Cover image for Making stage props : a practical guide
Making stage props : a practical guide
Wilson, Andy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Marlborough : Crowood, [2003]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2091.S8 W57 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN2091.S8 W57 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Prop makers everywhere now have available to them a broader range of products and processes than every before. Making Stage Props is a book for anyone involved in prop making who wishes to explore the wealth of materials and techniques open to them. This highly illustrated guide covers planning, costing, and scheduling; tools and safety; working with wood, steel, and clay; making and repairing furniture; painting and finishing; and more. Andy Wilson has worked with theatrical companies throughout Britain, including the Royal Shakespeare Company. He currently teaches propmaking at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Author Notes

As a freelance prop maker, Andy Wilson has worked for companies throughout Britain, ranging from the smallest touring companies to the Royal Shakespeare Company, and from contemporary dance to commercial pantomime. He has also been Master Carpenter for several regional rep theatres, and built puppets and fire sculptures for large outdoor events. He currently teaches prop making at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Wilson (prop making, Guildhall Sch. of Music & Drama, U.K.) takes an in-depth look at all aspects of his craft, including modeling, creating plaster molds, casting and laminating, upholstery, painting, finishing, and the use of wood, steel, and polystyrene products. In each section, he discusses the most appropriate tools, techniques, and materials, as well as the always-important safety tips. While numerous stagecraft books include chapters on props, the singular focus of this work makes it particularly inviting to the prop maker. However, much of the book is not appropriate for the novice, and North American readers will find parts difficult to follow because of the British terminology, although context and a glossary of terms and acronyms help. Still, Wilson effectively uses numerous black-and-white drawings and photos to illustrate the tools and techniques as he discusses them, and he offers some exciting ideas for prop makers everywhere. Despite its drawbacks for a U.S. audience, this is highly recommended for advanced theater collections.-Laura A. Ewald, Murray State Univ., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Until now the prop authority of choice has been Thurston James, author of The Theater Props Handbook (CH, Jun'88), The Prop Builder's Molding & Casting Handbook (1989), The Prop Builder's Mask Making Handbook (1990), and The What, Where, When of Theater Props (CH, Jul'93). Wilson's practical guide includes subjects from molds to upholstery, from tools to laminating. The book is full of useful information--e.g., the proper types of wax to use when making oil clay to prevent crystallization, wire temperature preference for cutting polystyrene. Every section explores several approaches to each process, including various materials that can be employed for different applications and finishing requirements. The helpful tips sections that appear throughout clarify safety issues relating to each process or provide formulas for getting the best of materials. Given all the positives, this reviewer hates even to acknowledge the downside, which is the book's British orientation: measurements are in metric (though Wilson generally includes standard equivalencies) and a marvelous list of suppliers includes only British resources. But the thoroughness of this wonderfully illustrated book makes up for the minor inconveniences. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Academic libraries supporting performing and fine arts programs at all levels; professional collections. S. R. Robinson Central Washington University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 4
1. Introductionp. 7
2. Woodp. 20
3. Working with Mild Steelp. 50
4. Modellingp. 69
5. Making Mouldsp. 85
6. Casting and Laminatingp. 105
7. Working with Expanded Polystyrenep. 125
8. Upholsteryp. 142
9. Paints and Finishesp. 156
Glossaryp. 174
Further Readingp. 185
List of Suppliersp. 187
Indexp. 190