish detergent (blue)
1.5 cups of creamy sugar-free peanut butter (regular will also work)
One 16 oz. bottle of washable red poster paint
Blue washable poster paint
Black washable poster paint
Sugar-free chocolate syrup

Large pot or mixing bowl
Gallon-sized jug or pitcher
Strainer or cheesecloth
Microwave oven
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IsabellaO11 days ago

I have an extreme peanut allergy to the point where I can die from anyone else eating nuts around me
What would you suggest as a suitable replacement for the peanut butter?

Will this dry on skin okay? I'd need it to last about 5-6 hours.

maxwell.wooldridge made it!9 months ago

Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing this! 1000 kudos to you!

I made this for when I went on a Halloween cruise recently and splashed this over my car - The reactions it got from the other people spoke volumes for how realistic it looked (Many jaws were dropped) and it washed off without much effort later in the evening. Perfect!

The dish washing detergent does wash off car wax, so I had to wax the car in the morning - but this was a small price to pay.

Will make again!

0reoC00kie10 months ago

This is so cool! Does it irritate sensitive skin though? And it is ok near eyes? If not, would a corn syrup base work as well?

I was able to make pretty good fake blood w/ black and red tempera paints (tempera paint is washable) but it didn't look very realistic when it dried. I will try this.
bobdog2 years ago
Out of curiosity, has anyone tried almond butter or almond flour and say mineral oil to avoid peanut and rancidity issues? Walnut oil also keeps well IIRC. I wonder about bean flours too, whichever is lowest starch or highest protein/starh ratio. Any ideas?
ohiers13 years ago
This stuff is great! Works really well, and I got it out of a white shirt! Looks very VERY real!
That's a good recipe. There a lot of good free ones out there like that depending on your needs (washable vs. safe in the mouth).

Our company (founded in 2011) has a formula that is both washable AND safe on the skin/mouth. We have washed it out of white shirts, couches, wallpaper, floors, ceilings, suits, skin, etc. with just warm/hot water without any staining. It doesn't contain detergent, so it is non-toxic and safe in/around the mouth and skin. There's no chocolate or peanut butter, so no chocolate or oil stains. Stage managers love using our product.

Our Blood Jam product comes super thick. As is, it can be used as a stage make-up. It also has an indefinitely life span.

You can cut our Blood Jam down to whatever thickness you like with water, and it won't lose its color or washability. But, as soon as you cut it with water, bacteria could begin to grow so you have about a week lifespan at that point. Another good trick is to heat it up, which thins it out. As it cools, it will go back to its original thickness. This is great when we want a good oozing or splatter effect, but then as the scene goes on you don't want it dripping all over the stage.

We ship anywhere in the U.S. and are glad to provide any other tips or consulting to suit your needs.

Check it out at: http://www.gravityandmomentum.org/stage-blood/

-Gravity and Momentum, LLC
"Behind Everything You Do"
imbearly13 years ago
Many, many years ago there was a special effects company that made a completely non staining stage blood. However, they are no longer in business. The ingredients were microscopic beads of dark red plastic suspended in a clear liquid gel. The color never stained because the color was contained in the plastic. Would be great for some enterprising young person to recreate it. They would be rich. Just puting the word out there as there seems to be a great need for it in the theatrical community.
RavingMadStudios (author)  imbearly13 years ago
I actually used that stuff for a show back in the mid-90's. The concept was great, and the blood looked pretty good, if a bit tempera-esque.
The issue I had with it was that the red microbeads got trapped in the weave of the fabric and wouldn't let go no matter how many times you washed it. The end result was not technically a stain, as the fabric was not actually colored by the blood, but functionally it was indistinguishable from a stain. I was a bit disappointed.
If somebody came up with a way to release the beads from the fabric effectively, it would be epic.
kturland3 years ago
hi my name is kylie and me and my friend were going to yuse your idea for fake blood for halloween cause ummm we were going to be vampire-wiches!
and i was just wondering if the blood mixture EVER expired!!!
rheinze13 years ago
Someone shops at Walmart! <3
CODKING3 years ago
oh so tasty lookin lol jk
ozawatest4 years ago
Any thoughts on having lots of blood in a swimming pool (someone falls into a pool after being shot like crazy) without damaging the pool? The blood doesn't need to last long. Thanks!
blodefood4 years ago
Obviously because of the detergent content you would not be able to use this blood coming from the mouth. For that I suppose you would have to go back to the corn syrup recipe.

