How To Build Movie Props

Movie crew in the studio

With a camcorder, it is easy to create music videos, mini movies and a lot more. To make your movies more realistic, especially for budding movie directors, you need movie props.

Props are anything that is handled by actors in a movie. They enhance the film and can improve the site location. Props can be as large as the movie set or as small as a flea. You can make props at home using ordinary stuff that you have in the house. Here are some tips on how to build simple props.

  1. Decide what type of movie you want to make and the props that you think will be needed. Will your props be actual sized that people will touch and use? Will you be doing a stop-motion animation where you will requite miniatures? How much detailing will you need for your props? Do you have a budget for your props? Are you shooting indoors or outdoors or a combination of the two?
  2. List down the props you will need and categorize them. For 3D models like cars, motorcycles and airplanes, there are realistic plastic models that you can assemble and paint. Otherwise you may need to borrow some from your siblings and friends, as long as you don’t have to blow them to pieces.
  3. Backgrounds can be shot using natural scenery or painted on large sheets of paper or fabric. You can find plenty of designs from books and the Internet.
  4. Flat and 2D props like houses, fences, trees and greenery can be made from balsa wood, plywood, cardboard, paper, corrugated board, tissues and paint. Find drawings that you can copy, color and cut out. You can crumple tissues and stick them to a flat surface and paint them to resemble shrubs and other background greenery.
  5. You can sculpt rock formations, mountains, volcanoes using modeling clay and dense upholstery foam or cut them from Styrofoam. Wads of fiberfill or cotton can be used as clouds.
  6. Costumes can either be sewn from fabric scraps or glued together if they are too small. Small details can be drawn with a fabric marker. Beads and sequins can be used as buttons.
  7. There are plastic soldiers, people and animals in different poses that you can get from hobby and toy stores, even from stores selling party favors. If you are going to be using china and glassware, you can buy plastic tea sets. You may have to paint them to resemble real china.
  8. Plastic bottles, PET bottle caps and soft drinks crowns can be assembled and painted to look like spaceships and UFOs.

Your creativity and the extent of your imagination set the limits on how you make movie props from ordinary household items. Gather these items and experiment with them. Cut, glue or paint them and see what you can come up with. It can be realistic, wacky or out of this world. Get useful background information from the Internet and your old science and physics books. Science fair projects are a great source of inspiration too. You are he filmmaker, so you make the final decision. Who knows, you may turn a hobby to a money-making project.


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