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#prop making

Production Design

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Production design for this film was simultaneously stressful and incredibly fun. The perfect combination in my opinion. 

The items we needed were:

  • Cassette tapes
  • A cassette player (that parts could be taken out of, whether it would work again afterwards was anyone’s guess really)
  • rusted cans
  • general trash and debris
  • Electric components
  • A part from the cassette player
  • a drawing of the part from the cassette player
  • rags and general bits of fabric / damaged clothing
  • Gas mask
  • Poster (Preferably Talking Heads)

The first plan of action was to attempt to source some of these items on The Meadow Share. This group is often heaven sent when sourcing production design for student films. Free items? Yes please! We were even offering to swap plants for items, a good trade really. We managed to get a couple of things through this method (mainly rags and clothes that people didn’t want anymore so we were able to destroy them a bit). 

The second method was to go out and about and check the thrift and charity shops in town. As we wandered from shop to shop on our search many people looked at us like we were looking for some sort of mythical creature. A cassette? in 2020? But eventually we managed to get a selection of cassettes. The next big thing we needed was a cassette player. And although we were pointed in the direction of a man with a shop who likely sold them, his shop was shut, and after calling him we also discovered that the ones he was selling were out of our price range.

Our luck changed when Maddy was in a call with Zoe and David for a script tutorial, and discovered that Zoe had a cassette player that she was willing to give us! As well as giving us the information that a classmate had a couple of gas masks! A double whammy, we gave Dan a message about the gas mask, and organising a time for Maddy to go and collect the cassette player.

The general trash and debris was a group effort with the whole crew collecting things that could be used to dress the set.

Despite going to a music shop, they had a suspicious lack of posters that linked to music. Thus we made the decision that we would have to make our own poster. This leading to me painting a Talking Heads poster, which will also be some nice flat decor.

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I also spent some time painting cans to make them look rusted. Although some research told me that there are ways of making cans rust in under an hour using ScIeNcE, something about mixing bleach and vinegar felt like it could be dangerous, and i didn’t want to get put on a watch-list whilst trying to purchase hydrogen peroxide. Paint seemed safer, so paint was the method I went with.

We took the cassette player to a neighbour who is good with a soldering iron, and he took out a part for us to use as the component that the main character is looking for. Then I drew this part to be used as the diagram that the character is carrying with them on their search.

All in all, the mission was a success :)

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Okay cosplayers/propmakers/people who know how to work with leather!


I’m trying to turn my leather trenchcoat into davis coat from bnha. I want to add the lacing to the back and sides, but that requires cutting the material, and I don’t want to screw it up because honestly I have no idea what in the frickety frack I’m doing.

If I just cut it, I’d need to stitch the edges somehow to keep it from fraying?? Idk. I just don’t want to pay for a cheap one off amazon if I can possibly make it myself.


Anyone have any advice? Thanks!

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A long time ago, my mother’s old workplace did a Harry Potter themed dinner event. As the decorators, we made lots of props and decorations, including fake inkwells for every table, Stacks of books from old VHS boxes, House banners, Dolores Umbridge’s educational decrees–and these 9 wands, the only thing from the event I kept for myself.

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I’ve started making a prop axe, hopefully it turns out well cause I think it would be fun for cosplay! I have the base done, I have to paper mache it and that’s gonna take a while. I’ll update as time goes on!

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So I recently made a prop for some VtM RP because I am a nerd with very weird skills. Here is the step by step for making a fake ancient text fragment:

1) Research. The first step is always research. In this case it was very lazy research because it is just for a game, but I still did research. I found out that the Carthaginians did in fact have paper, which is an important detail. I also found a wikipedia page describing some transliterated scraps of Carthaginian and a phonetic dictionary. Is this good academic research or methodology? NOPE. This is a case of I am not getting paid so I did crap research. 

2) Rough draft time! Write out the thing you want on plain old loose-leaf first. Then gently line your actual paper (I am using watercolor paper for reasons I will explain in a bit) and copy over your text with pencil. DO THIS LIGHTLY. Pencil will dig into paper and leave obvious marks if you are not careful. Then, go over your writing with an appropriate pen loaded with waterproof ink (alcohol based or India ink). I like to use brown when possible because it is easier to make it look old and faded.

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3) Now come the easiest step: Tear the edges. If you want it to look slightly less damaged, trap the paper between a solid surface and a ruler to keep the tear line neat, but the torn edge look is critical for paper to not look machine-made. In this case, I was going to distress my piece further, so I did not bother with that.

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4) Now we get to the critical step: Distressing. Most paper would of course start pretty close to white, even in ye olde timese, but no director has ever believed that. So brew yourself a cup of black tea. And set your oven for 350 F. We will not be letting shit air dry. While you wait for things to heat up, crumble your prop into a ball, fold it in half, and generally rough it up. Now put down some parchment paper on a baking tray, and place your prop on that. Splash a bit of your tea onto it. This is why we used watercolor paper, we don’t want our prop to disintegrate during this step. Next, tear open the tea bag and spread the leaves over your paper. You want moderately even coverage, but a bit of variety will be your friend. Maybe splash a little more tea on it, then pop the whole thing in the oven. Don’t worry, paper will not combust at 350 F. The book was named Farenheit 451 for a reason kids. Drink the remaining tea and wait for your prop to dry out. Once that happens, gently burn the edges with a lighter. By now, things should be looking pretty good:

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5) We could call it done here, but I was going to be posting the final product online, so I scanned it in and added some bloodstains in photoshop et voila! the picture at the top of the page!

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Watch “How to make an impressive Death Star with CARDBOARD!” on YouTube

Ok so this dude makes the most epic fucking props out of cardboard, and uploads the instructions for free

Guys this individual is so fucking amazing, and they have made so many awesome things!

If y'all are looking for something to do with all the spare pieces of carboard you have (lets be real you have a closet full of carborad from all those covid pkgs) then please please check their channel out!

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