Washable Makeup Blood/vomit

Not sure if it’s possible, but I have a job next weekend and they want a blood that won’t stain/is washable from skin clothing and furniture/carpet.  Any recipes or brands out there?  We’re on a very tight budget.  Also what makes a good fake vomit that isn’t just oatmeal?  The actor has to be able to put it in his mouth and let it pour out.  Thanks!

Best Answer

  • Answer ✓
    There are a number of off-the-shelf blood formulas that try to be non-staining, but even those can have issues with certain materials/surfaces.  

    The best bet when it comes to furniture, carpet, and clothing, is to make sure they can all be replaced or have backups.  IE, don't shoot in a friend's house with blood unless you replace everything first with something that can get stained.

    Non-staining blood and mouth-safe blood are not typically the same formula, as detergents are typically added to make them non-staining. (or at least less likely to stain)

    One option is to use mouth-safe blood and shoot medium/close so you can't see everything covered in tarps.  And tarps alone are usually not enough.  The biggest issue on set is often tracking, when people walk through the blood and it migrates.  For that, make sure you have removable protective foot covers, and have someone responsible for monitoring (and cleaning) the blood between setups. 

    Vomit is usually pretty easy to make.  It just depends on what effect you are going for.  Just think about color and consistency. Do you want watery? foamy? chunky? a mix?  Is it a greenish-yellow bile color? Why is the person vomiting, and what might that character have eaten recently.   Need it darker?  Add chocolate.  Need it lighter? Add milk or lighter-colored ingredients.  And try and think about the flavor you are creating.  If you can make it appealing, your performer will appreciate it.  Even good flavors can become unpleasant after 20 takes.  

    That's why I like using a combination of fresh fruits, jellies, jams, juices, etc. as you can get a lot of colors, opacity, and texture variation without creating an unpleasant taste, and they often work with most dietary restrictions and have good alternatives for some allergies.

    First check with your performer to see if they have any food allergies or restrictions, then you can find some edible items to make your vomit mixture.   You can either use food coloring to get your desired color or simply find foods or liquids (like fruit juices) that already have that color.  I try and avoid food coloring as it can dilute and mix too easily, so you can't get good color separation.  It can also stain things.

    For chunks, you can mix in different chopped-up foods like banana, jello colored to match whatever translucency cand color you want, watermelon, etc.

    Make sure anything that goes in a performer's mouth is well looked after on set, and refrigerated as needed.  Try and avoid having dairy in your mixture if possible, as there are often good alternatives that have fewer concerns.

    I usually mix mine up into small plastic bottles that can be kept in a cooler, then pour out what I need into a cup for the performer to use prior to each take.   You may also want to mix in specific components right before each take to help get a specific performance.   I sometimes like to mix in a little bit of oil (vegetable, olive, etc) since it will not mix with the water-based vomit mixture and help add some breakup to the color.  Keep in mind some people have allergies to some oils (like sunflower oil)

    Hope that helps!



  • Thanks!  The character is supposed to have been binge drinking.  I’m considering some kind of tea,  with I guess something for chunks like you suggested.
  • I would like to have talked to the actors, but they didn’t even have a script finalized till last week.  And I had to order not long after.
  • In the scenario where you can't communicate with the actor, the best bet is to assume the most common allergies and dietary restrictions.   Try and avoid nuts, seeds, gluten/wheat, animal products (including JELLO, dairy, honey, eggs), soy, fish/shellfish, etc.

    Worst case scenario, have some food coloring and water handy.  And craft services is always a friend! 

    It can also depend on the shot too. For example, if the vomit is supposed to land on something or be seen in any detail. It's much easier if you just need to see the actor since you don't have to deal with as much quantity and the camera just sees moving liquid. 

    I had to prep for a shot where a character vomited on a car window, shot from inside the vehicle behind the glass.  In that case, the consistency was important as it needed to have some bits stick to the window, provide some clear areas so the character was not fully hidden from view, and have a specific color/opacity range to read right.  It's amazing how much needs to change just based on the desired shot, so try and plan for almost anything.  Especially on smaller productions where everything is prone to change last minute and you are not adhering to a strict shot list.

    For binge drinking, it would mostly be liquid and limited solids, so a yellowish fluid usually reads well.  The challenge there is it's usually a lot of liquid since the body is purging a night of drinking in one go (way more than an actor could hold in their mouth), so you may have to get creative with the shot to pull it off.  One trick (if they are using something like a toilet) is to already have some in there, and after the actor does their bit the camera can move to reveal the larger quantity.  Otherwise, you may need to start going the tube route.

    Hope the shoot goes well!

  • Thanks!  You’ve been very helpful as always.  I was considering a bit of watered down tea, and now yellow food coloring like you suggested. I believe it’s a night shoot.  Thanks, I’ll need it!

  • It made me queasy looking at it,  lol.  Yellow coloring,  oatmeal bits and watered down tea.
  • Looking good!

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