How to make tree props for stage


Custom Theatre Products

Here at A.M. Designs, the sky is the limit! We will work with you directly to design and create one of a kind pieces for your show. Whether you are looking for something small or want to cover the entire stage, we can help. Custom items are priced on an individual basis. Please contact us via phone or email with inquires. Below are a few examples of the kinds of things we can create.

Recent work

2 4' x 8' trees

Vintage Camera

Convenience Store and Wall

Interactive Trunks

Stucco Fountain & Saguaro Cacti

Wearable Horse Head (Customer Photo)

Trees

2- 4' x 8' Trees Joined Together

Tree for Tuck Everlasting (customer photo)

10x10 tree

tree trunk

trunk style trees

trunk style tree

bamboo trees

branch style trees/bushes

4x8 willow tree

Wooden Plant Boxes

4x8 trees branch trees

4x8 tree

Birch tree groupings

large tree

trunk style trees

branch style tree

carved mother nature tree

Large Tree with Bark

Branch style tree with carved bark

Cypress tree

4x6 trees

trunk style trees

trunk style tree

branch style tree

painted mother nature tree

real tree with base

4x8 willow trees

railing

8 Foot Railing with Divider

Globe theater inspired railing

2 ft section barbed wire fence

curved balustrade

boxing ring railing

straight stair railing - swirl (can do any design)

Barbed wire fence

round peg railing

standard balustrade

square peg railing - corner

straight stair railing - swirl (can do any design)

random pallet fence

Inclined Railing

square peg railing (weathered)

staggered stair railing (can do any design)

staggered stair rail - swirl (can do any design)

Victorian style stair rail

Gothic arch railing

walls & Fireplaces

Panel walls to create bathroom scene

Stucco walls

Stacked stone walls

Angled front fire place

war torn cinderblock wall

curved cinderblock wall

Auburn sign

Round wood stove fireplace

Wrought iron fence

Crumbling building walls

brick pillar sign

cobblestone wall

curved wood wall

Swirl top wrought iron gate

Curved stone bridge wall

Arch top stone wall

Sloping stone wall (4x8)

curved large cinderblock wall

large stone wall

wainscot wall

Large scale items - Fall shows & musicals

Ursula's vanity

Triton's throne

Ariel's rock

Ship wheel with base

Platform stage, columns, archways, and door wall

Large steampunk pocket watch

Scroll columns

12' picture frame

Wonka gate

large trees on stage (customer photo)

Chocolate fountain

Coral reef pieces

Suessical promotional letters

12' picture frame

Curved stair case with custom rail

Rolling magic carpet

Working fountain

large Egyptian columns

Letter blocks (customer photo)

Notre Dame bells (3 ft & 4 ft)

Grotto/Ship wreck

Large rock

Platform stage, columns, archways, and door wall

Treasure chest - 4' x 3'

oversize gears

castle walls

Snake charmer baskets

20 ft "shack" panels - attached to batten to fly (customer photo)

Miscellaneous custom items

Spanish Style Bookshelves and Trim (Customer Photo)

Chicken Coop with Chickens

Foam Cow

Foam Horse

Birds Nest in Palm Tree

Angel tombstone

Rough stone benches

OAP planter

Foam dog carcass

large ornate frame

Baroque grand piano with keyboard slot

Bookshelves (customer photo)

tiara throne

baby grand paino

foam books

fish

mariner throne

sign with border (any design and font)

foam trunk with cross

covered window frames

Upright piano with bench & keyboard slot

Hilter head

Decorative Frame

Grandfather Clock

Oversized Rocks

Candelabras

Military vehicle, assembled from multiple pieces, with alternate finish on back

foam books

iron throne

Bookshelves (customer photo)

Genie lamp (3ft)

Genie lamp (3ft)

foam bookshelf

carved head statue

foam dresser

hitler head

shield with lion (can do any design)

foam trunk

well with base

Steampunk frame

Small upright pianos with finished back

Oversized Book Bookshelves

Concrete looking altar

Water wheel

Fountain (working)

upright piano with keyboard slot

pirate ship wheel

Modern Stove & Fridge (with working doors)

headstone

decorative urn/pot

casket with cross

footlight covers

large hand

prop pickaxe

weathered wood planter

well with wood top to walk on

window with swirl border

Symbolic headstones

book bench

How to Make a Stunning DIY Faux Tree That Looks Real

DIY Faux Tree: how to make a realistic Faux indoor tree

Want the look of an expensive, realistic tree but don’t want to pay the price tag? Don’t like the cheap look of the fake trees that still have hefty prices of $200 or more? Ever thought of making your own? Well, I hadn’t either, until recently. Creating a DIY faux tree is a genius idea that we know you’re going to want to try.

