Tag Archives: paper props

Everybody’s Propping for the Weekend

Star Trek just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Make Magazine has rounded up seven fun Star Trek–themed projects. Some are goofy (“spocks” are socks with Spock on them), while others are quite ambitious (an Enterprise Bridge playset for Star Trek action figures).

2StoryProps has started work on a replica of the spacesuit used in The Martian, and his first post is on recreating the astronaut’s helmet. The whole thing is built from scratch and is pretty cool.

Tane Williams is an illustrator who worked on the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. He has posted 15 illustrations from the Necronomicon used in that film over on his blog. Careful! Grossness ahead!

It’s not a tasty treat; Popular Woodworking shows us how “sandwich construction” can help make thick wooden panels using multiple layers of thinner plywood. I do this a lot when building prop furniture, and I’m sure others do as well, but I’ve never seen a write-up with illustrations showing the process.

Make Magazine tells us everything we need to know about lube. Ever wonder whether to grab oil, grease, or WD-40? This article breaks down all the different types of lubricants and describes when to use each one and when not to use each one.

Prop-tastic Friday

Meet Jim – Our Props Director – The Milwaukee Rep Tumblr has a conversation with Jim Guy, their props director. Jim is also the President of S*P*A*M and knows 97% of the props masters in the US.

The Day They Nuked Buffalo – Propnomicon brings us this interesting historical tidbit. In 1952, the State Civil Defense Commission had the Buffalo News print a newspaper as if a nuclear bomb had been detonated over the city. It was “the only prop newspaper ever officially sanctioned by the US government.”

Check Out This Amazing Ghostbusters Proton Pack – The new Ghostbusters movie opens this weekend, and Make Magazine brings us this great Arduino-powered proton pack. It’s from the original film; maybe in the coming weeks, we’ll see more builds of the new equipment.

Punished Props’ Foam Viking Axe Build – Tested shows us how Bill Doran built a viking axe out of flexible foam in this video.

How to Build a Foam Cosplay Helmet – Also from Tested, Evil Ted shows us how to make a helmet out of flexible foam. Basically, you can build an entire suit of armor and weapons out of your floor mats.

A Prop-er End to the Week

First a quick announcement. For anyone going to SETC next week, the conference is in Greensboro, just a few blocks from where I work. We will be opening up our shop for an open house on Saturday, March 5th, from 2-5pm, if you wanted to see where I make things. And if you’re looking for a job, I’m looking for an intern next season. It’s August through May with a weekly stipend and shared housing. Check out the Triad Stage booth for more information.

Buzzfeed takes us to the scene shop where Arcadia is being built for the Sydney Opera House. There are some great photographs here.

Harvard University is recreating an Ancient Egyptian throne using Ancient Egyptian craftsmanship. They have also used an impressive array of digital scanning and fabrication tools to design and mock-up the throne, but for the actual construction, they are trying to learn how the Egyptians may have actually built a piece as exquisite and intricate as this.

Propnomicon reminds us to NOT burn the edges of paper when ageing it. Instead, there are a few more realistic and accurate methods for giving paper that antique look you desire.

The Unicorn Theatre over in the UK catches up with Alexandria Kerr, the prop maker for their production of Minotaur. She has a fantastic mask made out of Plastazote, which some of us recognize as EVA foam (more accurately, XLPE foam).

Welcome, Links of 2016

The New York Times’ Vocations column interviewed James Blumenfeld, the props master at the Met Opera. He runs a staff of 35(!) and has been there since 1983.

The Algoma Mop Manufacturers were pressed into service to make the 500 mops needed for David O. Russell’s latest film, Joy. They had one of the few machines needed to recreate the Miracle Mops from the 1990s that figure so prominently in the film.

And since we’re talking about Joy, how about this article on creating the vintage singles’ ads from the movie? Ross MacDonald also made the children’s book that appears in the film.

Sticking with Ross, he has a whole lot of information on his latest props; he made tons of vintage packaging and paper props for The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s latest film. He also designed the vintage packaging for Red Apple Tobacco, Tarantino’s signature brand that appears in all of his films. You can read more about that in my interview with him last year.

The Rosco Blog shows how Techland Houston made a foam model of the Starship Enterprise. Just in time for The Force Awakens!

Fox 12 in Portland catches up with Portland prop master Greg McMickle. McMickle is currently the props master for The Librarians, but his work has also been seen in the Twilight franchise, Wild, and Twin Peaks.


Interview with Ross MacDonald

Ross MacDonald has built period props and vintage books for dozens of films and television shows over the years. Check out his web page for a portfolio of his work. I recently talked with him about making props and working in the industry.

Ross MacDonald. Photograph by Greg Preston
Ross MacDonald. Photograph by Greg Preston

How did you get started doing props?

Weirdly enough, I had been doing some television-related work, even back when I was starting out as an illustrator. I was doing this thing, this was up in Toronto, called the Artisan’s Schools Program. It was a grant program. It was me and a couple other guys, we would go into the schools, and we’d start off performing poetry, I would do big drawings, and the third guy, if he was there, would do music. Continue reading Interview with Ross MacDonald