Open Forum

Produce props

  • 1.  Produce props

    Posted 11-02-2019 14:25
    Want to stock a produce cart for the town square scene at the beginning of Cinderella. Anyone have a good book or lesson plan, etc. for making fake food?

    Marla Blasko
    Director/Teacher Theatre Arts
    Long Reach High School
    Columbia, Maryland

  • 2.  RE: Produce props

    Posted 11-05-2019 09:46
    I would have LOVED an assignment like this in school, especially if there was plenty of room for creativity. What if you assigned them each a fruit/vegetable (or let them choose their favorite) and ask them to come up with their own plan? I would make sure you specified that you wanted the produce to be as realistic as possible and give them some suggestions of materials, like paper mache, clay, foam, etc, but also let them explore. There are tons of "DIY fake fruit" tutorials online to use for inspiration. Part of the assignment could be documenting their process through photo or video so you have tutorials to reference later. Or if you need more produce than students, maybe they need to create one piece on their own, and then they have to use another student's tutorial to make a different piece.

    There was also a Teaching Artist at Festival this year who led a fake food props workshop and might have some suggestions for you, you can find him in the Teaching Artist Directory:

    Eric Barnes

    Ginny Butsch
    Community Engagement Manager
    Educational Theatre Association
    Alexandria KY

  • 3.  RE: Produce props

    Posted 11-05-2019 13:48
    One of the problems I've seen in non-professional theatre groups over the years when creating faux food is the lack of research and the resulting lack of realism. This stems from people thinking they know what, for instance, a carrot or apple looks like and going with that, instead of looking at a real carrot or apple. The best way I've seen to create faux food is to have the real pieces on hand while making the props and use them as a reference.

    If the pieces are supposed to be "cartoonish" or "stylized"  due to the overall visual concept of the show (like, for instance, in a Disney animated movie), the real pieces still need to be researched so the prop ones can be stylized and still look right.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 4.  RE: Produce props

    Posted 11-06-2019 08:13
    I did this with middle school students in a tech class years ago.  The first step was for them to select a fruit or vegetable and really observe it.  I think the main questions I had them answer were, "What traits make your fruit unique from other fruits?" and "What has to be included to make it recognizable?" Once they answered, they were better able to draw their representation  and then select the medium they wanted to work with.  We had everything from clay and Fimo (raisins- the kids realized that with bigger pieces this could get expensive fast) to paper mâché to sculpted florist foam (if you go this route make sure you have some basic respirators on hand).  When students presented their props, they had to discuss the important traits, how that influenced their choice of medium, and how they constructed the prop.  The consensus what that fruits/vegetables were a good place to start. When we moved on to more general food props, the students were better able to look for unique characteristics and became much more creative with medium choices to really represent what they were building.

    Suzanne Katz
    Washington DC

  • 5.  RE: Produce props

    Posted 11-07-2019 10:30
    I went to an amazing workshop in Lincoln this summer about this!  The guy was great and made so many realistic looking foods

    Natalie (Saunders) Dommer
    Pasadena Memorial High School
    Pasadena, Texas

  • 6.  RE: Produce props

    Posted 11-12-2019 00:10
    If you want to consider other food to augment your produce items, you might make "cheese."  We used foam remnants and cut them into wedges with an electric carving knife.  The Swiss cheese was particularly fun to make, as we just pinched out little bits of foam to make the holes.  Then we painted them different colors with scrap paint.  It was super easy to create a huge amount of cheese really quickly.

    C. J. Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator
    Asheville NC