As independent filmmakers, finances are scant, and any way to save money is always welcome. Here is an easy way to make the nastiest wounds for your films with ingredients you probably already have in your household.
What you’ll need:
For the ‘flesh’:
- Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly)
- Foundation that matches your skin
- Baby powder
For clotted blood:
- Aloe Vera
- Red & blue food colouring
For fresh blood:
- Maple Syrup
- Red & green food colouring
- Mixing bowls
- Plastic knife
- Blush brush
- Paper towels
1. SCOOP OUT A GOOD AMOUNT OF VASELINE AND MIX IN FLOUR BIT BY BIT UNTIL YOU REACH A GOOD CONSISTENCY. It should be a thick, spreadable paste.
I probably could have added even more flour than I did. So, be generous with the flour, there’s not much you can do wrong. You will want it to set quickly. The more moist it is, the longer it will have to set.
- ADD FOUNDATION to have it match your skin as much as possible.
The foundation I used did not quite match the skin, so you’ll just have to play around with it. If it is too dark, add more flour and Vaseline, or try mixing different kinds of foundation to have it match your skin.
3. SPREAD PASTE ON THE AREA WHERE YOU WANT THE WOUND.
Don’t worry if it seems like it is hard to mould. Keep spreading and smoothing it out. The serrated knife made weird lines, so as you can see, the back of a teaspoon does wonders to smooth out the paste and to blend it in as best as possible. If you find utensils that work better, go for it!
4. APPLY BABY POWDER WITH THE BLUSH BRUSH TO LET IT SET.
I probably brushed on the baby powder 5-7 times. Keep going until the paste has absorbed the baby powder and it has a matte finish.
5. WITH THE PLASTIC KNIFE, MAKE THE CUT/WOUND.
This is the most exciting step. Be creative in this. I just kept it simple, but feel free to try out bullet wounds, claw marks etc. Whatever you heart desires.
Also, using the back of the plastic knife is just the safer alternative. You wouldn’t want to hurt yourself or your actors.
- DAB FOUNDATION ON IT to make it look as smooth and as close to the skin colour as possible.
This is an opportunity to make the paste blend in with your skin even more, in order to make it more transient. A bigger brush would have been easier to apply the foundation with, so… learn from my mistake and use a bigger brush.
- WITH THE SPONGE, DAB BLOOD ON IT.
For this, I used the ‘fresh blood’ mixture of maple syrup and food coloring (I further explain this in Step 10). This step gives the wound a bit more texture and the effect of a rash or beginnings of an infection around the wound.
- TO MAKE THE CLOTTED BLOOD, mix Aloe Vera with a few drops of red food colouring and one drop of blue food colouring.
I was a bit too eager with the blue food coloring, so I had to add more aloe vera and red food coloring. Be careful with the blue. It should definitely be darker than the ‘fresh blood’ mixture, as older blood oxidizes and turns darker as time passes.
9. ADD IT TO THE GROOVE OF THE WOUND.
- TO MAKE THE FRESH BLOOD, mix Maple syrup with a few drops of red food colouring and a tiny drop of green food colouring. If you look at your veins closely, they will have a greenish tint, hence the green food colouring.
11. APPLY IT TO THE WOUND TO HAVE IT DRIP BLOOD.
As you may have noticed, a paper towel suddenly appeared in the last photo… Needless to say, don’t try this on a white tablecloth… This last step is optional. Your wound won’t have to be dripping with blood. Just having the clotted blood already gives a good effect.
And there you go. A nasty, oozing wound – and all that from ingredients you most likely have in your house already.
Bear in mind that these are all just guidelines. Feel free to experiment with the quantities of the ingredients. Also, I would suggest you research what type of wound you’re doing, to make it as realistic as possible without being carried away too much by the blood and nastiness.
And don’t forget – have fun with it. There’s not much that can go wrong.