What does a Prop Maker do?

Prop Makers make all different kinds of props used in productions. These can range from jewellery to weapons and even moving models. Prop Makers work with a range of different materials including metal, latex, fibreglass, wood and textiles. They work with the production team to ensure the props they are making look authentic and match the era of the production, i.e. Shakespearean, Victorian, Ancient Greece etc.

What are the main responsibilities of a Prop Maker?

  • Discuss what props are required with Production Staff
  • Create your own take on plans made by the Production Team and turn their rough sketches into detailed designs
  • Make sure props look authentic by researching history and culture
  • Experiment with different tools, methods and materials to create great effects
  • Hire and buy props when necessary
  • Repair props

As well as opportunities on the Get Into Theatre website, you can also search jobs at The Stage Jobs here. 

What qualifications do I need to be a Prop Maker?

Although you do not need a formal qualification to be a Prop Maker you can learn new skills while studying towards a career in prop making. You can gain qualifications in one of these areas such as:

  • Art & Design
  • Production Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Prop Making
  • Technical Theatre
  • Set Design

Find training opportunities here if you'd like to train in being a Prop Maker. 

What skills do I need to be a Prop Maker?

Prop Makers use a range of different skills to create props, these include the following:

  • Carpentry
  • Sculpting
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Welding
  • Computer-aided design

Related skills can include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Always keep a portfolio of your work. Read our blog 'How to make a costume design portfolio' for some tips.

What does a career in prop making look like?

You would typically start as a Props Assistant or Technician. During this time you will gain new skills and experience and work your way up within the department. It's always a good idea to get as much experience as you can. Read our blog 'What does work experience in theatre look like' for more information. 

How much does a Prop Maker earn?

Salaries can start at about £15,000 per year, however salaries will depend on where you work and the size of the company you work for.

Many Prop Makers work freelance and they can charge roughly between £10-£20 per hour, or £85-£200 per day depending on the work and their reputation. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) pay guidelines suggest a rate of between £190 and £375 per day. Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' for tips. 

Find theatre vacancies with The Stage Jobs here


Photo: Alex Brenner

Published: 29 May 2019

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