Last time we’ve talked about the preparation before getting started. Today I’ll show you something differe.
Design and Scale Your Pieces
It is not always necessary for you to draw up detailed schematics and blueprints for all your prop builds. A decent pencil drawing can be enough for you. The important thing to remember is that the object or costume piece might be a different size in real space than it appears to be on the TV screen. Getting it all down on paper at the size you plan on building it will save a lot of time.
Sometimes, you will end up making several separate pieces and then assembling them when they are finished. If one or two of the finished parts are too big, too small, or don’t fit on your frame, It will really let you down. So having good measurements alleviate most of these types of problems.
- MDF Wood
Medium Density Fiber wood is an incredible material for beginners and pros alike. The cheap material can be bought at your local hardware stores. It can be glued with wood glue and sealed easily with super glue. It sands and shapes very easily, because it has no wood grain.
But there are some downfalls to MDF. It will disintegrate when exposed to moisture. It has formaldehyde in it. I think you know what it is. People always use it to embalm dead bodies. It will kick up some nasty dust when you’re sanding and shaping it. Don’t forget to use your respirator. The MDF wood is also pretty heavy and won’t hold a fine detailed edge.
It is also readily available, but its price are higher than MDF wood. Hardwood is a good choice for you to shape a nice straight blade. But it is more difficult to manipulate than MDF. Hardwoods have a grain in them that can be a bit of headache to deal with.
- EVA Foam
Ethylene-vinyl acetate foam is one of my favorite things to work with. EVA can be bought at most crafting stores. It is really cheap. In fact, EVA foam is the main material for most armor costumes.
The best thing about EVA foam is how easy it is to work with. It has varying thicknesses. It is also flexible enough to be formed into shapes you want. A knife and some super glue are enough for you to deal with. Some people making their props cost just a few dollars with this material.
However, it is difficult to fill in gaps and sand. You can never count on the foam to provide any sort of significant structural support.
There are many other materials that will be introduced to you next time.