‘The Vampire Diaries’: Ian Somerhalder Said Multiple Types of Fake Blood Were Used

Most realize that the movies and shows like The Vampire Diaries are created with the help of both digital and practical effects, like fake blood. Though the series ended in 2017, many people still talk about the CW hit and the extremes that crew and cast went through to turn fantasy into reality. In fact, star Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) said multiple types of fake blood were used for different purposes.

What was the fake blood in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ made of?

vampire diaries fake blood
Actor Ian Somerhalder speaks onstage during the ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Originals’ panel on January 11, 2015. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

When telling a story about vampires and other supernatural beings, blood obviously plays a part. However, most people don’t want to drink, touch, or even see actual blood.

According to Somerhalder, no one on the set had to. At a convention in Paris in 2011 (via YouTube), he even jokes everyone had to donate blood, and sometimes they mixed it with vodka. He acknowledges red food coloring is perhaps one of the worst things you can do for your body, but he consumed way too much for nine months.

Somerhalder said that five different types of fake blood were used on the show. Some types included organic cherry extract juice for close views of blood. In his own words, “it made you look like you liked it, but your body thrums in protest.”

Special FX makeup artist Conor McCullagh explained the process of making gallons of fake blood in a video for Seventeen. He explained they used corn syrup, peppermint, and food coloring. Also, salt was used as a preservative to ensure when needed, the “blood” was still good to use.

Blood wasn’t the only FX artistry on set

The creators’ creativity on the teen drama’s set knew no boundaries. In addition to realistic fake blood, here’s how The Vampire Diaries actors‘ teeth became fangs.

McCullagh and his team created fangs from actual impressions of their teeth. Each fang was a custom-fit fang cap to ensure that they looked as natural as possible.

Taking it even further, if wounds were a part of the script, they used prosthetics. When it came to the hearts ripped out of someone’s chest, they were all fake. Joseph Morgan (Klaus) had to have custom vegan hearts made, which allowed him to take a bite out of it.

When achieving the oddly colored eyes, this stemmed from colored contacts. For Somerhalder, the contact lenses were so large they would often bring him to tears in pain.

The special effects weren’t always easy to handle


‘The Vampire Diaries’ Star Ian Somerhalder Once Played a Practical Joke on Nina Dobrev During a Scene Where Damon Was Naked

Somerhalder admits that he struggled with the amount of blood he had to consume. Even on the hottest days filming in Georgia, he would often take runs because he consumed so much that he felt the need to sweat out some sugar or risk passing out.

Additionally, Nina Dobrev spent so much time wearing fangs that she found it hard to talk if she wasn’t wearing them. She left the show after just six seasons. While fans theorized this had to do with her split from Somerhalder, Dobrev says she simply wanted to move on to other projects.