In this blog, I give you props! No, really. I’m talking the kind of props that can be used for theater, for photo shoots, for party backdrops, you name it. Whenever someone needs some kind of prop, I jump at the opportunity to build it. After all, it’s not everyday you get to create something fake! The more challenging, the better. Take this manger scene, for instance. It was created for a living nativity at my church. The challenge was to not only make it look old, but to make it light and portable, while still being sturdy and safe.
Fortunately, I have an ace in my back pocket… and that’s my husband. He pretty much gets roped into anything I volunteer to do. When I realized we couldn’t find old pieces of wood at the local hardware store, it was my husband who assured me it was, “no big deal,” and that he could just, “go for a drive,” and find what I need. And, boy, did he deliver! To this day, I don’t know where he drove, but look what he found!
This roadside find was beat up, cracked and weathered to perfection. And after my husband pulled it apart, he used the slabs to build a manger that can easily be assembled and disassembled.
The only thing I had to do was remove the white paint that I’m sure was not around when Jesus was born. A good power washing did the trick. Then I just added a few touches of black and white paint to accent the age and give it a little more dimension.
I used a similar technique with a kissing booth I built for a photographer who was going to use it for a Valentine’s Day photo shoot. (Quick plug: If you’re in the Phoenix area and ever need a super creative photographer, check her out at Lizziebeephotography.com)
This project was super fun because I got to use a skill saw.
But back to the painting technique. I use both a brush and sponge whenever I’m trying to give something a weathered look. In this case I white washed it with random brush strokes, then I put a few drops of black paint on a moist sponge and just rubbed it along the edges.
I’ll throw in one more prop just for fun. This backdrop for a puppet show was made out of PVC pipe and lots of black fabric stitched to hang like drapes. (It was a super easy sew project. And check out the drapes! I found a square piece of velvet at a thrift store, and it already came with the over-embellished gold roping. I’ve never been so happy to find something so tacky in my life!) Once the sewing was done, I cut out a window from a lightweight piece of wood veneer, and I painted it with gold swirls reminiscent of old time theater.
Before I close the curtain on this post, I encourage you to use your creative talents and volunteer at your church, your child’s school, and anywhere in your community that may need a hand. You’d be surprised how many things are needed, and how rewarding it is to lend your talents to a good cause…whether or not they give you props.