How to Become a Prop Maker

What is a Prop Maker?
Prop Makers usually work for film, TV or theatre productions. As a Prop Maker you will be responsible for making a variety of items. This could be anything from replica weapons to trees.

What is a Prop?
A theatrical property, also known as a prop, is an item that belongs to and is used in a production. A prop is a mobile item that can be positioned on stage, or that is used by members of the cast.

The General Duties of a Prop Maker
As a Prop Maker you will work with designers and directors to bring a production to life. During pre-production you will spend much time discussing which props will be needed and conducting research on the specific styles you’ll need to re-create. For example, you may need to experiment with different materials in order to find out how to best match a historical style. Therefore, a knowledge of art history is a must-have.

In this role, you will need to have experience in lots of different disciplines. You may be required to make sculptures, models, masks and costumes. Every production will have different requirements and you will need to be ready and able to adapt and tackle challenges head-on.

You can find out what it takes to become a prop maker here:

Key Skills
In summary, here are the key skills you will need to become a Prop Maker:

  • Creativity in abundance
  • A fine eye for detail
  • Be a problem solver
  • Work well in a team
  • Be playful and experimental
  • Ability to budget for all your various materials
  • Experience in using CAD packages

Salary and working hours 

According to the national careers service, the average working hours for a prop maker are 42-44 hours per week. Salary is variable due to this being a freelance role. According to BECTU, the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, the weekly salary can range from £550-£1,400 per week depending on experience.

However, you should remain aware that building a network will be key to ensuring consistent employment in this role. According to Planit, only 50% of prop makers are in full-time roles, 40% are self-employed and the final 10% work part-time.

How to Become a Prop Maker

Many Prop Makers will have a technical qualification in production arts, prop making, technical theatre or a related topic. To enter these courses you will usually need 2/3 A levels or have done a foundation year.

Alternatively, you could look to attend a college to gain a level 2 qualification in Art and Design or carpentry. Or, you could look to gain a level 3 qualification in Creative Craft or 3D Design and Crafts.

If you do not have a qualification, don’t fret. You can gain lots of experience by volunteering at local productions. After working in this role you can expect to progress into production and set design. The MetFilm Schools offers a variety of undergraduate, post-graduate and short courses for those looking to further their skills. You can find out more about the MetFilm School here.

Become a Prop Maker Today
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Prop Maker vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.