SFX Basics: Different Types of Fake Blood

SFX Basics: Different Types of Fake Blood

fake blood

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!

RELATED: SFX Basics: Rigid Collodion

Different Types of Fake Blood

Credit: Mehron and Ben Nye – Store bought, Squirt Blood, Stage Blood, Coagulated Blood, Scab 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

RELATED: SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

When To Incorporate Wounds Into Cosplay

diy-fake-blood

Mehron Stage Blood and Ben Nye Scab Blood

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. 

RELATED: SFX Basics: All About Latex

Hazards

SFX Basics-Rigid Collodion

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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.

 

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SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

 

It’s October which means it’s time to bring back my SFX Basics series. For this edition, we’re going to talk about a product called Spirit Gum and Spirit Gum Remover.

Special effects makeup (usually referred to as FX or SFX makeup) is used throughout Hollywood to bring our favorite characters to life. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jason from Halloween or Iron Man from the Marvel– at some point, these actors have special effects makeup and prosthetics glued to their faces. Granted, a lot of CGI is now being used but hey… that’s the magic of film. 

The product we are talking about today probably has been used in theatre since the for literally hundreds of years and remains a staple for easy adhesion. It’s not the strongest stuff out there, but it’s perfect for cosplayers who are new to SFX makeup and are looking for something that is easy to administer and can survive a day at comic-con.

So let’s get started.

RELATED: SFX Basics: Rigid Collodion

What is Spirit Gum?

SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

If you want the Wikipedia definition, Spirit gum is an adhesive, made mostly of SD Alcohol 35-A (the solvent, or “spirit“) and resin (the adhesive, or “gum“).

In cosplay, Spirit Gum is used mostly to glue down wigs (it’s stronger than eyelash glue) or to apply facial hair or prosthetics. Thankfully, this stuff is easy to find and can be purchased year-round on Amazon. You’ll see it pop up a lot more in your local chain stores around the Halloween season as they’re typically included in those cheap makeup kits (Pro Tip: don’t use those… they suck). 

How To Apply Spirit Gum

SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

Applying this SFX product is relatively easy. It’s best used for lightweight items such as facial hair or for gluing down your wig. I actually used it to add on the frozen “crystals” to my Jackie Frost cosplay.

All you have to do is paint a layer onto the back of your prosthetic, wig, or facial hair. You’ll have to wait for it to be tacky before you place it on your face or body. You can test it out by dabbing your finger onto the area where you place the adhesive to check the consistency. If it’s still wet or slimy, it’s not ready to be applied.

For extra security, you can use this same technique on the part of your skin where you will be placing the prosthetic so that you will have a double layer of Spirit Gum to secure it. However, this technique isn’t really necessary for wigs or faux facial hair.

RELATED: SFX Basics: All About Latex

For SFX Makeup and Cosplay

SFX Basics: Spirit Gum

Spirit Gum is perfect for when you plan on wearing a prosthetic all day (i.e. at a convention). It works especially well with heavier prosthetics. I generally don’t glue down my wigs (because laziness), but I’d recommend this adhesive over eyelash glue or heavier adhesive like Pros-Aide. You can also use it to help hold down masks, gloves, or other loose accessories you may have in your cosplay. 

 

Some characters that might require this SFX adhesive are:

  • Elves (Lord of the Rings, WoW, Skyrim): Use it to apply elf ears.
  • Poison Ivy: So you can attach leaves arbitrarily on your face and body
  • Gandalf/Captain Jack Sparrow/Aquaman: Pretty much any character that requires you to glue some faux hair to your face.
  • Nebula: To hold down the wig cap and her mechanical eye fixture…things

RELATED: Harry Potter Scar SFX Tutorial 

Hazards

SFX Basics-Rigid Collodion

 

 

This product has been used in theatre as early as the 1870s. Crazy, right? Since it’s inception, professionals have been able to garner a formula that is pretty safe. The only real cause for concern when using this product is that it may cause some irritation on the skin. More so if you don’t remove your heavy prosthetics properly with Spirit Gum Remover. 

