Film Props and Costumes

Over the past few years, we have worked on a number of film projects that required us to create our own props and costumes. We’re always looking for cheap, fun ways to make them, and sometimes we keep them for display pieces around our home. Here are just a few examples of some work we have done so far.


This Mayan statue of a quetzal was made entirely out of clay. It was a very easy clay to use that dried overnight without having to bake. We painted it with green spray paint, then applied black paint with a sponge, and covered that with clear coat. The back is never seen in the film, so it is unpainted cardboard.


Here we purchased a skull prop and then melted a candle over it so that the wax would drip down. It was only seen in black and white, so we bought the cheapest candles, which happened to be orange.


I made these prisoner costumes using black and white striped fabric, but because the white would have been too bright, we bought a dye that would soften it. Coincidentally, the cheapest option here was also orange, which worked out fine for the black and white project.


There are a few simple elements going into this native costume, most of which were purchased at a party supplies store. James put together the spear by cutting out and painting a piece of cardboard and attaching it to a stick with feathers.


These military medals and ribbons were made for a sci-fi project that never ended up happening. The metal parts were cut out of copper and soldered together. The ribbons were all sewn together from individual colors and hot glued to the metal. The bars were just photo paper printouts on top of name tags. Although these have never been put to use, we kept them in case they get used for a project in the future.


Here is a map that James put together in Photoshop. We printed the map on plain paper, and then crumpled it up and singed with a lighter.


This patriotic dancer costume was for another black and white scene (hence the purple ribbon). The main element here is the skirt, which I made by sewing strips of red and off-white fabric together. Unseen in this picture is a star that I put on the back of the cape. For the hat, we purchased all of the pieces separately, and then assembled using hot glue and thread.


Here is another black and white costume that threw together a bunch of different colored elements. Rather than spending a lot of money on a leather aviator hat, I made a simple one out of cheap fabric.


For this scene, we had to make a stack of antique books with specific titles. We bought used books for a dollar each, and aged them by filing and tearing. To screen print the ink, we tried to burn a screen ourselves, but we could not get it to work. We ended up going to a shop to use their screen printing table. James has repeatedly said that he deeply regrets using real antique books for this. Most of the books were recent releases, but there were a few that were about fifty years old or more. Rather than defacing antiques (which we had never done before and will never do again), we could have purchased journals that have covers that look like textured leather, which we have seen in numerous shops lately.

Currently we are not working on any film projects, but we do have some lined up to happen after the wedding. We are already thinking of how we will execute the props and costumes for those films, and will continue posting more details about past and future projects here.


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