Adding fake blood into your cosplay is an easy way to give your character a bit more, well, character. I don’t know why, but my SFX look for Captain Marvel has been one of my most popular posts on Instagram (and yes, the blood should be green/blue). I don’t know if it’s the fake blood or the classic Marvel superhero looking like she just beat a slew of Skrulls to get her Starbucks Cold Brew, but I’m ecstatic that so many people like it. The cosplay itself was only $30, I don’t have to wear a wig, and it combines my love for cosplay with my love for gorey makeup. Who knew the combo would work out so well?
But we’re not here to talk about that. No, today my friends, we are talking all about the different types of fake blood you can use for cosplay special effects (SFX) looks. I’m going to dive into products I’ve used, which ones that I think work the best, and at the end, I’ll even give you a DIY faux blood recipe!
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Different Types of Fake Blood
This time of year, we tend to see faux blood available on every supermarket shelf. Well, maybe only the shelves in the Halloween isles. These either come in kits or in separate containers, but essentially there’s no short supply of this product during the spooky season.
I’ve used various types of special effects blood products, including these cheap ones from Spirit Halloween. However, I do not recommend these! I’ll explain potential hazards a little further down, but for the time being here are a few different types of fake blood you can buy:
Store-Bought: Store bought blood is all fine and dandy if you only want to do SFX makeup around Halloween. It works almost as good as the stuff from Mehron or Ben Nye, but the shelf life is drastically shorter. I’ve also found that it’s harder to get off your skin, gets kind of crusty after a while, and smells really bad.
Scab Blood: Scab blood is honestly my go-to fake blood product. It really seals the deal in terms of realistically looking wounds. I also like to use it to create scratch marks on my neck and face. And the best thing about it is that a little goes a long way!
Squirt Blood: This is the blood you’ll need to create an all-over gorey look. Need splatter on your cosplay? Use squirt blood for an easy and natural-looking SFX. It’s water-based so it’s as easy to remove as it is to apply. It drips and dries quickly and effectively.
You can also you splatter blood which comes in an easy spray canister for a more spread out effect.
Theatre/Stage Blood: This is used primarily in active performances (so great for cosplay or videos!). It’s made of non-toxic ingredients so it’s safe to use in and around your mouth. It’s essentially its primary purpose. However, remember that this doesn’t dry, so use it sparingly.
P.S. It’s great for blood capsules for when men ask you to smile at the bar 😉
Coagulated Blood: This type isn’t meant to drip, but instead maintains a deep, glistening red consistency for your wound. It’s syrupy in texture and great for open wound effects
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When To Incorporate Wounds Into Cosplay
There’s really no limit to when you can use faux blood in your cosplay makeup. It can be a canon look based on a scene from a movie or it can be a completely fabricated scenario. For example, I did this SFX look using Stage Blood and Scab Blood to make it look like Debbie Thornberry got attacked by some sort of wild creature. I also used the same products to create a bullet wound look for Jenny Bravo (it was my 90s Horror Story Series).
My favorite, however, is using small amounts of scab blood and face paint to give superheroes the illusion that they just defeated the latest supervillain (i.e my Captain Marvel makeup). It’s quick, easy, and can be done in a matter of minutes.
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Fake blood is relatively safe to use. Every single bottle will advise you to test the product on your skin first because you may have a negative reaction. They also warn that the blood is likely to stain your clothes.
Other than that, just be sure to read the bottle to see other hazards. Absolutely do not put this stuff near or around your eyes (there’s actually red eye blood for that), and keep in mind that most faux blood isn’t made for ingestion. Certain types like Ben Nye Stage Blood is safe to put in your mouth and even has a nice minty flavor.
DIY Fake Blood Recipe
I’ve tried a few fake blood recipes, and honestly, none of them are my favorite. I find the easiest method to use on your clothes is simply diluting/mixing red, black, and brown acrylic paint to get a deep, red, blood color. Obviously that doesn’t work on the face, which is why I just bought a supply of my own fake blood (my house isn’t creepy at all).
But if you’re on time or budget restrictions, here is a simple DIY fake blood recipe:
- Red, Blue, and Green Food Coloring
- Corn Syrup
All you have to do it mix in the three colors with the corn syrup and you have a tasty (and yes, edible) fake blood recipe! I could never get the color quite right, but my advice is to use the blue sparingly and throw in a tiny bit of green if it comes out too purple. Other DIY fake blood recipes include using chocolate syrup, honey, and agave nectar. So really, the options are endless.