How to make a puddle of blood that expands

Have you ever wanted to shoot a scene where one of your actors gets shot in the head or trips and in the following scene they are lying on the floor in a puddle of blood? In this article you’ll learn how to make the “puddle of blood” effect at home!

More specifically, you’ll learn how to make a puddle of blood that expands as if the actor was bleeding out.

What you’ll need

You’ll need a few particular things to pull off this effect:

  • Fake blood
  • A rubber hose
  • Hot glue
  • An empty plastic bottle (at least 1l of volume)
  • A pair of scissors or a knife
  • And an actor who doesn’t mind getting their hair and clothes dirty

The fake blood

There are 2 ways of getting fake blood:

Buying it off the Internet

You can easily get fake blood from Amazon. It comes in different sized containers. Make sure you choose a product that isn’t gelatine-based. Why? Because you don’t want it to thicken over time.

Gallon of fake blood
Check out this one I found on Amazon:

Making the blood yourself

Preparing fake blood is a simple process. It can be done in many different ways. Here’s a video by Thaitrick I found on the subject:

For the purpose of making a puddle of blood under your actor’s head, make sure your blood isn’t too thick. It should be as runny as in the video. Otherwise it would be hard to get the blood through the hose.

Fun fact: Alfred Hitchcock used Boso Chocolate Syrup as fake blood in his movie “Psycho”. After all, the film was black and white.

The dispenser for fake blood

Now this is the fun part for all of you engineers! You’ll make a device, which will make our pond of blood slowly grow.

For this part you’ll need :

Scissors, plastic bottle, hot glue and a hose
  • A rubber hose – the smaller its diameter, the slower the flow
  • A big plastic bottle (at least 1l)
  • A pair of scissors or a knife
  • A hot glue gun
  • A rod of hot glue

Plug the hot glue gun in before the assembly, since it takes a while for it to heat up.

How to assemble it step by step:

First of all, empty the plastic bottle and cut it approximately in half of its length.

Cutting a plastic bottle in a striped t-shirt
This will be the top of your funnel

Secondly, make a hole in the bottle cap. Make sure it’s at least as big as the inner diameter of the hose. Otherwise the blood flow will be sluggish.

Making a hole in a bottle cap
Put the cap on a surface and push one end of the scissors on its middle. Don’t do it against your hand!

Thirdly, cut the rubber hose to the desired length – 1 meter will work just fine for closeup shots of the head. In contrast, use a longer piece if you’d like to show the entire actor lying on the floor.

Cutting a rubber hose with scissors
And snip!

Finally, glue one end of the hose to your bottle cap. Above all, bear in mind not to get glue inside the hole. It will block the blood flow. If, however, you managed to get the glue in there, just cut that end of the hose, get another bottle cap and try again!

Hot gluing a rubber hose to a bottle cap
Stick the hose inside the hole and seal the connection with hot glue. Using the dispenser will be cleaner if it doesn’t leak.

That’s it! Now you have your very own blood dispenser for creating puddles of blood under your actors.

How to make the puddle

Using the dispenser is pretty straightforward. It is essentially a funnel for your fake blood.

Firstly, attach the hose to the back of your actor’s clothes (duct tape comes in handy) – or better, run it through their clothes. This way the hose will be hidden even better. Certainly, the end of the hose should be under your actor’s head – that’s where the puddle will form.

transparent hose taped to the back of the head
Duct tape sticks well to the skin and is easy to remove – if the pieces ale small

Next, get somebody to hold the funnel up in the air. Another person should pour the fake blood inside. You may only need one person to do it all, but if you bought the gallon of blood which I mentioned above, then it may be a little tricky.

Pouring fake blood into a funnel
I used raspberry juice, since I didn’t have any fake blood lying around.

Eventually, the blood should be coming out of the other end of the hose. If, however, the flow is too slow, try blowing inside the bottle. It will solve the problem.

Fake blood splatter on the floor
Unfortunately nobody at my house wanted to get dirty for this effect. Maybe that’s because I used the sweet & sticky raspberry juice?
fake blood puddle on dry ground
The hose being transparent makes it easy to predict when to say “Action!”

Did you like this trick? I can assure you that it works, since I used it for a school video once. I will update the article if I find it someday.

Untill next week!