How to Create Realistic Halloween Bruises Using Washable Markers - Holidappy - Celebrations
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How to Create Realistic Halloween Bruises Using Washable Markers

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I've always loved Halloween, but as a full-time student with a part-time job, I don't have the time or money to shop for high-end makeup.

It's easier than you think to create creepily realistic bruise effects using nothing but non-toxic, washable markers.

It's easier than you think to create creepily realistic bruise effects using nothing but non-toxic, washable markers.

Why Fake Bruises?

Don't have the time or money to shop around for professional costumes or horror makeup this Halloween? I know the feeling, friend! I live in an apartment, attend school, and pay for both rent and college with a part-time job. It's difficult to make ends meet, and I rarely have any excess money for costumes and make-up. I do, however, love Halloween.

Last-Minute, Low-Low Cost Halloween Effects

Through years of experience, I've learned to make do with whatever I have at my disposal to ensure I look awesomely spooky during my favorite time of the year. Fancier costumes cost way too much money, and all you really need to go as a zombie or ghoul is some old clothes and a few markers!

This is an easy tutorial that anyone, including children, should be able to follow. Fake bruises are one of the cheapest, easiest, and quickest effects you can create at home right before going out. If anyone is interested in something a little more complicated, let me know!

Supplies

  • Nontoxic, washable markers
  • Your skin (for the purpose of this demonstration, I used my hand)
These are the non-toxic washable markers I used for this tutorial. Blue and red are the only colors you will need.

These are the non-toxic washable markers I used for this tutorial. Blue and red are the only colors you will need.

Instructions

Now that you've got your markers, you're ready to start creating your own haunting Halloween bruise effects! Before beginning, double-check that you're using washable, non-toxic markers. The inks from other types of markers can harm your skin. Please, use common sense.

1. Select a Location for Your Fake Bruise

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to create a bruise on your wrist, but this same process will work anywhere on your body. You can follow these steps multiple times to create bruises on different areas of your body.

I do not suggest trying this on areas where you have a lot of hair. Unless you shave the area, the bruises you create will be difficult to see. Coloring over hair is also a good way to quickly kill cheap markers.

2. Create a Light-Blue Base Color

The first thing I like to do is build color. For best results, start with a light blue color. A darker primary blue marker will work ok, but you'll need to work harder to get the same effect.

Begin by lightly coloring the skin where you want the bruise to be. As you color, use your finger to rub the ink into the skin. This will help it blend with your natural skin tone. This first layer shouldn't create major contrast with your skin. Your goal is to make a faint bruise shape for you to follow as you continue.

If you're using a darker blue marker, color a spot on your skin about the size of a dime, then vigorously rub the ink in a circular motion to blend it until it's faint. Repeat this process on adjacent areas until you have covered the total area you want to serve as your bruise.

You can see the area around my wrist is now a nice sickly blue.  I also got a little creative and started going up my palm.

You can see the area around my wrist is now a nice sickly blue. I also got a little creative and started going up my palm.

3. Blend Some Red in With the Blue

Now we're going to fill the same area in with red. Repeat the process from step two, but now use a red marker. Feel free to color a larger area than you did with the blue. At this point, the blending gets a little more difficult, so I like to take a damp washcloth corner and use the moisture to help blend the two inks.

Don't be afraid to let the blue and red blend together. Aim for a nice, splotchy mix of purple, red, and blue coloration. Be careful to not over-blend, or else your overall design will be too faint and won't look very striking. On the other hand, try not to under-blend, or your bruise won't look as realistic.

After adding blending some red into my base layer, my wrist now shows a spotty mix of purple, red, and blue.

After adding blending some red into my base layer, my wrist now shows a spotty mix of purple, red, and blue.

4. Add Some Dark Blue to a Few Small Areas

Now grab a dark blue marker. Select certain areas that you want to pop out a little more, and color them with your dark blue marker. The areas you color should be no bigger than the size of a dime.

Since the pigment you are using is darker, it will be more difficult to blend than the light blue and the red. Apply the damp washcloth to the dark blue areas while the ink it still wet; do this immediately after you're done coloring them. If you wait too long, the dark blue ink won't blend as nicely. I like to look at reference pictures of bruises while doing this to help understand how they color naturally.

Now that I've added the darker blue to few areas and blended it with my base layers, the overall look of the bruise is more dynamic.

Now that I've added the darker blue to few areas and blended it with my base layers, the overall look of the bruise is more dynamic.

5. Add Some Highlights and Finishing Touches

Spend some time adding red, blue, or other colors wherever you feel they are necessary. Looking at a reference image is a wonderful way to keep you headed in the right direction. Bruises come in many colors!

I tend to stay away from the color black, as it doesn't usually appear in natural bruises. If you're going for a "black and blue" bruise, be sure to blend the black in carefully. It's very easy to overdo it, and you might wind up with a tacky-looking result.

The rest is up to you, so blend until you're satisfied, and be careful not to go overboard—sometimes less is more.

For a more realistic effect, taper your red color off slowly so it becomes fainter as it moves away from the bruise.

For a more realistic effect, taper your red color off slowly so it becomes fainter as it moves away from the bruise.

I hope this tutorial has helped you create some stunning fake bruises. This type of fake bruising also makes a great foundation for other Halloween makeup effects. If you're short on time and money this October, just experiment, be creative, and have fun!

Comments

Samantha on June 08, 2020:

I tried this, and if you add a bit of green and yellow, it gets even more realistic!

lolo on May 23, 2019:

i did this already good to know others no

It’s AMAZING! on February 01, 2019:

I tried this, and I only got a red shade but it looks good! Also, Welcome to Hubpage!

mvaivata on January 29, 2012:

So gross... yet... so cool! I am so gonna add this to my next costume. Thank you!

bschnabel (author) from Vermont on September 28, 2011:

Thanks Susan! Much appreciated!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 28, 2011:

Very cool! Welcome to HubPages.