2. Use the right blood. See my earlier post: Shopping for Blood. Look at Ricky's -- the ultra-hip New York City beauty stores -- definitely the go-to place for strange shopping needs. I chose Ben Nye Stage Blood, which oddly boasts a "zesty mint flavor." It has a good color, perfect viscosity, and comes in a handy squeeze bottle for a good spatter. It has effective clotting and a good drying time.
3. Find a photo you like for reference. This is what Google Image is made for. I googled "bloody shirt" and found a panoply of macabre choices. My instant favorite turned out to be a shirt Bruce Willis wore in Red, a film I liked very much. Turns out they auctioned it off. The photo was on the auction site with other memorabilia including Hagrid's crossbow and Brad Pitt's hood from Inglorious Basterds. I didn't try to duplicate Bruce's shirt exactly, but I used the photo for reference and splashed away. I liked the roughly triangular shape of the main splotch. And I liked the drops and smudges on the sleeves. Nice.
4. I strongly suggest doing this in the kitchen or bathroom. Maybe the tub. I found it easier to work on it flat, rather than hanging, but that may be personal taste. Put some newspaper under the shirt front so that the blood doesn't go through to the back of the shirt. You've heard the term 'bleed through?'
5. Control the blood flow. Don't use too much. It's easier to add blood -- spots, drops, and smudges -- later than to get rid of excess blood. Allow for ample drying time. Air drying is better than using a hair dryer, but use it if you are in a hurry.
I find that being a playwright is not just sitting at the computer. A staged reading is a bare bones affair. I'm lucky to have an excellent Director (Jerry Schwartz) and an amazing professional Stage Manager, Liz Reddick, but I'm also happy to pitch in and buy blood and deploy it.
The second rehearsal of Murder on the Main Line is tonight, the reading is tomorrow. The shirt is ready for its close-up.