Hot Props & SFX How-Tos

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 a breakable baseball bat movie prop

There are plenty of films out there with baseball bats, but if you want your bat to explode on impact, you'll have to make it yourself. A smashable baseball bat is perfect for any gangster flick or sports movie. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to make a breakable baseball bat movie prop.

How To: Build a sci-fi cryo containment chamber

Making a prop for a science fiction movie? This how-to video dives step by step guidance on how to build a super cool, futuristic, sci-fi, cryo containment chamber. You will need a cylindrical object, craft foam or sytrofoam, a hot glue gun, plaster of Paris, aquarium line tubing, and paint. Check out this video prop-making tutorial and learn how to build a great sci-fi like cryogenic containment chamber.

How To: Make realistic looking prop swords

So you want to make a film, and in that film you want to have a sword, but you can't buy one, not to mention real ones are pretty dangerous. Your insurance costs will go through the roof! Well, here's you solution. Check out this helpful two-part video tutorial on how to make your own prop swords, which means less dangerous swords. Actually, they're made out of metal, so you still might just somebody with them yet.

How To: Build a Star Wars Lightsaber (Infographic)

There are many ways to make a lightsaber. You can turn a flashlight into a steampunk lightsaber, you can make a lightsaber from junk, and you can make one that looks totally real (if you've got the money and time). Heck, you can even make one in Photoshop. And now you can make one using an infographic! Who doesn't like infographics? This infographic by Herbert Pocket, which may or may not have been inspired by this lightsaber infographic, will show you the quick route to making a Star Wars wo...

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.

How To: Make a Spartan 300 shield

In this tutorial, we learn how to make a Spartan 300 shield. You will need: paper mache, durable cloth, gold spray paint, newspapers, cardboard, nuts and bolts, and the cap to a trash can. After you have these, cut out a large piece of cardboard and place it over the trash can cap in a circle shape. Then, dip newspaper strips into the paper mache mixture and apply it to your shield, taking your time to make it smooth. Let this dry, then cut two strips of cardboard and place it in a 'v' shape ...

How To: Make a cheap realistic blood splatter

In this video, we learn how to make a cheap and realistic blood splatter. After you have made your blood, you will need to make sure it's the right color you need for blood. Now, take Kleenex and rip it into five different parts. Then, stick these into a tube and grab a pesticide sprayer. After this, stick the blood into the bucket for the sprayer. Now, when you shoot the blood splatter the Kleenex tissue will turn the color of the blood and look like brains or parts of the body that have bee...

How To: Get your heart torn out with film effects

In this video we learn how to get your heart torn out with film effects. First, go to the butcher's section of your market and find a gross piece of meat. Then, cut a hole in your shirt and grab some fake plastic blood. Soak the meat in the blood and then place it into the shirt. Have one of your actors push their hand into the shirt and act like they are tearing a heart out. After you do this, have the other actor act like they are in severe pain. This will finish our your heart torn out fil...

How To: Make a home made battle axe and pole axe out of cardboard for your cosplay

Looking to hit up DragonCon, GenCon, ComicCon, or any other sort of con and want to dress up? Well, if you're going as your favorite Dungeons and Dragons character (there's others, but this one was first to mind) and that character happens to use an axe, there's a cheap way to make your own with a broom handle, some cardboard, spray paint and time! In this video you will learn how to construct a battle axe, a pole axe AND a war axe, pretty cool right?

How To: Create a realistic looking cinema style head shot

In this video, we learn how to create a realistic looking cinema style head shot. First, you will need a cheap toy gun, colored wax, and fake blood to create this. Now, you will need to get some footage of the shooter shooting the gun and flinging fake blood in the persons fake as they shoot. Then, take shots of the other person being taken back by the bullet coming at them. After you get several of these shots, apply the makeup to create a fake gun shot and then mesh all of these together to...

How To: Cut your friends in half with film effects

In this tutorial, we learn how to cut your friends in half with film effects. To do this, you will need an actor, a still frame of blood, and some gory looking meat. Have your wounded actor lay on the floor with another actor laying next to him. Then, have them all leave the frame. Next, bring all the footage in After Effects and bring in the meat picture as well. Add blood and the meat in the pictures and remove the lower half of the body. Play with the colors to make it look more realistic,...

How To: Build your own DIY police taser for your film

If you remember in the Hangover, there was an incredibly funny scene where the guys were stuck getting out of going to prison by helping the officers demonstrate a police tazer in front of a group of kids on a school field trip. If you've ever wanted to make your own prop police tazer for one of your films, check out this hilarious and informative video! In it, you will learn how to create your own police tazer!

How To: Make a double-barrel sawed-off shotgun prop

Using guns in low-budget films is tough. You probably can't afford a real gun or a replica can you? Especially for more specialized guns. Fortunately, this video has the solution. It will show you how to make a really realistic sawed-off shotgun prop for cheap. You will need some carpentry skills and tools, but the gun looks so cool that even if you don't have those things now, you should probably invest in them. You'll be able to use them to make more props later anyway.

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 time bomb prop and

Time bombs are a stimulating and ubiquitous part of action films. This video features a handy tutorial on how to make a realistic-looking time bomb at home out of basic, cheap materials that can be used to add tension and drama to any of your movies. Warning: do not let the authorities see your bomb without knowing what it is first! It is very realistic.

How To: Do a prosthetic skin tear effect

Conner is going to show us how to make a prosthetic skin tearing special effect for use in movies. First you need to get some liquid latex, some coagulated blood, and a paint brush. First paint a layer of liquid latex on the area that you want to have the tear away skin. Once it's dry, peel up one edge of the latex, this should make it easier later on when you want to tear away. Using a low angle and your hand to cover the latex at first, record the actor pulling the 'skin' away. Before the '...

How To: Make a Bigfoot costume for film or Halloween

This fun video shows you how to make an inexpensive Bigfoot costume for Halloween. You will need an old pair of shoes, an old wig, a bald cap, brown makeup, crepe hair, old newspaper, a foam head, a few spray paint lids, a bottle of spirit gum, liquid latex, and modeling clay. This should cost you less than $30. First build up the shape of the face on the styrofoam head with clay. Make sure to add ugly details to your face like a large nose and brow ridge. Next, add seven to ten even layers o...

How To: Make edible realistic fake blood

This video will show you how to make realistic edible fake blood. You will need the following: A tablespoon, container, red food color, a glass of water, syrup and flour. Mix three tablespoons of syrup, one tablespoon of food coloring and one tablespoon of water. Add one tablespoon of flour and mix well. You will end up with a very realistic looking edible fake blood.

How To: Build a P-90 prop gun

The FN P90. Everybody wants one, but more than likely, you can't get your hands on one, especially if it's illegal in your area. Designed by FN Herstal back in the 80's, the P90 personal defense weapon is the cream of the crop. It's full name, Project 90, specifies a weapon system of the 1990's. If you want this firearm for a weapon prop or just to have, you can easily build one yourself with household materials, mostly cardboard. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to build a P-90 prop ca...

How To: Build a fake sword prop

It's medieval mayhem and you need a sword prop. Maybe you're larping, or maybe you just need a fake, dull movie prop blade for your action epic. Either way, this is a great weapons build project for a cool replica wooden sword. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to build a fake sword prop.

How To: Build a Halo Magnum movie prop weapon

Halo. The all time best Xbox game. Everybody knows of it. So when you want to make a Halo gun, most will know exactly what it is. This Halo Magnum weapon is sure to be a hit on your movie set. Sure, making a Halo weapon would be good for a Halo movie, but you can use it as any futuristic weapon for your indie space flick. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to build a Halo Magnum movie prop weapon. Get the blueprints.