3rd Edition

The Prop Building Guidebook For Theatre, Film, and TV

By Eric Hart Copyright 2024
    412 Pages 733 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    412 Pages 733 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Now in its third edition, The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theatre, Film, and TV walks readers through techniques used in historical and contemporary prop making and demonstrates how to apply them to a variety of materials.

    Experienced prop maker Eric Hart covers the tools and techniques used by professional prop makers throughout the entertainment industry. He outlines a construction process that gives readers the foundational knowledge to choose the best materials and methods for each prop and the background information to know the advantages of these choices. This new edition includes updated information and techniques throughout, including:

    • Over a hundred new images and diagrams
    • Updated terminology, products, and brands used internationally
    • Expanded sections on 3D printing, vacuum forming, foam patterning, and more
    • A new chapter on prop design
    • New information on international safety standards, cleaning, and sanitation
    • More recipes and step-by-step instruction for various finishes

    Illustrated by hundreds of full-color photographs, this is the most comprehensive guide to prop construction available for professional and student prop makers in theatre, film, and tv.

    For additional how-to videos, instructional documents, and supplemental information, visit www.propbuildingguidebook.com.

    1. What is a Prop?  2. Safety and Health  3. Shop Spaces and Tools  4. Supplies and Materials  5. Choosing Materials  6. Props Design and Execution  7. Structure and Frames  8. Carpentry  9. Metal 10. Plastics  11. Flat Patterning  12. Fabric  13. Sculpting  14. Molding and Casting  15. Shells and Composites  16. Texture and Surface Prep  17. Painting and Coating  18. Graphics  19. Formal Training  20. Your Portfolio


    Eric Hart teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is a member of the Society of Props Managers (S*P*M). He has built props for numerous theatres on and off Broadway, films, and displays throughout the United States. His photography and articles about props have been published in Stage Directions magazine, Scrollsaw magazine, Theatre Design & Technology, and American Craft. He is the author of The Prop Effects Guidebook: Lights, Motion, Sound, and Magic (Routledge, 2018) and Prop Building for Beginners: Twenty Props for Stage and Screen (Routledge, 2021).

    Praise for The Prop Building Guidebook

    "I really enjoyed the first Prop Building Guidebook. Eric Hart is a real pro in the prop business. If I lived on the East Coast, it would be great to do a project with him. I have been a professional prop maker in Hollywood for 43 years and still learned a lot from the first book! Looking forward to Book II."

    Paul Pearson, President of Custom Movie Props and prop builder on Starship Troopers, 14 seasons of Star Trek, and Daredevil

    "The Prop Building Guidebook is indispensable, whether you’re a working props professional or an amateur enthusiast. From basic skills to complex builds, and from the thinking behind a prop and the research required, to figuring out how a prop needs to work—it’s all here. Eric Hart has mastered his wide range of skills in many productions, and is generous and eloquent in sharing them."

    Ross MacDonald, prop artisan on Boardwalk Empire, The Hateful Eight, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets

    "If you do crafts, models, cosplay, or anything that involves imagination, engineering, and a unique eye in design and execution, get this book. If you are a serious student in the discipline of Props Design, get this book! The book is inspiringly comprehensive and a must for professionals and academics alike. Eric has given you the keys to the Kingdom and then shows you how to masterfully replicate them."

    Jay Duckworth, founder of the Prop Summit and props master on Hamilton, Shakespeare in the Park, the Public Theater