Mad Props Workshop

Mad Props Workshop


Thanks to Everyone who came out to the Mad Props workshop at Keen Halloween! We had a great turn out! So nice to see so many people interested in foam prop building. As promised here is a list of supplies I handed out at the event. Keep in mind foam prop building is largely an experimental medium. I encourage all of you to test out different techniques and If you discover a product or process that’s not on the list let me now and I’ll add it. Let’s keep the list going!

EPS foam (expanded polystyrene/white foam insulation)
XPS foam (extruded polystyrene/pink or blue rigid foam insulation)
Blocks of foam (available locally in Arizona at Henry Products)
Spray foam

Latex paint
Acrylic paints
Dry lock sealer
Chip brushes (cheap throwaway brushes)

Hot-wire cutters
Acetone (eats away at foam, but can create some cool effects)
Spray paint (contains acetone and can also create cool effects)
Stencils (can be used with acetone or spray paint)
Stanley sure form shaver
Hot knives
Foam sanding blocks
Emery boards
Pottery tools
Dremel tool
Heat gun/water bottle
Curry horse comb
Paint stripper drill attachment
Wire brush
Mixer drill attachment (for mixing Monstermud)

Styro spray, for a smooth texture (can by purchased from Industrial Polymers)
Monstermud, for a rough rock-like texture (5 parts drywall joint compound , 1 part latex paint + sand)

Glidden gripper latex primer sealer (great for gluing foam boards together)
Wood glue
Wood filler
White Elmer’s glue
3M Super 77 spray adhesive
PL 300 foam board glue (Home Depot)
Gorilla glue

Rubber gloves (for working with styro spray)
Breathing mask

Opaque projector
Iron-on transfers (for example, Avery brand)
Crayons (better than markers for drawing on foam)

HELPFUL WEBSITES – for hard coatings – a variety of foam cutting tools – local Arizona company manufactures large blocks of foam and pre-cut shapes



In my house, Halloween is always a big event.  My family has a tradition of going a bit mad when it comes to creating spooky decorations, intricate homemade costumes, and creepy special effects. So when I was approached by Daniel Davis of Steam Crow about Keen Halloween, a new Halloween event he was organizing, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Keen Halloween encompasses everything I hold dear about Halloween. Unlike the majority of Halloween themed events, this one is less about horror and more about how-to. The event features a cool Monster Marketplace, live entertainment, workshops, and even an Evil Genius Costume Bar staffed with experts to help you with all your Halloween costume dilemmas.

In addition to the unavailing of my first ever Serkworks booth where I will be selling some of my Halloween-themed indie comics, prints, and novelties, I will be hosting a workshop on how to build Halloween props and decorations using EPS foam.

I’ve been building sets, props, and costume pieces using EPS foam since the mid 90’s. At the time I was producing a pilot for a live-action children’s show. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find any set companies who were able to build the kind of quality sets or props we were looking for within our budget (which wasn’t small). So I did a little research and discovered the wonders of EPS foam. I was amazed at what, with only a little bit of knowledge of sculpting and some general construction know-how, my team (basically my brother and I) was able to accomplish.

After we wrapped production on the pilot, I parlayed my knowledge of foam prop-building to create trade show booths, props for television commercials and films, and even playhouses for my kids.

I’ve had such an awesome and rewarding experience with the medium that I would like to share some of my knowledge, and give anyone interested an insight on how you can build amazing foam props of your own.

Here’s what you can expect to find at the Mad Props workshop:
· A slide show featuring the “behind the scenes” creation of some of the props I’ve created using EPS foam.

· An insider’s look at the many tools that allow you to sculpt EPS foam.

· A sampling of coatings that can be applied to EPS foam.

· A step-by-step demonstration of the basics of creating Halloween props out of EPS foam.

· An opportunity to test out some techniques for yourself.

· A Q and A session to help with all your EPS foam quandaries.

· A list of supplies and places you can purchase just about everything you need to create your own foam prop creations.

All this is included with your Keen Halloween admission. So don’t hesitate The show is just around the corner, September 29th 2012. Phoenix Arizona. Get your Keen Halloween tickets today! See you there!


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