How you could become a prop maker

What is a prop maker?

Prop makers are responsible for creating the objects that are used in film, TV, stage, or theatre. They are also used when hiring, altering, or purchasing props.

They often work to design briefs from prop masters or stage/set designers. They don’t just jump straight into creating props though. They often have to do meticulous research to find out about specific historical and cultural periods to guarantee that the prop is accurate.

What skills are required?

A prop maker uses a wide range of skills to complete their work including:

  • Carpentry
  • Casting & moulding
  • Sculpting
  • Technical drawing
  • Welding
  • Computer aided-design
  • And more

They often work with a range of tools to complete their work and deal with materials like wood, plastic, fibreglass, and fabric.

What’s the working environment like?

There aren’t really any set hours to the job, but they’re often required to work long periods to ensure the prop is completed on time. Many work freelance, but there are occasions that prop maker will work solely alongside a studio or theatre.

They often have their own workshops too.

What do I need to become a prop maker?

There are varying skills required to become a prop maker. Remember, you don’t necessarily need all of these.

  • An interest in the arts
  • Strong communication skills
  • An understanding of a range of materials
  • An acute attention to detail
  • Can work to tight deadlines
  • Computing skills for computer aided-designs
  • Technical and craft skills

Where can I find work?

As we said, a lot of prop makers work freelance and build portfolios of the work they have complete. You may be able to find jobs within film & TV studios, theatre companies, and within education too.

Note: Many film and TV companies only hire prop staff on short term contracts while in production.