Nothing completes an eerie zombie costume, haunted house or stage murder like drizzling, pooling faux blood. Unfortunately, fake blood itself can have some pretty eerie side effects. It can stain clothes and skin, is sometimes toxic and can cost next to a fortune when large amounts are needed to complete an effect. Making fake blood at home can take a lot of the guesswork and expense out of your "need to bleed."
One problem with fake blood, whether bought or homemade, is that it most likely is going to stain your clothes, even if it doesn't stain your hands. Most home recipes call for food coloring, which will stain both, and is extremely hard to remove. It's not necessary to use food coloring to achieve realistic-looking blood, but even substances that won't stain skin can still stain clothing. Some blood recipes call for adding dish soap, claiming it stops staining. If you're playing the part of Count Dracula, you may want to test that theory -- you will not want blood made with soap near your mouth. There are ingredients that are easier to deal with.
Achieving Blood Coloring
Natural blood is a deep, rich, red and opaque rather than clear. It becomes brown as it dries. Seedless red strawberry or raspberry jelly or tomato juice make good base-color ingredients for blood and will wash off of skin easily. Jelly will need to be thinned with a little water to get a runny consistency. Add a bit of chocolate syrup to jelly or tomato juice to give it a deeper, richer color and opaque look so your bleeder doesn't come off as being a bit anemic. When you're done with this step, you should have a mix that looks like blood. You now need to thicken it.
You can use cornstarch, flour or gelatin for thickening your fake blood. Gelatin dries on the skin the most realistically. To use any of these items, mix a few tablespoons with water and blend until you get a thin, lumpless paste. Boil a cup of water and add a teaspoon of the paste at a time, stirring the mixture to keep it from clumping. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes, then add more paste until you achieve a thick, smooth gravy. Add this to your blood mixture until you achieve the consistency you want. This mix will dry like blood on skin.
Getting Blood Off Clothing
While using tomato juice, jelly and chocolate will give you a blood that will wash off of skin without a trace, it will take some effort to get it out of costumes. First, wash the clothes in cold water with no soaps. You can soak them and agitate or rub the stained areas instead, but washing them in a soap-free cold water wash cycle in a machine is easier. This process will remove the gelatin, juice or jelly stains. Do not dry if chocolate stains remain. Instead, rub detergent or bar soap into the stain, then wash in warm water with detergent.
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