How to Make Blood

You’ll need:
Karo Syrup
Red Food Coloring
Green Food Coloring
A Spoon
Large Sheets of Paper
Wax Paper (optional)

Fill a glass half full of syrup and then add the red food coloring. You won’t need much to fully dye the syrup, just make sure to stir it well. Next add small amounts of green, stirring well and checking color. Again you won’t need much to make it dark enough to look real.

Tip: Add very small amounts of water if you want the blood to spatter more. If you do this, I recommend using two mixing cups to keep the watered down batch separate. Once you’ve added water, no amount of syrup will restore the batch to its original thickness.

Tip: Do your mixing and pouring outside, none of these ingredients is something you want on your socks. The syrup is really sticky and the food coloring may wind up on your cat’s feet. Learn from my mistake.

Obvious tip: Do all of your spattering outside, in a place where you can make a mess. Clean up with a hose or several buckets of water.

To create the spatters, you’ll need a spattering device (spoon) and a spatter receiver (paper). Sounds easy, but it can be difficult to control the spatter and avoid “spoon spatter,” or spatter not created by the liquid’s impact on the paper.

I found my best spatters were done in a few passes. For the first pass I took a small amount of the watered down syrup and laid down a foundational spray of small drips. Next I’d take a bigger amount of the thick original batch and lay down a large spatter. This usually creates one big blob and several medium sized ones. To create long drips I slowly lifted one end of the paper.

Immediately following a good spatter, grab your camera and snap a bunch of shots. You need to hurry because the paper will begin to warp as the syrup soaks in, creating undesirable wave patterns in your spatter and on the paper. I suggest taking a few test shots before your first serious spatter so you can configure your camera for your lighting situation.

The next time I make blood spatters I’m going to try wax paper to avoid paper warping. You’ll still need regular paper as a backing because wax paper is transparent. I’ve tried tin foil but it reflects a lot of light and isn’t easy to keep flat.

Your photos may need some color correction and editing, especially if you use wax paper, or if you procrastinate like me and wait until almost sunset to make your spatters. With Photoshop I used two adjustment layers to make my blood more realistic. First I added a Levels adjustment layer (Layer->Add Adjustment Layer) and adjusted it until the background turned white. Next I added a Color Balance adjustment Layer and increased the amount of Blue on midtones by about +25. Et voila.

So there you have it, in total I spent three hours and about ten bucks to create my splatters. Not bad! If you have tips or suggestions please contact me.

If you’re just looking for some free blood spatters, or you want to see what my photos looked like before I modified them in Photoshop, download my high resolution examples below: