Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Being One of Santa's Elves Must Suck

For my latest project I've been creating massive props for the Charleston Music Hall's Christmas show.
Specifically I was asked to make several giant toys and a Santa's Workshop sign that will be rigged to hang above the stage. Short of time and with a moderate budget, Jim (a theatre design expert) and I decided to create the pieces by projecting each toy onto one full sheet of plywood, tracing the image onto the wood and then cutting them out with a jigsaw. Then I handpainted each piece using traditional paint brushes and a lot of acrylic paint. The goal was to paint each toy on the flat wood, but still try to make them look as three dimenstional as possible during the painting process. For the limited time I had, I think I achieved the effect the theatre was hoping for. Jim seemed thrilled, so that was a relief.
But after several days of painting the giant pieces, most of them roughly 4'x8', I'm exhausted.
Unfortunately, Jim got some very bad news today and had to travel north unexpectedly, so he asked me to drive the props down to Charleston tomorrow and help his son rig and hang them in the theatre. Should be an interesting day. Here's some photos of the work.

The Santa's Workshop sign isn't quite finished. We have 5 wood snowflakes that still need to be painted and nailed onto the sign, plus we still need to bolt the sign together on metal bars so that it becomes one piece instead of the separate top and bottom sections we have now. And we'll add a velvet Christmas bow as well.

Several of the toys huddled together in Jim's workshop.

Model airplane.




Doll House.

Rocking Horse.
Rocking horse from the side.

This is the stage layout I designed on my computer.

I have a lot more to talk about, but this work has kept me busy, so I'll post another blog as soon as I can. Hope everyone is doing well as the Christmas season approaches.


  1. I think you def captured the 3D look! Great work!

  2. Hey you! Love your latest creations! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
    Cammie L.