 

Spirit Gum Remover

In case you couldn’t guess, Spirit Gum Remover is used to remove Spirit Gum. The remover smells vaguely of peppermint and can be used to remove a variety of SFX products, such as Rigid Collodion. I highly recommend having this in your SFX makeup supply kit, simply because it’s the safest and easiest way to remove a prosthetic after a long con day.

 

In order to remove your prosthetic, wig, or facial hair without hurting yourself, make sure to use Spirit Gum Remover. 

You will need:

Simply pour Spirit Gum Remover on a cotton ball and wipe the solution where you originally applied the adhesive until it safely lifts the prosthetic from your face.

More Cosplay Supplies & Tutorials
DIY Buck Teeth

DIY Buck Teeth

DIY Buck Teeth- SFX basics

A fun and sometimes vital part of cosplay is learning how to accentuate your character with the finer details. This can mean embellishing your foam armor with bevels and shading or it could mean adding buck teeth to your Chuckie Finster cosplay. I personally didn’t do this for mine, but I thought it would be fun (and useful) to figure out the best method for DIY buck teeth.

You would think that constructing your own false set of teeth would be easy in comparison to foam smithing and sewing, right? Well, then you would be…

Correct!

Now, I will say that this is a more tedious method, but it works wonderfully. The products might not be something that is in your typical cosplay toolbox, but I do recommend each and every one of these products for your arsenal.

Here’s What You’ll Need

    • Insta Morph Moldable Plastic


Yes, that is literally it.

About InstaMorph

How the heck do you expect to know how to use moldable plastic without knowing what it is first?

Here’s the product description:

InstaMorph is an advanced modeling compound that becomes moldable when warm (150 deg F) and solidifies at room temperature. It’s made out of a lightweight polyester thermoplastic which acts like clay when warm, but when it cools, it’s a strong plastic. Unlike other products that once they dry they are locked in that shape forever, InstaMorph can be reheated over and over again and re-molded into any number of configurations.

RELATED: SFX Basics: Rigid Collodion

InstaMorph Safety Warnings!

InstaMorph is a non-toxic substance, so it is completely safe to put into your mouth.

However!

InstaMorph does come with a Choking Hazard label, specifically stating, “Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.”

RELATED: Chuckie Finster Cosplay eBook!

How-To: DIY Buck Teeth

Now that we have that out of the way, here is how you can DIY buck teeth!

(Pics coming soon)

Step 1: Heat water to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius)

I boiled some water, but apparently, microwaving water works just fine.

Step 2: Pour a small amount of InstaMorph beads into the water.

Pro Tip: A little goes a long way. In other words, you don’t need much for two small buck teeth.

Step 3: Wait 2 minutes or until the beads turn clear and start to stick together. I recommend using a wooden spoon to bring the pellets together.

Step 4: Remove from the water and place on a paper towel.

Warning! These are heated plastic so it will be hot.

Step 5: Pat the plastic a little bit and wait a few seconds for it to cool. You’ll notice that the plastic will be flimsy enough to manipulate, but still not in its solid form. It’s kind of a jelly-like material.

Before it dries, place the plastic on your two front teeth and start molding to your teeth.

You may find that you need to add more pellets. All you have to do is stick the teeth right back into the hot water and add more. The new beads will start to gravitate towards the other plastic piece, making it easy to mold the plastic together.

If you need to make your buck teeth less prominent, you can heat the InstaMorph back up until it returns to its jelly-like form and start ripping the plastic apart to make smaller pieces.

Step 6: Let it cool at room temperature (usually takes less than a few minutes). And voila! You have your own custom DIY buck teeth.

The plastic dries white so you don’t have to worry about painting them or anything.

You can use more InstaMorph to create a kind of base for the top of your gums to hold the buck teeth in place, or you can simply glue them on with denture adhesive.

