Make the most of these extraordinary times and gain a nationally-recognised qualification. A short online course is a significant first step to improving your skills and achieving your career goals.
UCAS Course code: W490
This course focuses on the design and manufacture of props for film, TV, theatre, display and entertainment industries. Current students come from a wide range of creative and academic backgrounds, but all share a joint passion for design and making.
The course explores a wide range of creative techniques such as wood and metal work, sculpting, moulding and casting, decorative finishes, CAD, laser cutting and 3D printing, model making and soft props, to create a broad creative skill set that will support your development as a prop maker.
- Highly practical industry-focused course
- Personal studio spaces
- Professional wood and metal workshop facilities
- Resin and plaster rooms
- CAD suite
- Professional projects with external clients
Validated by University of the Arts London (UAL)
This programme is validated by University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL is a leading education provider in the creative arts, ranked second in the world for art and design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023). They oversee the standards and quality of our curriculum, which enriches your overall learning experience.
Each application will be assessed individually, including a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.
Typical entry requirements are below but offers may vary:
A relevant A-Level
Level 3 Extended Diploma
In exceptional circumstances, if you do not meet our entry requirements, your application may still be considered if you demonstrate additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:
related academic or work experience
the quality of the personal statement
Prior professional experience
Our interviews are a relaxed discussion with a member of staff to look over your portfolio, show your passion for design and making and to look around the facilities. You will get the opportunity to meet current students and to see their latest work.
We also offer an online interview if you cannot make it on the day, but we would encourage you to sign up to one of our visit days for a tour and contact our admissions team for further information.
Visit the Prop making and SFX course website for more information: https://propsuk.com/
Please bring varied examples of work, photographs and sketch books, be prepared to talk about your portfolio and have ready any questions you would like to ask the interviewing tutor. Most applicants will show varied strengths and weaknesses in their design/technical or practical skills, so show all aspects of yourself as a designer, artist, technical and practical maker and this will be a good start. You should show a variety of skills from the following list (very few will show all things listed):
Designs sketchbooks/ notebooks and visual thinking – these show your creativity and imagination Life drawing/ mark making – these show your expressive and observational skills
Painting and illustrations – these show your knowledge in using a variety of colour mediums Pencil sketches/Technical drawing/by hand and/or digital – these show your precision and visual communications skills
Photographs of: Sculptures in a variety of materials, such as clays, wood, metal, foams, plastics etc. Puppets, models, prop costumes, furniture, scenic construction, hand and hero props
Props and Models made for hobbies such as Cos-Play, Larp, wargaming etc.
- Prop maker
- Model maker
- Art department assistant
- Set builder
- Production assistant
Some of our recent alumni careers
Three of our alumni are listed in the credits on Star Wars The Last Jedi (Alex McKenzie, Guy Watson and Cecelia Smith)
Alumnus Kyle Whittington has worked on films, theatre and TV, including Justice League, Transformers 5, Red Dwarf and the English National Opera. He also guests at comic book and anime conventions across Europe, giving talks about prop making and costuming.
Alumna Harriet Lansdown has worked as a set designer on shows including Starlight Express, Cats, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, as well as the art department on TV’;;s Red Dwarf.
We use a variety of teaching methods, including:
practical and creative studio-based workshops
small group study
Assessment methods vary between units but could include:
All students benefit from inductions and access to individual workstations, the learning resource centres and extensive practical workshops. Rapid prototyping equipment such as laser cutting and 3D printing are also available to complement hand and machine tool processes. Dedicated moulding and casting areas are for use by all year groups as is our walk in spray painting facility. Throughout your studies the cost of materials is fully funded on taught and group activities.
Visit the Prop making and SFX course website for more information: https://propsuk.com/
Work experience and employment links
The course is highly employment-focused and many of the projects are collaborations with professional clients. Throughout the course you are prepared for industry through work placements and portfolio development to ensure you are an industry-ready practitioner.
Industry links include:
FBFX , Glyndebourne Opera house, National theatre Warhorse, Elstree Film studios Last days of mars, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Leavesdon studios Edge of tomorrow, Chichester festival theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, English National ballet, Souvenir scenic workshops, Bower wood, TMS, Whipsnade zoo, Artem, Robert Allsop & associates, All scene all props, Replica, Plunge Productions, Armchair armoury, Rainbow Productions, Universal Creations, Wild Creations, Foster and Partners.
