Hot Props & SFX How-Tos

How To: Build a mini machine gun prop

Feeling a bit like Bonnie or Clyde, without the reckless disregard for human life? This mini machine gun is a great prop for Halloween or a homemade action movie. You will need a joystick, pipe, cardboard, a small box, PVC pipe, a cylindrical box, a hot glue gun, a sharp knife, and a stand. Watch this video prop-making tutorial and learn how to make a mini machine gun.

How To: Create an extreme nose bleed trickle and gush

Here, we unveil a brand new type of BFX episode called "BFX On Location"! We've been invited by directors Giancarlo Fiorentini and Jonathan Grimm to create an extreme nose bleed effect for their film "The Old Man and the Seymour". This movie stars Streeter Seidell, Amir Blumenfeld and a VERY bloody nose. Check out all the action as Erik's skills get a real world test!

How To: Build a smashable guitar prop

You're not really going to smash that guitar are you? It's a piece of art. Parker put together this tutorial to show how to build a prop guitar you can smash and let out all that rock and roll angst. You will need a glue gun, chess pawns, cardboard, duct tape, a gift box, glue, a garbage can, paper, paint, string, and a ruler. Watch this video prop-making tutorial and learn how to build a prop guitar for smashing.

How To: Build a breakable cinder block to karate chop

Show off your karate skills by breaking a cinder block in half! Everyone will be amazed when you karate chop that block in two, without getting hurt. But is it real? That's up to you. If you don't want to break your wrist, it's best to make a fake breakaway cinder block. This is a great movie prop for any martial arts flick, but also good just for showing off. Just don't let anybody pick up the foam pieces. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to build a breakable cinder block to karate chop.

How To: Make a breakable 2x4 wood board prop

Yes, a smashable board of wood. Just what the propmaster called for. A long 2x4 piece of wood prop is perfect for smashing overtop somebody's head during an action scene. The smashable board is easy to make, too. But not as easy as breaking it. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to make a breakable 2x4 wood plank prop.

How To: Make Realistic Fluffy Cloud Props from Things Around the House

If you need a cloudy background for a photo or video, you can always turn an old aquarium into a DIY cloud tank. But, if you want something more fun and less creepy, these fluffy cloud props by Serena Thompson might be more what you're looking for. It'd even make a good Halloween costume if you tweak it a little. All you need is some balloons, tape, flour, newspaper, and a bunch of pillow stuffing. Serena made them by taping balloons together and applying a mixture of water and flour, then co...

How To: Build a fake rock movie prop

We all know that movies now-a-days don't use real rocks, but fake rocks for their film sets. Why? Because it's safer, lighter, easier to movie, and you can design them exactly how you want them. So if you need a rock for your indie film project, make it yourself. There's nothing better than imitation. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to build a fake rock movie prop.

How To: Make a homemade electric chair

Whether you’re pro or con on the death penalty issue, there’s nothing more terrifying than having a real live electric chair in your own home! So you should probably just use these simple steps to create a mock-electric chair to “shock” your guests! This Fear.Net Halloween video shows us how to make a homemade electric chair to frighten the Trick or Treaters this holiday season! Make a homemade electric chair.

How To: Create a falling effect

Steve Nelson from Indy Mogul shows you how to create cool falling or jumping from a building effect. Use a combination of camera angeles, green screen, and editing to create this cool action effect for your films.

How To: Make a Tommy Gun out of cardboard

This video begins by showing the necessary tools needed to make a prop tommy gun out of a cardboard base. The first step is to trace a simple handle shape on the cardboard and repeat eight more times until you have eight exact copies of the handle. Then using an image of a tommy gun make an outline on the gun to cut in another piece of cardboard. You must cut and make eight more copies of the entire gun body to have the appropriate thickness for realism. The handle must be glued to the gun bo...

How To: Create floating objects and razorblade props

In this tutorial, we learn how to create floating objects and razorblade props. First off, take your object and some double sided tape. Then, place the tape on the object to make it look invisible. After this, tape it to the middle of the plexi-glass. Have someone else help you move this, and then when you record it on video it will look like the object is moving around in the air without anything holding it. This is a great effect that looks even better on video! To create the razorblade pro...

How To: Film realistic, bloody gun shots

In this tutorial, we learn how to film realistic and bloody gun shots. You will first need to gather up all the materials you need to make this happen. Once you have everything ready, set it all into place. Make sure you have the fake blood placed in the shirt where the person is pointing the gun, and also make sure you have a good actor. After this, use a firecracker to make the sound of a gunshot. As soon as this goes off and the person pulls the fake trigger, have the other person push on ...

