Prop maker

Alternative titles for this job include Prop designer, prop builder

Prop makers create objects for use in films, TV programmes and the theatre.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become a prop maker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

University

You could take a foundation degree or degree in:

  • prop making
  • scenic arts
  • production arts
  • art and design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation studies diploma in art and design 
  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

College

You can do a college course to get some of the skills needed in this job. Course examples include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design
  • Level 2 Certificate in Carpentry
  • Level 3 Certificate in Creative Craft
  • Level 3 Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Work

You could start by working in a theatre as a props assistant or technician. In film and TV you would start as an art department trainee.

Practical experience is usually essential to get an assistant job.

Volunteering and experience

Volunteering for student productions, festivals and amateur theatre is a good way to get experience and make contact with people working in the industry, which could help when looking for jobs.

Direct application

You may also be able to get into prop making after training in related areas like graphic design, furniture making or model-making.

More information

Career tips

Your creative talent and model-making skills will often be more important than formal qualifications.

Further information

You can find out more about working in props from ScreenSkills and Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work on your own
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing what props are needed
  • interpreting plans, from rough sketches to detailed designs
  • carrying out historical research to make authentic-looking items
  • experimenting with different materials to create effects like ageing
  • using power tools
  • hiring, buying or repairing props

Working environment

You could work in a workshop, at a tv studio, at a film studio or in a theatre.

Your working environment may be cramped and dusty.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into set design, production design or stage management.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a prop maker right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Certificate in Technical Theatre: Sound, Light and Stage

  • Provider: Barking & Dagenham College
  • Start date: 12 September 2019
  • Location: Barking

Performing and Production Arts- Technical Theatre/ Dance/ Drama BTEC Extended Diploma 2

  • Provider: MANCHESTER COLLEGE (THE)
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Manchester

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