 

I’m not going to sugarcoat it or pretend this project is easy. It took me two weekends to complete, partly because I had to wait longer for the cement to dry. If you don’t make your cement too wet, you could probably get it done in one weekend if you work hard. You could also make a slightly smaller tree. Our tree is not only tall but really branched out (pun intended). But it is worth it.  In the end you will have a tree that is more realistic than any tree you can buy at any price. Sound enticing? Keep reading!

Jump to...

  • Supplies Needed for Your DIY Faux Tree
  • Step 1. Getting Your Branch for Your DIY Faux Tree
  • Step 2. Attaching the Leaves to Your DIY Faux Tree
  • Step 3: Sculpting Your DIY Faux Tree
  • How to Attach a Leaf Using Floral Tape
  • Large Leaf Sections
  • Final Stages of Your DIY Faux Tree 
  • Project Completed

Supplies Needed for Your DIY Faux Tree

The good news is that the supplies are not complicated, expensive, nor hard to find.

Tools you will need:
  • Pole tree trimmer or something to cut the branch.
  • Handheld cement mixer or shovel or something to mix the cement.

 

  • Wheelbarrow or some place to mix the cement.
  • Utility knife

 

  • Regular pair of scissors (for the floral tape)
  • Gorilla glue
  • Measuring tape

Supplies you will need from the Hardware store:
  • Quick-set cement – smallest bag (approx. 50 lbs.)

 

  • Small plastic bucket – 10-quart size. 5-10 quarts depending on the size of the tree you are making. 

 

Supplies you will need from the Craft store (Michaels):

  • Floral stems or “leaves”: for my tree I used 30.

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  • Wire cutters (to cut the leaves if needed)

 

  • Floral tape 

 

Step 1.

Getting Your Branch for Your DIY Faux Tree

Find your branch and cut it down.

What to look for in a branch:

You want to look for a branch that is as straight as possible. It should have lots of small branches or foliage at the end where you will be able to add your faux leaves. Ours is just about an inch thick. You don’t want it too big and heavy to maneuver and carry around. This size worked just perfectly.

Take into consideration the space you’ll be putting your DIY faux tree. How tall are the ceilings? Use a tape measure to be sure it will fit and look good.

  • Mix your cement. We used a wheelbarrow, but you could use any appropriate size bucket. Mix according to directions.

  • Once your cement is mixed, pour into your container bucket for your DIY faux tree.

  • While Bill was preparing and mixing the cement, I was pruning the branch & removing all the existing foliage.

  • Insert your branch into the cement all the way to the bottom (so your branch touches the bottom. )
  • To secure the branch while drying in the cement, we leaned it against the bushes and then tied it against a ladder to secure so the wind wouldn’t blow it over. If you don’t have something to lean it against you could use clamps to secure it in the bucket.
  • Allow cement at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly before moving and continuing with next step of the project.

Note: Our cement was very wet and needed an extra day to dry thoroughly.

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Step 2. Attaching the Leaves to Your DIY Faux Tree

  • In order to create a natural look, I decided to separate the leaves into smaller sections of 3.

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  • I used my utility knife and removed the outer layer of plastic from the bottom 3 inches. Then I was able to separate the leaves into 3 separate leaves/stems.

  • I separated 25 of the 30 stems and left 5 stems in their original size.
  • Start attaching leaves using the floral tape.

 

At this point I decided to move my “tree” into the space where it would live because I wanted to get a feel for how I wanted it to look in the space. You don’t have to do this, but it was helpful for me to know how I wanted it to look and feel in the actual space it was going to be.

Step 3: Sculpting Your DIY Faux Tree

This next phase is what I like to call the sculpting phase. You are literally creating or “sculpting” a tree. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Trees are natural and organic. But if you get stuck, go outside and look at how trees actually look. I started from the bottom with the small individually pieced branches (see below how I separated the faux stems), and I worked my way up and out.

Eventually I added the full branches with the three stems intact to create the canopy look and feel of a real tree. For me, the process took a long time because I did a lot of looking and analyzing where pieces should go. I think I could have gone quicker, but the outcome wouldn’t have looked as realistic. I took my time to create just the look I wanted.