How To: Make fake bruises for film or Halloween

Bruises may not be as gory or extreme as the gashes and slashes from some of the other fake-wound videos on the site, but they are an important part of the fake-injury world. I a brick falls on you, what you are going to have isn't a cut, but a very nasty bruise! This video will teach you how to make a realistic fake bruise on your arm out of makeup, which should be handy for you next film.

How To: Make 300 Spartan arm braces/arm guards

In this tutorial, we learn how to make 300 Spartan arm braces/arm guards. You will need: a cereal box, paper, newspaper, scissors, super glue, flour, water, spray paint in gold, and masking tape. To start, you will need to first draw the shape onto the cereal box and then cut it out. From here, mix up a cup of flour with a cup of water until it's well combined. Then, dip strips of newspaper into it and place them over your cereal cut out. Then, let this dry and place wire and masking tape ove...

How To: Make the repulsor arm prop from Iron Man

Iron Man, and to a lesser extent it's sequel, represent the best of the new comic-book-movie boom and have rejuvenated the popularity of one of Marvel's most interesting characters. Do you want to make a Tony Stark costume, or dress someone you know in one for a film or party? This video will show you how to make one of the coolest and most important parts of the Iron Man ensemble: the repulsor arm ray gun.

How To: Make a sawed-off shotgun movie prop

In this video tutorial, viewers learn how to make a sawed0off shotgun. The materials required for this project are: hot glue gun, duct tape, cardboard, utility knife, black marker, spray paint and 2 paper towel rolls. Begin by tracing a shotgun outline onto the cardboard. Make 6 layers and glue all the layers together. Then smooth the edges with sandpaper and tape the outside with some duct tape. Now tape the 2 paper towel rolls together and tape it on top of the shotgun. Finish by painting t...

How To: Make a military-style night vision goggles prop

Night vision goggles are one of the iconic pieces of equipment of the modern military. Getting a real pair is prohibitively expensive, especially if you just want to use it as a prop in your film instead of actually seeing at night. This video features instructions for making your own set of prop night vision goggles for cheap, giving any action or spy movie that you are making a much more modern, authentic feel. Also, now your characters can see at night, opening up all sorts of potential sc...

How To: Make a breakaway cardboard chair prop

A breakaway chair is one of the best pranks, or one of the easiest effects for your indie film project. A breakable chair can be made out of simple household items, and is very cheap. The biggest material needed is cardboard. So basically, you'll make a cardboard chair, that breaks. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to make a fake movie prop brick.

How To: Make an easy, cheap green screen with no posterboard

In this video you learn how to make your own green screen for less than $15 in under an hour. The material for the screen is a green felt-like fabric that can be easily found at a local fabric store or Wal-Mart. The fabric itself is just over 1 yard in width and you will need to buy 2 sheets 3 yards in length for a total of 6 yards at a price of about $2.00 per yard. You will also need a way to join the sheets together. For this, the video recommends a tube of Heat'n'Bond fabric joiner which ...

How To: Make Your Very Own Hobbit Pipe—The Only Way to Smoke Pipe-Weed

A new trailer for Peter Jackson's Hobbit movie arrived recently, and it continues to look pretty awesome. If you're gearing up for the midnight premiere on December 14th, why not get into the spirit early by making your very own Hobbit pipe? In the film, the Hobbits smoke from signature rustic, wooden pipes with a very homemade look to them. Instructables user handcraftsup makes his own versions out of tree branches of what he believes real Hobbit pipes would like like. The tools he uses incl...

How To: Turn an Old Aquarium into a Cloud Tank & Create Creepy Alien Atmosphere Effects

Need some creepy visual effects for your alien flick, but don't want to spend a bunch of money? With some pretty basic materials, you can turn an empty aquarium into a "cloud tank," which can be used to create several different atmospheric effects. Before Hollywood started using CGI, cloud tanks were used for scenes in a lot of famous movies. Remember this one? Besides Raiders of the Lost Ark, cloud tanks also helped make some wonderful non-CGI effects in Independence Day, Close Encounters of...

How To: Make DIY fog fluid for a fog machine

If you are an avid party-thrower, moviemaker, or are involved in some other activity that involved you frequently using fog machines, you're probably sick of paying for the fluid to make them work. No more! Watch this video for a guide to making your own cheap DIY fog machine juice / fluid at home.

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