Select Page

My DIY No-Stain Washable Fake Blood Recipe!

For those of you not interested in the backstory, click here to go right to the recipe. You're welcome.

<a href="" target="_self">Greg</a>


Posted on 1 October 2022

Published in Featured, Producer
<i>DIE HARD</i>


Currently Watching

Matt Pick as Karl and Wade F. Wilson as John McClane (covered in our no-stain stage blood recipe) in Theatre Unleashed's award-wining production of A Very DIE HARD Christmas, presented at studio/stage for the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Directed by Gregory Crafts. Photo by Matt Kamimura
Matt Pick (L) and Wade F. Wilson (R) as Karl and John McClane in A Very DIE HARD Christmas, produced by Theatre Unleashed at the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Photo Credit: Matt Kamimura

My DIY No-Stain Washable Fake Blood Recipe!

by | 8 comments

3 min read

‘Tis the season! And by that, I mean it’s almost time for the annual cast viewing of that holiday classic, DIE HARD, as we begin our rehearsal process for the next iteration of Theatre Unleashed’s annual production of A Very DIE HARD Christmas.

And that got me thinking: every year we do this show, we go through gallons – and I mean literal gallons – of fake stage blood.

I don’t think this is much of a spoiler, but John McClane (and by extension, the rest of the cast) ends up covered head-to-toe in this stage blood. It’s an awesome effect, but doing this every night means we have to wash everyone’s costumes after every performance, especially John McClane’s signature undershirts so they’re nice and stark white again.

As you can imagine, this is easier said than done.

As anyone who dabbles in theatrical effects knows, cheap stage blood is very unforgiving and will stain your skin and clothes if you look at it the wrong way, whereas most commercially available bottles of “washable fabric-safe fake blood” come in tiny bottles that are prohibitively expensive.

So, how do we keep the cleaning budget from ballooning out of control? By making it ourselves using my tried and true, super-sexy, fabric-safe, no-stain washable stage blood recipe, that’s how!

When we first mounted the West Coast Premiere of A Very DIE HARD Christmas in 2015, I spent about a month (and a couple hundred dollars) experimenting with different recipes I found.

First off, don’t use any that are soap-based. Just… don’t. Those mixes are incredibly messy, they start to foam up when you sweat, and you absolutely do not want to get that stuff in anyone’s eyes. We were using a very problematic soap-based concoction all the way up until the final dress rehearsal and I was at my wits’ end when one last Google search turned up a recipe involving dark Karo corn syrup and poster paint.

We experimented with this new recipe, and we were somewhat happier with the results. However, we weren’t quite getting the consistent look we wanted. So, we switched it up a bit, and Bazinga: no-stain stage blood!

Easy as that! This recipe is great for theatrical productions, film shoots, and all of your holiday needs! Merry Christmas!

DISCLAIMER: Now, for this to live up to its “no-stain” claim, the trick is that you need to wash the blood out of fabric before it dries, especially white or light-colored fabric, or fabric with a pile to it (such as, I don’t know, stage curtains). If it dries (and it will within ten to twenty minutes after application), then all bets are off. Forewarned is forearmed.

Footnote to the Disclaimer: We had a few John McClane undershirts get stuck in storage without getting washed one year – gross, I know. When we pulled them out of storage, they were literally dried solid from the blood mix. However, we ran them through the laundry to see what would happen, and both the syrup and the color washed out completely! I wouldn’t recommend this with Grandma’s lace or anything, but this washable formula really lives up to its namesake.


Like my No-Stain Fake Blood Recipe? Have you tried it yourself? Or maybe you have your own stainless, fabric-safe, washable stage blood recipe that works even better? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Arden Thomas

    This blood recipe was perfect! We used it for a production of CARRIE. Blood on prom dresses, white cotton nightgowns, clothing … It all came right out in the washing machine. We had a bloody good time!

    • Greg

      So glad to hear it! Thank you so much, Arden! Also, I heard your lighting was absolutely top-notch! 😉

  2. Logan

    This recipe literally saved my life. My school was doing a production of Clue, and our teacher told me to find a good recipe for fake blood. Not disappointed with the results. Thank you so much.

    • Greg

      My pleasure, Logan! So glad it helped, and congratulations on your production!

      The first full show I ever produced was when I was a senior in high school, and we did Clue: The Musical. Did you do that one, or a stage adaptation of the film?

  3. Hugh Janus

    Hey Greg you’re a real piece of shit. I read that whole damn thing to better understand how the blood works and then gave you my GODDAMN email address only to find out it’s gonna work for MUCH less time than you implied. you couldn’t mention that you were changing his stark undershirts periodically so as to not stain them? God damn you, cruel bastard. You poisoned my water, burned my crops, and have rendered a plague unto my house. My mother is ill and fading every hour. I will not rest until you’re brought to justice.

    • Greg

      Lol. Well, I’m not sure how much of this comment to take seriously. However, I’ll address the criticism of my formula at face value.

      Mr. Hugh Janus, you’re right. We did have multiple undershirts backstage for John McClane. They each had different amounts of blood on them, and were all used over the course of one performance and washed immediately afterward. We never had trouble getting this blood out of them, even the ones that were completely saturated with it.

      Now, I did say for best results you should make sure you’re using the correct components and wash the blood out of the fabric before it dries completely.

      Is that guaranteed to work as intended with every type of material? No. I’ve got a bunch of ruined stage curtains after our last run because our John and Karl were *very* enthusiastic with their blood application and would then run through the curtains without someone first draping them back. Any fabric with a pile needs to be cleaned quickly, or it will clump and be ruined. That was an expensive mistake.

      Also, this should go without saying, but I’ll reiterate it anyway: this is a recipe off some random dickhead’s blog on the internet. While it’s worked really well for me, your mileage may vary and you should test this stuff yourself before going all-in on it.

      Oh, and Hugh. I didn’t just burn your crops, I salted the earth so nothing may grow there ever again. And I drank your milkshake while I was at it. Have fun with that.

      I regret nothing, and you’ll never take me alive.

  4. Jodie

    I have a question, I don’t really care about it staining the clothes in my film shoot but I need to put this blood on a dark tiled porcelain floor and painted kitchen cabinets. Will it stain this?

    • Greg

      Hi Jodie! Thank you so much for your comment!

      I’ve never tested this on porcelain before, but I can say that we have gotten this blood off floors, walls, and other painted surfaces with little difficulty.

      Everything in the recipe is water soluble, so a warm wet rag and with some soap and elbow grease should get this off most surfaces.

      I also recommend not leaving it on the surface for hours at a time. If it dries and sets, it’ll take more effort to clean it up and I can’t guarantee that it won’t leave at least a little pigment behind.

      I recommend testing it out before committing to it fully, but I’m reasonably sure that you’ll get the results you want here.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gregory Crafts

Gregory Crafts


  • Creative Multi-Hyphenate
  • Theatre Maker
  • Coffee lover
  • Cat Dad
  • Professional Dungeon Master (yeah, that's a thing!)
  • Emerson Mafioso
  • Gonna be on your favorite TV show one day
  • Let's Go Red Sox!
Greg's Tattoo

Contact Greg

Copyright 2019-2023 Gregory Crafts. All Rights Reserved.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.