The movie and film industry has played a large part in Cape Town’s artists community. Art school graduates often become props masters, set builders and creative directors for production houses. 

We really enjoy seeing their creations in movies, T.V productions and even YouTube series, especially when we can see the goodies we recommended being used!

Our very own Donovan Smith has been a star at helping set designers, prop makers and cosplayers with creating amazing work for their productions.

We asked him to share some of his knowledge on the subject and we hope you enjoy his insights and creativity!

Donovan holding balsawood and olfa cutter

Hi there, Donovan from The Deckle Edge here. 

Besides being an avid painter, I also enjoy prop making and cosplay. With cosplay and prop making, I have been able to bring physical form to things one would only find in computer games, the pages of a comic book or manga.

It could be anything from a knight’s armour or a space gun to a simple paper mask.

Here are some of my favourite tools available at The Deckle Edge:

Olfa cutters and blades. They really are the best and most durable blades you can readily get in South Africa.

Torkcraft Rotary Tool. This really is an all in one drilling, sanding, polishing and overall finishing tool that is versatile and effective on multiple surfaces. 

Balsa Wood A soft wood that works great for carving. You can cut it with a sharp craft or hobby knife. 

Self Healing Cutting MatThis is an absolute staple for any cutting job. Whether you are cutting paper,cardboard or fabric.

Hot Glue Gun and various Speciality glues.

Craft foam and Foam boardLightweight material that is sturdy enough to hold it’s shape. Perfect for making things like armour without having it weigh a ton!

Various speciality paints like Angelus Leather Paints and Cadence Hybrid Acrylics.

Aircraft Airbrush– Perfect for applying even and subtle paint work for that extra special attention to detail pieces. 

Here are some examples of projects I am working on: 

When I make sword replicas, I like to use balsa wood and foam board because it cuts and sands easily ( just remember to always wear a good dust mask ).

When I can’t find aluminium tape anywhere, I often use metallic self adhesive paper, if I want a really shiny finish on my sword blades. Sprayon and Krylon spray cans are also very good products to use.

For my prop guns I used cheap toy guns from a toy store as the foundation and then elongated the sides with sheet styrene, whilst the barrel was made using KS Metals.

The guns were then painted with Daler Rowney Goldfinger metallic paste silver to give a nice metal finish.

When I needed to make a cyborg arm, I used Cotton Gloves from Deckle Edge for the hand. 

Craft foam was then glued over the top and painted to look the part.  

The arm section was made from Printcote card and craft foam .Afterwards it was fastened with velcro strips.

I hope my projects help inspire you to do your own. Creativity Awaits!


Other items also popular with prop makers include: 

Gilder’s pasteImbali Metallic powderSilver, Copper and Gold leafPolystyrene sheets

Rice Paper – EPOXY Resins

Fun Fact:

Not only have goodies from The Deckle Edge appeared in movies, but, we have also had a couple of movie and T.V stars come through our doors.   We had 007 himself, Pierce Brosnan stocking up on some oil painting supplies, Ethan Hawke got watercolours and Katie Holmes picked up some paints for her daughter.  Nina Swart from 7de Laan fame and South African national treasure, Dawid Kramer are some of the local stars that have visited our artists wonderland. 

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