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

<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 | 4 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?


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.