Types of Stage Blood

From powders to sprays to squibs, a look at stage blood applications

As anyone who's ever seen Sweeney Todd already knows, stage blood can be an effective dramatic tool. There's something primal about the unexpected sight of blood onstage -- that splash of red can be a powerful thing.

While it was once common to make your own stage blood (often using some variety of syrup and food coloring), stage blood is now available inexpensively and from a number of reputable industry manufacturers. Professional stage blood from such names as Mehron, Kryolan, and more, also works more dependable, is more realistic in appearance, resistant to staining, and is typically non-toxic (be sure to check).

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Blood Syrup

Blood syrup is probably the most popular type. It's liquid, very red, and typically used for fresh wounds that need to spread, spatter, or drip. It's available in small quantities, or even by the gallon, so you'll have everything you need for staging that upcoming production of!

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Blood Gel

Blood gel is available in several different varieties, and it's usually thicker and darker inconsistency.  It will still drip (and in fact, many blood gels will actually resist drying), but gel will do so more slowly and creepily than liquid. It's also extremely small, which makes it a great asset for your on-the-go stage makeup kit.

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Blood Paste

Blood paste, meanwhile, is more for painting on -- it's thicker, able to dry, and meant to evoke clotted or older wounds. Unlike gels or liquids, blood paste stays in place, and it's typically used for gore and wound makeup effects.

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Blood Powder

Blood powder (also called "Magic Blood") is another unique and recent option in the world of stage blood, as it's initially invisible to the eye when applied in powder form, but is then activated and turns red when exposed to water. To simulate a wound occurrence, you simply need to apply it to the skin and it's invisible -- but when you drag a wet blade across its surface, a satisfyingly bloody line appears!

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Blood Squibs or Capsules

Blood squibs or capsules, meanwhile, are held in the mouth, then bitten down upon at just the right moment to provide a frothy, bloody effect from the mouth -- for instance, when the hero's just been punched and coolly spits his contempt at the villain afterward.

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Blood Spray

Blood Sprays are another interesting option for productions, as they offer a way to satisfyingly spray or spatter a costume or major set piece quickly. Sprays come in aerosol and pump action varieties, and most are easy to refill, yet are small enough to fit into a standard stage makeup kit or case.