How to Attach a Leaf Using Floral Tape

  • Cut a piece of floral tape about 25” – 30” long. 
  • Stretch floral tape in order to activate the stickiness.
  • Be careful not to stretch too tight or floral tape will rip. If it rips just start where you left off and start wrapping again.
  • If the leaf still seems insecure wrap with an additional piece of floral tape until secure. 
  • Wrapping the stretched tape over itself makes it stick. The tape is covered in a wax adhesive that only sticks to itself.
  • I had heard that it was a good idea to use gorilla glue to secure the ends just to be sure because the floral tape might not stay, but I had a lot of issues with the gorilla glue being a mess.
  • Note: It’s a good idea to use clear gorilla glue, mine was white and I realized that clear would have been better.
  • Floral tape is supposed to stick if wrapped and stretched and stuck to itself. If I do this again, I might opt not to use the gorilla glue and just stick with the floral tape.
  • When you want to stop using the floral tape pull it taught and wrap the stretched tape over itself to make it stick. That’s it.
  • If you have trouble and you see that your ends start to pop up, you can always go back and secure the ends with gorilla glue then.
  • Note: Don’t worry about the dark color of the brown floral tape standing out and being seen. When you are done you can paint the tape to make it blend in, and you won’t notice it at all.

Large Leaf Sections

The last stage is when you add the full-size stems. These stems have all three sections of leaves. Be sure to add the leaf stem to a stronger, thicker branch for support.

  • Once the branch broke while I was securing it. I simply secured it further down closer to the base of the stem.
  • Another time I decided to add a toothpick to the “frame” of the leaf for support. I secured the toothpick along with the leaf and branch with the floral tape. This helped give the added support that was needed.

Final Stages of Your DIY Faux Tree 

Continue securing your leaves until you have either used all your leaves OR your tree looks and feels full enough.

Here are some tips:

  • You don’t need to cover every branch with a leaf.
  • You also do not need to break off or get rid of the bare branches.
  • I think it makes it look more realistic if there are some bare branches.
  • Try to think of a fake tree that you have seen that has bare branches on it…. none. Right? It is a sure sign of a real tree if you leave those bare branches mixed in with your faux leaves.

Covering the Floral Tape

Not liking the dark brown color of the floral tape? Now is the time to get out your craft paint and do a little camouflage painting. My bark was basically a gray color.

I mixed black, gray, brown, and white paints together until I got the perfect shade.

I blended all the tape in until you couldn’t notice it at all.

Project Completed

After two weeks and what felt like thousands of hours of work, I finished my DIY faux tree.

But I am in LOVE. I don’t think any amount of money could buy a tree as nice as this. I still don’t have a planter that is worthy of my tree, so that is my next project.

Immediately I want to make another one. But it’s time to take a break and rest up. I think I’ll make a smaller tree next time. The space I want it for is smaller. Remember, you can make a huge impact, and your tree doesn’t have to be as big as mine.

Have fun with this project. And definitely send me comments about how your tree turns out and anything you learned along the way. If it’s helpful I might add the information to this post.

Ever thought of decorating with flowers? Flowers make the perfect addition to your home, especially in spring & summer. Check out our blog post all about how to decorate with flowers for more ideas. 

jodie & julie 

 

Summary

basic items and their production

What is needed for a good performance? Undoubtedly, the play with which the work will be carried out, the director, talented actors ... But the impression will not be complete without another important component - theatrical props, which will help make the action more lively, natural, filled. After all, sometimes it is small, seemingly insignificant details that are decisive for the transfer of meaning or for the perception of a work. At the same time, very, very few viewers realize how much work is behind these seemingly simple objects.

Definition

To begin with, we need to define what theatrical props and props are. In general, props are a collection of items needed by the actors on the stage in the course of the action. At the same time, these items can be both real, genuine, and artificial or fake. In addition, outgoing theatrical props are also distinguished, which include food, drinks, tobacco and other things used during the performance, not reusable. By itself, the props can be either part of the stage decoration (furniture, dishes, household utensils) or an addition to the stage costume (bags, wallets, hats, umbrellas, etc.).

Procurement shop

Since props in the theater are far from being a one-time thing, it becomes necessary to organize their storage, as well as care, which will allow skillfully made costume details, interior elements and cutlery to remain intact and safe and appear in more than one performance . Employees of this workshop, called props, prepare the items necessary for staging, and also store what is left of old performances, if necessary, modifying and updating individual elements, or creating new ones.

