Shop Tips: Cutting Foam for Propmaking – First up, Tested visits Frank Ippolito’s shop to see what tools he uses to cut flexible foam sheets. I want to try one of the blades he uses, which allows him to make some interesting cuts.
Shinken Sword Commission – The Prop Solve is back with an epic post on fabricating a fantasy sword for a client. The post is filled with pictures of every step, showing not just the successes, but the mistakes and learning experiences along the way. I especially like the build break-down she prepared for her client.
Queens Prop Shop Has Crafted Real Name for Itself in Booming Industry – NY1 visits the Prop “N” Spoon warehouse over in Queens and fabrication shop in Rahway, NJ. Check out the video to see some of the cool props they have built as business booms in NYC.
Adam Savage Examines the Props and Spacesuits of The Expanse! – We go back to Tested for this video of Adam Savage talking with James Murray, props master for Syfy’s The Expanse. Check out all the scratch-built armor, weapons, and other sci-fi elements for this sprawling space adventure.
Paperhand puppet master takes Chapel Hill-Carrboro teachers to school – In local news, puppet maker Donovan Zimmerman is teaching puppetry to local elementary students. Zimmerman is cofounder of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, which produces incredibly imaginative and poetic masks and puppets out of mere cardboard and papier-mache. It’s a wonderful program that will probably be cut as both art and education are eliminated in the next four years.
So this is from way back in January, but I somehow missed it. The “in 1 Podcast” talked with Kathy Fabian about her life as a Broadway props master. It’s two and a half hours of fascinating conversation about what it takes to prop a show in New York City and getting a production up and running on the Great White Way.
The Prop Solve makes this cool Dr. Strangelove Survival Pack which doubles as a camera carrying case. I don’t run across too many soft goods props projects, so it’s wonderful to see so many photos of her process from start to finish.
Maine State Music Theatre posted this quick little time lapse video showing their prop department live casting the face of an actor for their upcoming production of Evita. It looks like they’re using one of those new body-safe silicone rubbers, which I haven’t really seen in action before.
Frank Ippolito shares his process of building historical fantasy costume armor for the upcoming E3 convention. It sounds like a costume project, but it involves a lot of crafts and materials we use in props.
Finally, Cinefex takes a peek into the model-making shop behind Team America: World Police. Don’t worry, there aren’t any pictures of rude puppets here; just great photos of miniature buildings and vehicles.
How to Slush Cast a Prop Helmet – Tested visits Frank Ippolito to learn how to slush cast the Rocketeer helmet, which is perhaps the greatest helmet in cinematic history.
‘She Loves Me:’ David Rockwell Serves Up Old World Flavor with Modern Flair – She Loves Me snagged the Tony for Best Set Design of a Musical, preventing Hamilton from a clean sweep. Find out all the details and dressing that go into this amazing set for a show with horrible music.
New York Spectacular Statue: New York Public Library Lions – Matt Acheson tells us how he brought the NYPL lions to life (in puppet form) for The Rockettes latest show.
Make Edible Paper in 3 Easy Steps – I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but edible paper is one of those prop things that come up from time to time. Sure, you can buy it, but if you need a custom color or size, this may be the way to go.
Though there’s only one more week until Christmas, you still have enough time to order The Prop Building Guidebook for that special prop maker in your life!
Frank Ippolito has a post out called “Blame the Maker, not the Material“. He reminds us that many of the more complicated materials – resins, rubbers, laminates, etc – have so many specific variations, that you cannot expect consistent results if you use them in a different manner than expected. Or if you substitute brands when following directions. These materials are manufactured to do what they are meant to do, and if you are not getting the results you expect, you are either using the wrong materials or using the materials wrong.
Now this is street theatre: La Machine brings massive mechanical marvels to life, free to roam the streets around the world. François Delarozière is the artist behind these gigantic moving contraptions, such as a 50-foot spider or Da Vinci-esque elephants.
Michael Gump is an LA-based prop master for TV who has spent the entire year making a new disguise every day. He posts the photographs to Instagram; it’s great to see all the various objects he has stuck to his face.
Make Magazine has 8 clever jigs for your workshop. Some great ones here for making perfect corners or for adding a bead to your wooden furniture.
This is from a few years ago, but it has everything you need to know about Blood for Film. Okay, maybe not everything, but it has a ton of information, a break-down of helpful ingredients, and a couple sample recipes for different types of fake blood.
Here’s something everyone will like: a history of masking tape. I’m sure all of you have looked at masking tape and wondered who invented it, and why. It was Richard Drew, and he wanted a tape to mask paint.
Tested stops by Frank Ippolito’s shop to see how he made sci-fi armor based off of a video game. This eight-and-a-half minute video shows how he took the 3D models in the game and turned them into patterns to cut out of foam sheets, followed by lots of gluing and painting.
Do you like making your own tools for your shop? Because Homemade Tools is filled with instructions and plans for a whole assortment of tools and jugs you can make yourself.