Introduction: DIY Blood Pumping Effect - How to Cry Blood

About: Specializing in sewing, soldering, and snacking.

Last Halloween I was inspired to get spooky, like really spooky. My choice of costume was a cemetery angel, but that wasn't enough. I needed to flex some electronic muscles and have always been intrigued by the weeping Madonnas. So, I chose to try the effect of crying blood.

It's very simple, you don't need many parts and the effect is worth it. I seriously creeped people out which made me feel my mission was accomplished.

Step 1: Gather Materials

・1/8" Airline aquarium tubing

1000 ml IV Bag

Mini submersible water pump 12V DC

・Y tube fitting and extension fitting

・Any other miscellaneous fittings you may want or need

・8 AAA batteries

・8 AAA battery holder

・Big bottle of stage blood (I found one at my local party store)

・Heat sealable plastic ( I repurposed a plastic glove)

・1" - 2" wide elastic, enough to go around hips

・ 1/2" yard 2" wide industrial strength sticky-back velcro

・Measuring tape

・Momentary switch

・small pot

・Hook-up wire


Step 2: Prep Pump and Alter IV Bag

**Note on the Pump

The pump I am using is submersible, it needs to be in the liquid in order for it to work. So, this means the pump needs to get inside in the bag.

You can use a pump that isn't submersible, just attach it to the tubing on the outside the IV bag. It may be easier, since you don't have to cut and seal back up the IV bag. This is the pump I had, so I went with it and it ending up working great.

Prep Pump

- The pump I used had an inlet that was 1/4", the tubing I wanted to use is 1/8". The IV bag also uses 1/8" tubing. I cut some of the existing fittings off of the IV bag and hot glued it to the outlet of the pump. It would be better if you can get a reducer, I have yet to find one readily. Please comment if you know how to get a tube connector that jumps from 1/4" to 1/8"!

- Cut the top of the IV bag off and drop the pump in once you have successfully attached a length of 1/8" tubing to the pump.

- Put the bag back together and use hot glue to seal the bag back up. Use extra around the edges for added reinforcement.

Step 3: Attach Tubing and Test Pump

This rig was made for a cemetery angel costume, they are usually mourning and weeping, so I wanted to go extra creep and cry blood. Having said that I decided to wear the blood bag on my waist to the side.

Figure out where you want to stash the blood bag, take the measuring tape and measure from the bag to behind your ears and up to your eyes. Use this measurement to cut off two lengths of tubing. Connect these two pieces to the Y connector and the last end to the bag.

Now is a good time to test to see if the pump is working. Pour some water into the reservoir. Put the batteries into the holder, put the tubes over a sink. Touch the black wire contacts together and the red wires together and see if the water flows!

If it doesn't pump any water check the voltage rating and that it's submersed.

Step 4: Heat Seal Tear Packets

This next step is where we heat seal the tear packets that will be attached below your eyes.

Find a plastic bag that is soft in feel, but not too thin. I found a food workers glove that I could see was heat sealed around the fingers, so I decided to try it out. It ended up sealing really well when my iron was on a low setting. Once you have found some plastic to work with, follow the steps below.

- Set your iron to a low setting either 1 or 2, which is the setting for polyester and synthetics (essentially plastics). If the plastic you are using takes a bit more heat, dial the iron up a little at a time and keep testing.

- Use a piece of paper or thin cotton as a press cloth to protect the surface of your iron from melting plastic.

- Use the edge of your iron and run it in a straight line to seal. The dimension you are looking to seal is about 1cm x 10cm. This is the measurement taken from the top of my ear (where the tubing will meet the packet) to the middle of my eye (where the packet will end). Curve it slightly so it fits nicely under the eye. Heat seal on 3 sides, leaving a 1cm side open that will eventually attach to the 1/8" tubing.

- Let them cool completely and test them out for leaks. Run a little water into them and see if any drips out, go back and run the iron around them again if it does.

- To attach them to the tubing, open the 1cm end and put the tubing in about 1/4". Holding in place use some hot glue to seam around the edges. To test this seal, submerge this joint in water, if you see any bubbles coming from the seam, go back and hit it with some more glue.

- When both packets are sealed to tubing make an incision 1/4" in from the sealed end that goes under your eye. Just a tiny snip! This is where the blood will drip out.

Step 5: Creating and Testing Circuit

Build Circuit

The circuit is simple. There is a switch and the pot in series with the power line. The pump can push a lot of liquid through the tubes quickly, which you can see in the video where I tested the circuit. This was before I turned down the current using the pot.

Attach the ground to the motor and you are done.


motor power > data pot pin > pot pin > switch > switch > battery power

motor ground > battery ground


Fill the bag with water and push the button. You should hear the pump go on and water should start pumping through the tubes. Tune the pot to a slow stream. When you switch to using blood, the blood is a bit thicker, so you will end up tuning it for a second time.

Step 6: Filling It With Blood

You will need a small squeeze bottle to fill the reservoir with blood through one of the small holes at the top. The IV bag comes with a small plug in one of them, use this for refilling the bag and glue over the one the has the pump's power lines and the tubing coming out of it.

- Unscrew the squeeze bottle and fill it with blood

- Put the tip of the bottle in the bag's inlet and squeeze until you have a good amount in the bag. Remember, if you have a submersible pump you will need to completely cover it with liquid. Also keep in mind that you will be wearing this, so take weight into account. I ended up filling the bag about half-way.

Step 7: Attaching Elements to Waistband

To wear it, everything is going to be attached to an elastic waistband.

- Measure where you want it to hang around, subtract 3" and cut length.

- Sew the ends together with a 1" overlap. Once you put everything on, you can do another fit to make sure it doesn't slip down from the weight.
- Take some sticky-back 2" wide industrial-strength velcro, cut a two lengths of around 6" from the loop half. Take the backing off and fold the piece in half, sandwiching the elastic piece in the middle of the two sticky halves. Position them somewhere out of the way, I put one at my right hip, towards the back for blood bag to hang on, the other I positioned on my left hip towards the front, where the battery pack with pot would live.

- Cut some pieces of the hook half, big enough to cover one side of the battery pack and the top of the blood bag. Take the backing off, stick them on and now you can velcro the bag and the battery pack to your elastic waistband.

- For the button, I put mine on the inside of my right hand so I triggered it when I would do a statuesque pose. Position yours where ever you feel it make sense. You can secure the wire with a strip of iron-on material that you can find at the fabric store, or whip stitch around the the wire for a quick fix.

Step 8: Attaching Tear Packets

Read the steps below and watch the video in the Intro to see more detail and how they look when in action.


To attach the tear packets to your face, you just need spirit gum, you can find this at Kryolan or any theatrical and special effects make-up store.

- Take the spirit gum and apply it to one side of a tear packet and down the tube a little ways. Next apply it to under your eyes, extending a line out from the eyes to the top of you ear, which the tubing will rest behind.

- Wait a minute or so until it becomes tacky, them tap the packet into place. Repeat on the other side.

- Tuck the tubing behind your ears. You should add some added support, either in the way of a tight hood (shown in the video) or a head band that can cover and help hold the tubing in place behind your ears and around the head.

Once they are in place, you can cover up the packets with opaque make-up, I used grease and Aquarelle from Kryolan. They are slim, so they cover up very nicely!

Once they are hidden in place, press the button to pump up blood until it gets to where your head is or right behind the ear. Depending on the strength of the pump, this may take some time. Also make sure there are no kinks in the tubing.

This loads the tubes, so when you are ready, you can press the button and the blood tears come streaming!