By the way, peanut butter is an ant attractant for some species of ants. I take it there would be enough detergent content to keep them away.
why is the blood light coloured?
The color balance of my camera is a bit off. It was darker in real life.
oh ok... then this is a pretty great recipe
yespotato4 years ago
what if someone in the audience is allergic to peanuts??????? might want to think about befor u use it next. lawsuits could ensue.
RavingMadStudios (author)  yespotato4 years ago
Yup. That's listed in the warning section of the Instructable, and lobby signs were posted.
ok good cuz i have a couple of friends that cant even smell peanuts. let alone touch it
featherwurm4 years ago
Oh where oh where was this tutorial when I had to produce so very much washable blood for Seven Crimes? I managed with a couple different mixtures (mostly detergent based), but this is by far superior (though so far as color went for us, the director had a thing for using red light on all bloody scenes which meant the blood usually needed to be deeply purple to show up, but that's not really an ordinary concern). This is great though, it seems like it really would create a nice visual mess without being a mess to clean up.

In other words, thank you. You are fantastic for posting this and I know I'll be using it in the future.

Is there any chance you could add a photo or photos from the production so we can see your handiwork in action?
RavingMadStudios (author)  featherwurm4 years ago
Thanks for the kind comments. Always nice to hear from a fellow wetworker. ;-)

Red light for all the blood scenes? That's a new one on me, although I have been known to strongarm a lighting designer or two in the name of good blood visibility. Usually for me, the lighting was more green than I'd like, which made the blood look like chocolate syrup. In this production, the lighting was never an issue, for which I am grateful.

Oddly enough, I was unable to be at the photo call for Revenger's, and so they didn't take any shots with blood, probably because of the cleanup issue. If I had known, I would have taken my own photos at final dress, but it didn't even cross my mind until it was too late. That is a mistake that I won't be making again....
To be fair the red light did look cool in that context, but it nearly 100% washed out blood-colored blood. This was about as light a color as it could go, http://www.featherwurmgraphics.com/Theater%20%28Costume,%20Puppets,%20etc%29/Seven%20Crimes%20%28Add%20More%29/Razor.html as you can see in the more regular light in the last couple photos it's really pretty purple.

Aw dang that sucks, and I know the feeling, but there's always the next one... there's always a need for blood!
To make the thumbnail more interesting, make the blood arterial and dark. This is to be more anatomically correct.
RavingMadStudios (author)  M4industries5 years ago
We chose to go with a more "cinematic" look for this production, as opposed to purely realistic. The blood wasn't as ketchupy as the photo makes it look, though.
At least make a latex wound, it just looks like a spill. But I still like your method.
Maybe it was vomited?
didnt know i'd find this on here, but btw i still have blood splatters (yes stained) into my khaki cargo pants from when I saw RT at GSU.
RavingMadStudios (author)  romanceblood5 years ago
Sorry about your pants. I haven't heard of any other cases where this blood left a stain behind, including the wedding dresses we used in the show. Very odd. Swing by the Theatre cookout this Friday afternoon, and I'll buy you a cheeseburger by way of apology.
OH, very much enjoyed it. See you around.
Our campus did a production of tRT in october, and it was incredible bloody. I left with small amounts of this stuff on my face, hands, and everywhere else in range of a headshot. :)
RavingMadStudios (author)  keithwarburg5 years ago
Hey, that's when ours was. You don't live in Georgia, do you?
I do! It was at Georgia Southern.
RavingMadStudios (author)  keithwarburg5 years ago
That's the one. Glad to know there are other Instructables folks here in town. You make the fourth one I know of (counting me), and RedHandFilms has graduated and left, so he doesn't count anymore.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the show,
Awesome... great instructable. (And really, any show where the there is so much blood that the audience gets sprayed = best thing ever) I know I've made similar blood with liquid laundry detergent... never thought of the peanut butter, though, that's great.
RavingMadStudios (author)  abbyholverson5 years ago
Thanks very much! I've been playing with blood recipes for (mumble mumble) years now, and I'm pretty pleased with this one. I'm not sure where the idea for the peanut butter originated (probably an edible formula), but it does really help a lot with visibility and consistency.
yoyology5 years ago
I can't resist a theatrical quote: "We’re more of the blood, love, and rhetoric school. […] I can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do you all three concurrent or consecutive, but I can’t do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory — they’re all blood, you see." Great instructable. Makes me want to see the show!
RavingMadStudios (author)  yoyology5 years ago
Hee hee hee. Thanks very much! Gotta love Stoppard.
how long will the blood last? will it go rancid????
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