Here are some characters you can use for DIY buck teeth:

  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Peter Pan 
  • Chuckie Finster
  • Mater
  • Goofy
  • Varian
  • Lampwick
  • Mac The Hen

More Cosplay SFX

Have questions? Leave them in the comments below!
SFX Basics: Rigid Collodion

SFX Basics: Rigid Collodion

 

SFX Basics- Rigid Collodion

 

When it comes to special effects makeup (or SFX makeup), products can fall under tiers ranging from Easy to Difficult. While Rigid Collodion isn’t difficult to use, I would place it in the Difficult category purely because you must know the hazards of using this product.

Rigid Collodion can give you lasting and impressive scarred looks, but we want to make sure those looks don’t become permanent. So for this SFX Basics, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about Rigid Collodion so that you can incorporate SFX looks into your cosplays!

 

What Is Rigid Collodion?

SFX Basics- Rigid Collodion

 

Realistic looking scars can be incorporated into cosplay with the use of Rigid Collodion, also known as scarring liquid. The medical field typically uses this clear, flexible solution to cover actual scars. Theatrical or SFX Rigid Collodion is a non-flexible version that pukers the skin when applied, which gives the illusion of a light or dense scar. 

RELATED: SFX Basics: All About Latex

How Rigid Collodion Works

SFX Basics-Rigid Collodion

 

Rigid Collodion tightens the skin when applied. As the solution drys, it shrinks, pulling the skin inward– thus creating a scarring effect. You will start to feel Rigid Collodion working on your skin almost instantaneously.

Using Rigid Collodion For SFX Makeup and Cosplay

Anti-Gwenom Makeup Tutorial

 

This SFX product can be used to intensify cosplays that call for scars in their typical look such as the Joker, Harry Potter, or Katarina from League of Legends. Rigid Collodion is also great for simulating wrinkles or severed fingers.

Before applying, map out where you want your scar to go. Use a mauve lip liner for a fresh cut look, and use a nude or natural color lip liner to simulate an older scar. 

The more layers you apply, the more dramatic and deep your scar is going to look. When administrating Rigid Collodion, wait for the first layer to completely dry before applying the next. Rigid Collodion works best in less mobile areas such as the cheek, forehead, or nose. While you can opt to use this SFX product in areas such as the sides of the mouth (i.e. for a Joker cosplay), it won’t last as long and will start to peel as the day goes on. When you’re satisfied with your scar, I also advise coating the scar with a finishing powder to eliminate the shine. 

RELATED: SFX Basics Spirit Gum

Hazards

SFX Basics-Rigid Collodion

 

Before using this product, make sure to test it on a small part of your skin. If it starts to hurt or irritate your skin, stop using it, remove it, and lay down Barrier Spray for protection. Never put this on or near your lips or eyes, and always make sure to work in a ventilated area because it has a very strong odor. 

Rigid Collodion can create actual scars if it’s not properly removed. This will generally only happen if you peel off heavily applied collodion or if you use the product in the same area multiple days in a row. Just like a real scar, if you pick at it you have a higher chance of damaging your actual skin. So be sure to remove this stuff the right way.

 

Which leads us to:

 

How To Properly Remove Rigid Collodion

SFX Basics-Rigid Collodion

 

Removing Rigid Collodion is just as easy as applying it. However, you will need a couple of extra tools, which should cost you less than $10.

You will need:

Spirit Gum is an adhesive used to connect prosthetics to your face or other parts of your body. To remove those prosthetics, you simply use Spirit Gum Remover to safely lift the prosthetic from your face. This product is made for SFX products, which is why it’s the simple solution for removing Rigid Collodion as well. Simply pour Spirit Gum Remover on a cotton ball and wipe away your scar creation until it peels off. This ensures safe removal of your SFX look and you won’t be left with any real scars.

You can see how I use Rigid Collodion (and how I remove it) in my upcoming Harry Potter scar video tutorial coming this week for a visual look at how to use this product!

 

You Might Also Like:

Harry Potter Scar and Cosplay Tutorial            Harry Potter Scar SFX Tutorial 

 

Anti-Gwenom Makeup Tutorial           Anti-Gwenom Makeup Tutorial

 

More Cosplay Supplies & Tutorials