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Profile of NJJ
What are people's thoughts on using cheaper materials to make props. E.g. using polymers and plastics instead of wood.

I'm making some props for a one week show and it seems silly to spend money on props that don't need to stand the test of time.

As long as it looks good and lasts shouldn't I take the cheaper option?
David Todd
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Inner circle
1487 Posts

Profile of David Todd
One can make some great props with foam core board and gaffer's tape . With care these types of props can last a long time .

So, yes, I agree with your approach , especially for special use/one time use props .

What are you thinking about building ?
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Inner circle
3232 Posts

Profile of Julie
That's how Mark Wilson did many of his illusions when he syndicated the Magic Land of Alakazam series for Saturday morning T.V.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
20977 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
If it looks as good as a professionally built item and is less weight and easier to carry. Then using modern materials is the way to go.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
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Southwestern Southeast
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Profile of ClintonMagus
There's a big difference between "cheaply-made props", and "making props cheaply". If you exercise care in designing and building, even inexpensive materials can be made to look very nice.

For example, foam core or matboard can be used for almost any small-to-medium-sized prop you would make from wood. You need a lot of X-acto #1 blades, a high-quality straightedge, and a steady hand. As a matter of fact, I would probably prefer these materials over fir plywood for most applications. They have a smooth surface that finishes nicely.

I'm not very familiar with working and finishing polymers.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
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Central California
1793 Posts

Profile of kaytracy
Gen Grant's Victory Cartons illusion book, or anything made with cardboard/foam core can be made if there is not much weight put directly onto the item--cabinets, boxes, even sub-trunks could be made this way--just do not stand on the top!
Kay and Tory
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