Production of theatrical props

The main task in creating an object is to make it look as close as possible to the original product. At the same time, viewers often do not realize that the "appearance" of the prop item and its "content" have nothing in common. Here are some common, but no less interesting examples:

  • Bulky tableware, such as jugs, are often made of papier-mâché. In addition, plexiglass can be used for this purpose.
  • Spectacular blued steel weapons often turn out to be simple wood, only smooth polished and carefully rubbed with graphite powder extracted from the most common soft graphite pencils.
  • The bookshelves on the stage are usually filled with whole book blocks made of cardboard and covered with dyed fabric. Such blocks are quite light and allow you to easily move the shelves "filled with books".
  • Stage vegetation is made of metal (usually malleable but strong enough wire or thin metal tubes and cloth).
  • "Crystal" chandeliers richly decorated with pendants actually turn out to be made entirely of metal - "crystals" made of tinplate hang on a metal base.
  • Styrofoam and foam rubber are quite actively used in the manufacture of food, especially when it comes to bakery products, as well as sculptures, carvings on furniture, individual architectural details.
  • Masses of glue, flour, gypsum, chalk, paper are used in the manufacture of finishing elements for weapons, dishes, furniture, "cooking" fake cakes, giving the surface the necessary relief. In addition, such masses, called mastics, are used in the manufacture of orders and similar items.

In general, the materials used to make props are quite diverse, their choice is limited only by the imagination of the prop maker and the theatre's budget.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, theater is, first of all, skill. The skill of actors, the skill of directors and playwrights. But the impression of this mastery will be incomplete without one more specialist - a prop maker, whose hands are able to create the very detail that radically changes the impression of what he sees and cuts into memory, becoming a "chip" of a particular role or this or that actor. And, like for many people of the theater, for props and props, the professional holiday is March 27, when Theater Day is celebrated.

Types of stage sets

In order for a production to be successful, it is important not only to choose the right actors. The atmosphere on the stage is also created by the scenery. We can say that the scenery is as old as theatrical art, because even during the first productions, various props were used.

Hard and soft decorations

There are two types of decorations:

  • soft;

  • hard.

Rigid structures are conditionally divided into flat and volumetric, but in fact there are many more varieties. The scenery can be played and used by the actors during the performance. For example, various stairs, fences, tables can be used during staging. Unplayed decorations simply serve as a static background and create an atmosphere, an entourage.

Rigid decorations are mainly made of wood and duralumin. For wooden structures, inexpensive but durable softwood is chosen. In some cases, it is appropriate to use light metals in the production of decorations.

Upholstered decorations are made from fabrics and can be plain, draped, pictorial or contain appliqués. Velvet, canvas and tulle are the most popular materials on stage. Also today, synthetics and non-woven materials are used for the production of products. They are practical and create the desired effect.

There are many ways to create theatrical scenery and have been developed over the centuries. Today, nothing fundamentally new is being created in scenography - everything has already been thought out in advance. However, new materials and technologies appear in the art of decoration.

Scenery on the stage, as a rule, is multi-layered. This is not only the background behind the actors, but also all the necessary equipment. The scenery even includes the curtain and backstage.

Inventory requirements

Quality decorations meet several important requirements. It is important that they can be easily assembled and disassembled without losing the properties of the materials. There are products that are difficult to make, but ideally, decorations should be easy to manufacture. Then, in the event of a breakdown, the product can be quickly restored.

Decorations need to be stored, and it is desirable that they do not take up too much space. Therefore, among the important qualities of structures are portability and mobility. Also, the decorations should be light and durable. This is not always possible in the production of hard props. However, soft decorations meet these requirements by 100%. To make them even lighter, modern materials were used for decorations.

Scenery has been used on stage for many years. In addition, they can be temporarily placed in a warehouse and even transported to other cities. Therefore, such strict requirements are imposed on products.

If the design is not practical, then its operation will require regular expenses. The scenery will have to be repaired, disassembled, and transportation ordered under special conditions. It is possible that such equipment is used in theaters, but in rare cases when there is no alternative.

Practical decorations do not require extra costs and do not lose their properties for many years. In some cases, when manufacturing a product, it is worth overpaying and ordering a structure from more expensive materials if this will extend its service life. However, with the advent of synthetics and non-woven materials, theaters can no longer overpay for the production of scenery.

How the scenery is made

The scenery is created according to a preliminary sketch. Sketches are made by working through each of the scenes in detail. All the details are taken into account. The main scenery in the scenes is the background, after which there are objects for the entourage surrounding the participants in the action. The scenographer begins to work with ready-made sketches, he creates a preliminary layout.


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