THE PROPERTIES DIRECTORS HANDBOOK  

 PROPS for the THEATRE

 

The Crafts Room

       Many upholstery and soft goods areas also have adjacent fabric cleaning and dying/distressing areas with an industrial washer and reversible dryer.  Often this area is incorporated in a "crafts" room.  The “crafts” room falls somewhere between the two other spaces supporting the wide variety of craft work done in the prop shop.  It generally incorporates the "wet" and "hazardous" activities.  
 This space often has a large steam vat for dye work (preferably stainless steel), dye mixing area with a stove or hot plate for heating water for dye solutions with a ventilation grill to pull dye fume away from the work area, a walk-in spray booth for exhaust of paint and curing materials, and a paint/ plaster sink. The spray booth and dye ventilation system allows contaminated air to be
removed from the work area and exhausted via a filtering system to the outside. 


    Any spray painting or work with finishes that emit an odor or fume should be done in this ventilated space.  The prop shop utilizes spray paint and spray finishes more than any other area in the theatre due to the highly detailed nature of many of the items.
Appropriate safety cabinets are necessary to store the flammable liquids (Acetone, denatured alcohol, shellacs, etc) and paints used in props work.  Like the scenic paint studio, water-soluble latex or acrylic paint and glaze materials are standard for prop shop painting supplemented by pure pigments for mixing into the glaze, dyes for FEV work, bronzing powders, and gold leaf.  Supplies often include a wide variety of buckets and pails, brushes, wood combs, sponges, and specialty faux painting tools.

   

    The crafts area usually has several tables for working on the wide variety of projects needed in props crafts work.   Having at least one table with a stainless steel top is handy when working with dyes and on casting and molding projects where keeping a clean surface is important as well as allowing easy cleanup. Besides the usual hand tools like pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, and small saws, specialty tools and supplies include corner and small hand clamps for custom picture framing and small construction or repair of hand props, small watercolor and acrylic paint brushes and paints for touch-up and re-paint of pulled hand props, an airbrush for detail work, floral wire, tape and putty for creating silk floral arrangements, a variety of markers, sealers, and paper or parchments in different colors and weights for making ephemera.  Molding and casting supplies might include mixing cups, stir sticks, a scale, Teflon pans, plaster, spray releases, a hot plate for melting materials, silicon spatulas, plastic tubs and aluminum sheet pans.  Standard supplies for this area include plaster, tape, glue, spray sealers, stamps and seals. 

   

    The crafts room also might contain an area where furniture can be “stripped”.  This requires an area where entire furniture pieces can be covered with stripper and allowed to rest while the stripper works to dissolve the paint back to bare wood.  Most pieces that have been stripped require vigorous washing so having a hose and large chemical floor drain that can accommodate the dissolved paint and stripper is helpful.

 

Milwaukee Repertory Theatre craft area- paper props/ephemera creation

     

  Click here to view sub-topics:


The Multiple Space Shop         The Single Space shop


    “Dirty” room                        “Clean room”            The Prop Shop


Click to go to PHOTOS page to review all PROP SHOP ALBUMS


Click to see next “chapter”: PLANNING A PROP SHOP

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  Click here to view sub-topics:

The Multiple Space Shop         The Single Space shop

    “Dirty” room                “Clean room”            The Prop Shop