The Magic Brush artists don’t only excel at beautiful butterfly face paints, we also love getting handy and building/painting quirky, fun, excellent custom made props suited to your needs and visions!
Mid 2017 we were given the task of building and painting custom made props for the Auckland Council’s Christmas in the parks’s in Henderson, Orakei, and Puketapa.
The job involved the design, Building and painting of:
- One 2.4m high 2D Christmas tree, using 12mm ply
- Two present towers with 3 different sized presents standing at 1.2m high, using 9mm ply
- 26 2D Candy canes of three different sizes; 0.6m, 0.8m, and 1.2m high, using 9mm ply
- Two Photo Peep Boards, using 12mm ply. With two head holes in each board!
So lets get cracking!
First of all there was allot of pre planning involved, but we can fast forward to the fun stuff. To ensure we made the most of our wood we jumped on Photoshop and started placing the exact sized props onto 2 2.4m by 1.2m sheets to get the best layout for the least amount of wood scraps (good thing I love puzzles!) The Christmas tree was on its own on a third piece of wood.
Once we had that done I made templates for our candy canes, triangle templates for the bases of the candy canes/stands for the peep boards and also squares in different sizes to make the boxes for the presents (the peep boards were already cut to size) I was able to use these templates to trace around placing my designs onto the wood following my template that I created on Photoshop.
Honestly there wasn’t allot of an order in which each prop got done, we had many on the go at once so let me break it down.
I had 10 hours per peep board to paint my designs, the theme for these boards was a classic Kiwi Christmas! We were given images to base our design off but added our own twists to each. Take a look at our time-lapse of these being painted.
Two peep holes were cut out using a jigsaw and then sanded down.
The peep boards were then constructed with 2 x 4 framing the bottom and sides of the back of the board to give structure and strength, these were screwed on from the front and we used two triangles on either side of the board as stands which were screwed into the 2 x 4 which were held down with sand bags.
For the Christmas tree I hand drew a tree shape with presents at the bottom onto the ply and cut the tree out using a jigsaw, the tree and presents were painted with shading around the edges and baubles spray painted on using different sized circle stencils, using the scrap ply I drew and cut out a star for the top of the tree and spray painted it gold.
The construction for the tree was fairly simple, we ran 2 x 4 right up the middle and along the bottom of the tree screwed into place with one piece of 2 x 4 making a T shape on the bottom as a foot which would have sand bags laid over the foot holding the tree up.
All the candy canes were cut out using a jigsaw and painted white using a spray gun*, the stripes were then masked out with masking tape using three different sized tapes to make the candy canes stripes (the width of the tape gave us the width of the stripes ensuring it was even.)
Using a spray gun again I sprayed red paint over the candy canes and left to dry before peeling off the masking tape.
Tip: Water your paints down a little to get them going through the spray gun nice and even, rinse your spray gun regularly as the paint dries and blocks the nozzle.
Construction for the candy canes involved triangle bases screwed onto the bottom on the back side of the candy canes using brackets of different sizes again to fit the size of the candy cane, as we were using 3mm ply we needed to cut small rectangles of ply to the size of the bracket to have something for the screws to hold on to. Lastly we drilled holes in the corners of the base so that we could peg them into the grass at each event.
(If we were to do this again we possibly would put brackets on the front and back of the candy canes as we underestimated kids ability to try climb anything in sight! One kid even licked the candy cane! Yummy!)
With all our squares already cut out we needed to paint and construct our boxes, each box had 5 sides, we left the bottom of the boxes open to reduce the weight of the present towers and also it would use unnecessary wood, we framed the inside of the boxes with 2 x 2 for structure and durability and again for something to screw into, the boxes were painted with various base colours then circles and stars were spray painted on using stencils before stacking the presents into towers and screwing them together up through the bottom into the 2 x 2.
Presents are not complete without ribbon and a bow! We bought some red velvet material and made two bows using eva foam and a hot glue gun (both my best friend and worst enemy) and fabricating it with the velvet. I cut the fabric into strips and laid it down the middle of each side of each present using hot glue gun to stick it down to make the ribbon and glued the bow on top.
And that’s that! Our custom made props are done! We loaded all our props onto the trailer and delivered them to the first Christmas in the Park which was in Henderson, at each Christmas in the park we set the props up with the tree and present towers either on or around the stage and the candy canes dotted around the park at all the stalls.