How to recognise a Prop Factory Prop!

by Karen - Copy Writer for The Prop Factory

Wednesday 5th February 2020 09:19:50


Prop hire is big business. There are big companies, tiny companies, corporate, quirky, people who plan your big day, people who hire you the props and leave you to it, prop companies who are great for themed events and others who concentrate on providing the essentials. There's room for all of these, but if you've happened upon the Prop Factory, presumably there's something about our style that caught your eye. 

We're not afraid to admit that we are proper prop snobs! We see ourselves as curators of quality, original, handcrafted goods and we work hard to maintain the standards that we've set for ourselves. If you're hiring props from us you can be sure that what you get will be good quality, well made, fit for purpose and practical. And that's before we even get into the aesthetic details. So how do you recognise a Prop Factory built prop?

If we start with the very basics, pretty much everything we build is made out of wood. Or fabric. Or, quite often, wood and fabric! Sustainability means a lot to us, which is why you won't find us hiring cardboard cut-outs, paper props and foam boards that, quite frankly, don't last long and need to be replaced frequently.We have our own workshops and a team of very talented prop makers onsite. All the props they make are built to last from recycled or FSC wood and our fabrics are largely recycled. This means our props are properly robust, but if they do get damaged we can repair them, if the paintwork gets a bit tired we can give them a bright new coat. They're definitely not written off to landfill. We can't say that we rule out plastics altogether, but we only use them where necessary. You will, for example, find acrylic in the fronts of our giant 2D compass and in our crazy mirrors. For safety reasons sometimes glass just does not cut muster, but we wouldn't set out to build an acrylic prop.More on the recycling. We're natural scavengers who enjoy nothing more than a root around a charity shop or car boot sale and we're not even averse to the occasional skip dive. What we're not, though, is junk modellers. Think less Blue Peter and more Salvage Hunters. We have fabulous round farmhouse tables made from scaffold boards, lovely herringbone poseur tables made of pallet wood and a vintage bar that is constructed from old pub wall panels.You can't always spot the origin of our materials in the finished prop, but we do feel they add a little authenticity and feeling of age to our goods. We work hard to keep the quality whatever the provenance of our raw material. Our pallet wood has all been put through a thicknesser to give it an even finish and we use a heat cutter to avoid fraying on our ribbon bunting.Every one of our props has a sense of uniqueness, but there are certain features that we come back to again and again. It's no accident that we've designed them this way as we want you to be able to hire props that are individual, but have a common element to bring cohesion to your styling. We're unashamedly influenced by traditional circus design and vintage advertising. Look out on our website for...

Stars - from the painted details on circus podiums to dual-coloured hanging carnival stars.Stripes - all colours, from our old pink candy striped display plinth to a Halloween-inspired Meoooowwwww Sign.And harlequin patterns all over our Edwardian style fairground stalls.We have an 'in house' colour pallet and, whilst there are times when we might break out of this for a particular prop, you can expect to see multicolours - in pastel and brights - natural boho with a rustic finish and vintage circus shades.We love to add texture to our props. They aren't museum pieces, we want you to want to touch them. Prop Factory director, Carmen is a long-time magpie - a collector of things. Consequently we have a magnificent hoard of haberdashery. The ribbons, beads, feathers, lace, tassels and other trimmings that she's gathered are used to add tactile detailing to our props - you'll see this across our inventory adorning props like our kooky festival sign, dreamcatchers and decorative eye wall hangings. Making the ultimate pom-pom - dense, fluffy and perfectly round - is a Prop Factory preoccupation that you will see appearing more and more often.Wooden decals create layers of depth on wooden 2D props and are often salvaged and upcycled, like the unusual scroll on our retro teapot chalkboard that is a remnant of broken furniture or the cheery wooden bowling pin clowns that have found their way onto our old kids' corner amusements sign.We source talented artists and painters for our prop making team. There's always a huge element of hand painting to our props, although we might sometimes mix this with low-emission spray painting and specialist printing techniques to satisfy a particular need. Look for vintage shabby finishes with bare wood showing through. Yes, we deliberately age our props - you'll never see us with a glossy pure white prop!In keeping with this, fonts are also vintage in style, generally with fancy flourishes and swirls, but never so much that it detracts from the message. We love iconic fonts that aren't overused. It takes a bit of research, but the outcome is always beautiful.What we're looking to do when we create any prop is bring it to life in a characterful and original way. There's sometimes an element of reverse engineering - 'working with what we've got', if you will, or taking inspiration from what's around us. This has resulted in a collection of characterful and fun props that don't dip into cartoon. This is never more so than in our animal hybrid props. We might not set out to make a bear legged vintage suitcase coffee table, a flamingo legged globe or a caterpillar pouffe that looks as though it might toddle off on its many legs - but we're glad that we did even if we have sold some of these props now. Check out our ebay store BTW!More unique concepts include our good-enough-to-eat jam tart floor seat and chocolate cake furniture.Our props might become a talking point at your event, or they might blend so seamlessly into the background that it feels like they were made for the space. Whatever your need, you can guarantee that the props you hire will be unique, mostly likely a one-off and certainly not available from any other company.

To see all the unique props featured in this blog in one place, click here.

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