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For a vampire-style larp event, and for the Curse of Strahd session I want to make a fake blood that looks good on photos. Sadly, professional Kryolan blood I usually love to use is out of my budget now, as I'd like to have around 10 liters (≈2½ gallons) of it total. Problem is, recipe I did have requires gelatin. The issue with gelatin is that it starts to smell quite fast, and does not work great in 35℃ = 95℉. It also isn't vegan and that can bother some players.

Other ingredients I use are food colouring and very very finely ground coffee for reducing opacity.

My requirements are:

  • Cheap
  • Thick, stays in place long enough to take some climatic photos
  • Doesn't go bad in 35℃, 95℉ summer days
  • Does not stink
  • Looks reasonably real

My nice to have are:

  • Vegan
  • Easy to wash off
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not really an answer, since I haven't tested this at all, but there are vegan gelatin substitutes (gelling agents) like agar that could probably work. The non-protein-based ones are also less likely to go stinky in the same way that gelatin does. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2023 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also not an answer, but I do know someone has used a mix of honey and some reddening agent (food colouring of some sort, but I don't know which) for 'blood' in photos and LARPs. Honey is not vegan, but may not cause as much issue as gelatin. It also doesn't go off or smell. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkorvaks
    Jul 27, 2023 at 7:32

2 Answers 2

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Get corn syrup, add a bit of water, add some red colouring, and a bit of water, and you're good to go.

You need as much corn syrup as you have blood, and then drip red food colouring in to colour it. Take it slow, you can always add more. Mix it a lot between drops. It's hard to know the exact recipe because it depends on what thickness of blood you want and your local corn syrup. I've used Karo Syrup personally.

You can add some strawberry or raspberry jam for flavour if you are doing licking scenes.

A drop of blue or green might improve the colour, depending on your food colouring, lighting. It's easy to experiment with this.

  1. Corn syrup is pretty cheap, it's vegan, you're all good.

  2. It's pretty thick. I tend to add a few drops of water to make for better zombie arms

  3. Sugar is antibacterial, I've used it on long summer nights to be a zombie.

  4. It's sugar, it smells sweet.

  5. It looks fairly decent

  6. It's vegan

  7. It's fairly washable, though wood stains easily with anything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The one problem I foresee with sugar on a hot day is wasps. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 3, 2023 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wasps, vampire's one weakness. Just leave a few sugary wasp traps around to be safe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 3, 2023 at 19:34
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What we have used in the past at LARPs as well as as prop during filming of our LARP story intro films is a mixture of the below ingredients.

All ingredients are...

  • Not only food safe but just... actual food.
  • Available in any bigger supermarket.
  • Vegan
  • Quite cheap, so getting liters of the stuff ready can be done on a small budget.

The ingredients

  • syrup of grenadine/blood orange/rasperry - provides stickyness and viscosity, exists in various shades of red
  • sugar - for extra viscosity without changing color
  • tomato sauce - provides chunkyness/texture if your going for older blood or worse injuries
  • beet root juice - mostly useful for the very intense color
  • soy sauce - again, used for the color to give the semblance of darker/older blood

The above can be mixed in various ratios to achieve different effects, such as viscosity, shade of color, texture, ...

Some notes

As soon as serious quantities of syrup or sugar are involved the mixture will be quite stable, and if heated to sterilisation should actually be storable for long periods of time without going bad.

If you mix all of these the resulting concoction might be food (safe), but will be quite disgusting (trust me :P). That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the application. :)

Some of these, e.g. beet root, WILL stain anything they come in contact with and are hard to impossible to wash out.

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