Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some fun fake food

I love prop food. It is by far my favorite prop to work on.
I had quite a bit of prop food in Christmas Carol and thought I would share some of the fun.

This Christmas pudding is made of great stuff which I carved and sanded down to a smooth half sphere. I painted it brown (it's not visible in this picture but I used three different colors to bring out the texture) and then poured a thick mix of plaster of paris over it to make the hard sauce. A sprig of holly on top and we have an English tradition.

I found these hollow plastic potatoes in stock. cut them into eighths and filled each section with a squirt of great stuff. After the great stuff was expanded and cured I cut off the excess. I knew I wanted to spray paint them so I coated the foam with Elmer's white glue to seal it (in case you haven't yet experienced it, spray paint eats into any foam if it isn't sealed with something).
Both the turkey and the potatoes were painted with Design Master, Glossy Wood Tone spray paint. You can buy it at most craft stores (except in Chicago city limits where you can't buy spray paint anywhere). It is the easiest and best way to "cook" any fake food. It gives the perfect shine and color to make food look perfectly roasted.

These Green Beans are just dowel rods cut up and painted green, the carrots are bigger dowel rods, sliced thinner and painted orange. To make them more realistic I used a chisel to cut the edges so they weren't perfectly circular slices and added a touch of a lighter orange in the center of each slice. After arranging it on the plate I squirted Elmer's white glue over it, it ran down between the dowel rods and held everything in place as it dried.
First, I didn't make the turkey slices (wish I had but they are rubber and the theatre had them in stock). The other item on the plate though is one of my favorite tricks. I tore some old yellowed upholstery foam into small pieces (about 3/4" round), cut up an extra leaf from a silk flower, and drizzled hot glue over the entire thing. I wish I could tell you exactly what it is supposed to be, but I really can't. In a large dish it looks like a casserole, on a plate like this it sometimes looks like a pasta dish, sometimes a potato dish but it always looks like food. It's my favorite fall-back solution when I have to fill a table with food.

As a small side note, you may have seen the croissant in the backround of the last photo. I did not make it, if you've never checked out the fake food selection at Hobby Lobby you should. They have fake bread for incredibly reasonable prices, as well as decent looking cheeses and some fantastic looking fruits.


  1. I love this post! Fake food is also one of my favorite props. I have to ask, what did you use to make the turkey?

  2. The turkey slices on the plate and the full roasted chicken were both stock pieces (I wish I made them). If I were to make the turkey slices I'm thinking I would use some sort of fabric dipped in liquid latex and then arranged on the plate to dry. In terms of the full bird check out my posts "turkey adventures" part 1 and 2 for details on how to carve one.

  3. These are so awesome! I love making props too! I was just wondering if you've had any expirence making prop money, and if you have any advice.

    Thanks so much :)

    -Ally Thomas

  4. Hi Ally,
    Prop money can be tricky if you are trying to deal with current US money, not easy to copy (and illegal). If you are looking at old out of date money you can usually find places to buy reproductions online. If you do end up with copies that look anything like real money (I have seen some pretty great reproductions people put together using the layout of the US dollar with different pictures and wording) make sure that they are clearly labeled with the work "prop" or "not legal tender" or "for theatrical use only."
    Also, the better the paper is that you are using (try an off white or beige linen paper) the more it will feel like real money.

    As for coins, you should be able to go into your local bank and ask about getting foreign coins. Many of them will look close enough to US currency, but are much less likely to walk away in an actor's pocket.

    1. I am looking to produce or procure fake coins for Scrooge's counting house. Ideas?

    2. Hi Ginny,
      Depending on how close your audience is, I have had luck in the past with fender washers (they have very small holes in the center) from the hardware store, and a couple rolls of pennies and nickels. You can add to the effect by spray painting your coins a variety of metallic colors.

  5. what would you suggest for fake chocolate chip cookies?

  6. I actually have a post about how I made chocolate chip cookies. The post is called "Bake sale" and you should be able to find it easily through a quick search on the blog.

    I've also made cookies using Sculpey or Fimo bakable clays that turned out pretty well.

  7. Any suggestions for fake bacon, for a production of The Miracle Worker. We are trying to use as much fake food as possible, to limit temptations to the cast...