Silver Ain’t Steel – But It Can Be! How To Paint A Faux Steel Effect – Over at the Rosco Blog, Angelique Powers shows us how she came up with some convincing steel surfaces using only paint.
Quantum Creations FX’s Fallout Pip-Boy Prop – Tested takes their video cameras to Monsterpalooza, where they chat with Christian Beckman, founder of Quantum Creation FX. He shows off a Pip-Boy prop they fabricated for a Fallout commercial, as well as a custom spacesuit they constructed specifically for the trade show.
Late Show Backstage Pass: The Invisible Props Department – In lighter news, Stephen Colbert brings us a day in the life of Sarah, the head of the Late Show’s “invisible props” department.
Pro-tips for Painting Pretty Patinas – Angelique Powers brings us another article over at the Guild of Scenic Artists’ page, this time showing some cool techniques for faking patinas and verdigris on metallic surfaces.
Woodworking from the ‘Bone Age’ – Chris Schwartz unearths this great article on how archaeologists attempt to recreate ancient woodworking techniques using ancient tools to help them understand some of the artifacts they discover.
The Power of Gold – Propnomicon shares this great video from Brazen and Bold about painting an aged metal finish using spray paint, acrylics, and an airbrush.
Flashlight Museum – The next time someone questions the historical accuracy of the flashlight you put in the show, send them to this museum. They have over 3700 images of flashlights from the dawn of flashlight history to the present.
One of the Toughest (Silent) Jobs at the Met Opera – The New York Times looks into life as a spotlight operator at the Met. Sure, it’s not props, but it’s nice to see a major newspaper acknowledge one of our backstage companions. Plus, many of us have probably run spot at some point in our career.
Alien Covenant’s Armor, Weapons, and Blood Effects! – Adam Savage takes a look at all the cool props and practical effects in the upcoming Alien film.
Yolanda Baker is the Last Disco Ball Maker. She has made tens of thousands of mirror balls by hand for the past fifty years at Omega National Products in Louisville, the last American manufacturer of this iconic object. Chances are, if you have a US mirror ball, it was made by her. She even did all the balls in Saturday Night Fever.
Make Magazine shows us How to Make Breakaway Bottles and Window Panes. They use sugar glass, ugggggghhh. The process they describe is easy enough to adapt to isomalt, though, which is superior to sugar glass.
Adam Savage visits Weta Workshop’s Model Painting Shop. Adam seems to be visiting all sorts of cool places lately, and the model painting studio at the shop that built Lord of the Rings is no exception. Check out all the cool work they did while learning some painting tips for yourself.
PuppetVision has a Pinterest board with 92 pins of Animatronics & Puppet Mechanisms. You can spend days looking at all the clever ways to make objects move and come to life.
“Designing Windows is an Art”. Take a look at this interview with Erin O’Brien, a freelance window designer at Bergdorf Goodman in London. She talks about how she got started and shows off some examples of her work over the years.
“Don’t Touch That!” The Trials & Tribulations Of A Props Designer – Here’s a fun little piece from TheatreNerds.com to share with your friends and family who might not totally understand what you do for a living.
How to Paint Foam Props to Look Rusty – Punished Props has a great video showing how to make flexible foam sheets (EVA, XLPE, craft foam, etc.) look all rusty.
Shortcuts to Good Design – Christopher Schwartz shows how he uses scrap wood and wire to quickly mock up a furniture design. He can check the proportions and scale from all angles before building anything too complicated.
Build Props and Costume Armor with Paper, Pepakura, and Bondo – Shawn Thorsson demonstrates how you can turn a digital model into a file to print out, cut, fold, and assemble into a three-dimensional prop. You can then stiffen it with polyester resin and Bondo.
Hopefully none of you need to shop for your shows today, which kicks off the official “worst time to do prop shopping” season. If you are safe in your shop or in tech, here are a few interesting prop-related sites to read and visit:
Check out these hotel menus from the 1850s and 1860s. The Hilton College of the University of Houston’s Hospitality Industry Archives has dozens of scans of menus from throughout the Eastern seaboard and Midwest of the US. It’s a great resource if you need to make period-correct food for fancy gentleman.
Genevieve Bee built this great animatronic Wheatley puppet from Portal 2. She has a video showing it talk and move its giant blinking eye. Be sure to check out all the process shots of the construction over at her blog as well.
It’s that time of year again for the New York City holiday window displays. These windows give jobs to dozens of props people for several months throughout the year, and the results are always spectacular. Gothamist has a great rundown of all the major displays, including photographs and videos showing them in action.
Make Magazine delivers some useful tips for props people again, this time giving us 10 great painting tips. These aren’t tips for creating the perfect faux marble, but rather helpful hints on masking and keeping your paintbrushes and cans neat and clean.