Behind the Scenes at Playhouse in the Park – Take a read through this wonderfully written and gorgeously photographed article on the scene and prop shops at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park. Their shop is built in an old skating rink; if you look at the photo of the props shop, you can see how the floor is made up of curved wood boards.
Lyceum Theatre Flamingo Puppets – The Prop Solve is back with a post about foam and fabric flamingo puppets she made for Alice in Wonderland. The flexible neck mechanism is particularly ingenious.
How to be a Prop Maker with “Evil” Ted Smith – The Pod Sequentialism podcast has a new episode where they talk with Evil Ted Smith, who has worked on a number of film and television projects. You may recognize his name from his numerous flexible foam tutorials found online. If you have an hour to kill, give it a listen.
Creating Molds for Handmade Porcelain Dolls – Bill Chellberg guides us through the steps to make a mold for porcelain dolls. You can adapt these techniques to make molds for anything, or you can create your own cute (or creepy) doll heads.
First Person Monster Blog with Shannon Shea – Shannon Shea is a well-known creature and effects artist who worked on films like Predator, Batman Returns, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park. He has not updated his blog in a few years, but it has a treasure trove of stories and information if you are willing to dig through the archives.
How to Make a Halloween Mask “Sculpting” – Ed Edmunds shows you how to sculpt a scary monster mask out of water-based clay in this half hour video.
Building a Life-Size Replica of Poe Dameron’s X-Wing – Not quite life-sized, but still pretty amazing.
Got bored, made electric shaver (handheld heatwire foam cutter) – Here is a short little tutorial about making a hot wire cutter run off of a 9V battery. I am not sure why you would want a hot wire cutter that is the same size as a knife blade, but here you go.
“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.
Detached eyes, dead horses, and giant disco balls: The weird world of prop builder Seán McArdle – Seán tells City Pages how he made a horse fall over on cue and glued seashells to half a Volkswagen.
Prime and Smooth Props and Costumes with FlexBond – Rosco looks at a number of cosplayers using FlexBond to coat pieces constructed from Worbla.
Corporeal Intangibility – The Alley Theatre made custom acrylic furniture and props for their production of The Nether, including a gramophone and a rocking horse. This was clearly an interesting project.
Working with EVA Foam for Costume Construction – Make Magazine has rounded up a number of videos and tutorials dealing with using EVA foam (or, more precisely, XLPE foam) to build armor and prop pieces.
More Stranger Things! More Stranger Things! People are in love with the show and want to know more about the props. This week, we have two podcasts that talk with props master Lynda Reiss. First is a short 7:40 interview on CBC Radio. Second is an hour-long episode of Pop Culture Confidential with both Reiss and Shannon Purser, the actress who plays Barb.
Dorothy Thicket has put together this great reference chart for armor materials. It’s handy for all sorts of props, comparing the properties of materials like acrylic, EVA foam, Worbla, and more.
Eugene Lee recently received his 12th Emmy Nomination for Saturday Night Live, which he has been designing sets for since the first episode back in 1975. Crain’s talks with him about his career in TV and on stage.
Variety has a special feature on “Artisans So White”; while a lot of attention is paid to the diversity of directors, actors, and writers on films, the below-the-line craftspeople and technicians remain overwhelmingly white and male. Though this article deals with film, the same trends can be found in theatre. They even include a quote from Clint Ramos, a costume/set designer familiar to many in the theatrical world. It’s a thorny issue to deal with, and part of the problem is that so much hiring at companies is done informally, with jobs going to friends and acquaintances of people already working there.