inema and television are riddled with iconic props. Think Indiana Jones’ whip, the Rosebud sled in Citizen Kane, or Wilson in Cast Away. But who breathes life into these inanimate objects you see on screen in your favorite films? Enter the Prop Maker. Answering “What does a Prop Maker do” is only the beginning. Let’s get into it.

What Does a Prop Maker Do?

First, let’s define Prop Maker

The Prop Maker is a job who’s duties always change depending on the needs of the film or series they are working on. But all of them are responsible for the same general job — making props. We'll start with the basic definition and then get into the details.


What is a Prop Maker?

A Prop Maker is a skilled craftsman who creates props. They are responsible for bringing to life the various objects outlined in a script, using a blend of artistic abilities, craftsmanship, and sometimes even engineering skills. Prop Makers work closely with the director and production designer to ensure that each prop fits seamlessly into the world of the film, enhancing authenticity and aiding in storytelling. For reference, a prop refers to any object that actors interact with on the set of a film, television show, or stage production. These could be everyday items like books and cups, or more specialized objects like swords or futuristic gadgets, depending on the narrative's demands.

What Does a Prop Maker Do in Film & Theater?

  • Creating props from the script
  • Coordinating with the production team
  • Repairing and modifying props
  • Budgeting for prop creation

Prop Maker Job Description

What does a Prop Maker do?

In the fascinating world of film production, a Prop Maker's responsibilities are diverse and critical to the storytelling process. Here's a detailed breakdown of their key duties:

Script Analysis

A Prop Maker starts their job with script analysis, identifying all the instances where a prop is required. This involves a thorough understanding of the story and its requirements. This is done with a script breakdown, identifying all elements in a script during pre-production.

Designing and Sketching

Once the needs are identified, the design phase begins. The Prop Maker sketches out ideas, decides on materials and dimensions, and ensures that each prop aligns with the film's aesthetic and narrative context.

What Does a Prop Maker Do — Job Description Explained Pirate Story Prop Sketches

Pirate Story Prop Sketches

Prop Creation

The actual creation of the prop involves a variety of skills, depending on the specific prop. This could range from woodworking and metalworking to sewing and painting. For more complex, mechanical props, the Prop Maker might also have to employ some engineering skills. Some, like in this video, are hidden within the details of a prop.

This Prop Master’s Work Is Hidden in Plain Sight

On-Set Adjustments and Repairs

During filming, the prop artist is responsible for any necessary adjustments or repairs to the props. They ensure that each prop remains functional and consistent throughout the production process.

Budget Management

A significant part of a Prop Maker's job also involves managing the budget for prop creation. They navigate the fine balance between quality and cost-efficiency.

Post-Production Responsibilities

After the completion of filming, the Prop Maker is responsible for the proper storage or disposal of the props, ensuring that everything is kept in order for future use or disposed of correctly.

In summary, a Prop Maker's job is a blend of creativity, craftsmanship, and practical problem-solving, all geared toward enhancing the visual storytelling of film.

Prop Making Skills

How to become a Prop Maker

Becoming a Prop Maker often doesn't require a specific degree, but certain educational backgrounds and training within production design can be beneficial. Here's a closer look at the typical paths to this career.


While not mandatory, having a degree can be advantageous for aspiring Prop Makers. Relevant fields of study include art, design, crafting, or carpentry. Some Prop Makers may choose to pursue a bachelor's degree, which is the most common level of education in the field.

Technical qualifications in production arts, prop making, or technical theatre can also be beneficial. These programs typically provide hands-on experience and industry insights, which can be invaluable for budding prop makers.

Training and Skills

Practical experience is key in this profession. Starting as a props assistant working under a Prop Master or technician in theatre, or as an art department trainee in film or TV, can provide valuable on-the-job training. Over time, individuals can work their way up to becoming a Prop Maker.

Prop Makers need to be good problem solvers with a keen eye for detail. They should have strong creative talent and craftsmanship skills. Additionally, familiarity with various materials and tools is crucial, as Prop Makers often need to get creative when ensuring actors can actually use the props. In this video, you can get a full look into the range of skills required for prop making.

Styrofoam Prop Making Part 1  •  Designing, Carving & Texturing

In some cases, Prop Makers may require specific licenses. For instance, a fireman's license may be necessary for handling certain props, and a complete license may be needed to transport props from suppliers to rehearsal locations and sets.

Overall, the journey to becoming a Prop Maker involves a mix of education, practical training, and innate creativity.

vWhat Does a Prop Maker Do and Make?

Prop Maker salary

The average salary for a Prop Maker can vary significantly based on factors such as location and level of experience. According to ZipRecruiter, as of 2023, the average annual pay for a Prop Maker in the United States is around $54,4991.

The salary of a Prop Maker can vary based on experience, size and budget of the production, and geographical location. Specialized skills and familiarity with certain materials or techniques may also influence earning potential.

Prop Maker Jobs Resources

Find Prop Maker jobs

Embarking on a job search can be a daunting task, but with the right resources and strategies, you can make the process much smoother. Whether you're a seasoned Prop Maker or just starting out in the industry, it's important to know where to look for job opportunities, how to effectively apply, and what to expect during the interview process. Here are some tips and resources to help you find and secure a Prop Maker position.

Indeed: A popular job search engine with a variety of listings in different industries.

EntertainmentCareers.Net: This site specifically caters to jobs in entertainment, including film, TV, music, and VFX.

LinkedIn: The professional networking site often has job listings in a wide range of fields, including prop making.

ZipRecruiter: This job platform often lists positions in prop set design.

Disney Careers: Disney, being a major player in the entertainment industry, often has positions related to props.

Media Match: This site provides job descriptions and listings for roles in media, including Prop Makers.

Remember to prepare a strong portfolio showcasing your skills and experience in prop making when applying for these jobs.

Up Next

Discover more filmmaking roles

A Prop Maker is a creative professional who crafts various props making it a fascinating and diverse career path. To continue through our series of the various filmmaking roles and positions, you can explore similar jobs like Production Designer, Director, or Art Director. Or you can jump over to our Film Crew Index to browse the entire range of filmmaking roles. Understanding what everyone’s role on a film set is will help make you a better overall filmmaker and a more efficient crew member.

Up Next: Explore more crew positions →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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