Materials are supplied for taught sessions. Clients and in-house productions supply budgets for materials in the collaborative projects. The exception is if you decide on a project that needs materials outside the usual basics available. There is a required kit list that includes most common hand tools and PPE. This can be supplied on request.
The course is made up of 15 units delivered over 3 years. Each builds your skills and knowledge base and introduces you to broader and more complex contexts for learning with the aim of helping you to become an industry prepared practitioner, capable of working professionally immediately upon completion of the course.
Unit 1 starts with an introduction to the practical, academic and support systems within the college. The practical inductions focus on the wood and metal workshop, studio and plaster and resin rooms to ensure you are inducted for safe practice and are developing basic relevant skills and knowledge.
Unit 2 is an introduction to broader concepts and context relevant to the arts industries, asking you to explore how they influence and shape your industry and ability.
Unit 3 develops your sculpting technique through a variety of tasks using water and oil based mediums, such as water based clay and plasticine/chavant. You will also explore mould making and casting methods in plaster, silicone, latex, foams, fibreglass to name but a few. You will also take a look at life casting of a variety of body parts. There will be workshops in finishing and decorative techniques.
Unit 4 explores prop design and individual project planning through the development of work from initial concepts to completion.
Unit 5 offers the opportunity to apply practical skills within the context of internal and external projects. Previous examples are: Replica cannons for historical societies, Star Wars and Marvel replicas for display, giant foam flowers for teaching in a Zoo, an entire Egyptian tomb escape room, a corridor of fish, furniture for musicals, hand props for devised theatre, puppets for touring shows, Lion King mask, Zombie hordes, evil statues for film etc.Important techniques used when working with others, such as effective communication, problem solving and personal planning. All of these are practised working with the second years as props assistants and clients/directors/producers on a wide range of internal projects and external commissions.
Unit 6 offers individual practices and exploration of the more specialist area of model making for a wide range of potential outcomes. Key areas of focus are technical drawing, CAD, 3D printing, laser cutting, mechanical systems, relevant model making materials, Previous projects include making models for stop motion animation and scale replicas for furniture designers.
Unit 7 is an individual project that explores design, foam crafting, pattern making, complex mechanical processes and fabric techniques. This is usually explored through puppetry design and manufacture but can also look at prop costumes as well.
Unit 8 explores sustainability and looks at how you as a maker can innovate changes to influence your and other practices to a far more greener and environmental future.
Unit 9 you get to work in a team made up of fellow second years and take the lead on the design, management, communication, production and delivery/installation of props for a wide range of internal and external clients. You will also get to manage a small team of first years as juniors.This will enable you to further develop your managerial skills and understanding of project management.
Unit 10 explores a context relevant to propmaking and SFX and you get to produce work that shows your developing understanding of your place within a wide ranging industry.
Unit 11 focuses on developing yourself as an industry ready practitioner. You will develop a basic portfolio, digital identity and CV in preparation. You will explore the industry and the range of employment opportunities and engage in work placements to further develop your understanding of industry. Most years our students spend up to a month in a broad range of companies throughout all areas of the industry. Work experiences have taken students all over the world including America and New Zealand
Unit 12 looks at business models for practice and gives you the opportunity to find work, negotiate designs and budgets. Manufacture to deadlines and install work across the UK. The usual outcomes are enhanced networks, broader portfolios and a professional confidence for managing and negotiating work.
Unit 13 is personally focused and ensures that your knowledge of employment opportunities are broad and you are prepared to present yourself at your best to a competitive industry. You get to develop portfolios, your digital footprint, self employment etc…
Unit 14 brings your growing knowledge to broader contexts and allows you to explore prop making academically, through the production of a dissertation.
Unit 15 is your final major project. You get to focus on your strengths, define yourself as a maker and produce an exceptional piece of work that showcases you as a maker for the arts and entertainment industry.
The year ends with a range of exhibitions where you get to showcase yourself as industry ready. Usual exhibitions are in Worthing and london (New Blades)
*FREE* Online short courses
The applicable fees for this course, including any available discounts, will be listed in the information above.
How to apply
Once you have created an account, you can easily apply to your chosen course and track the status of your application at any time.
HOW THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORKS
Set Up Your Account
You’ll be prompted to create an account which will allow you to log in to our Application Tracker website whenever you wish. This will provide you with important information and you can also track the progress of your application.
Complete each step of the application form and then submit your completed form. We’ll let you know when we’ve safely received it with an acknowledgement email.
Application Review Meeting
Before offering you a place at college, we’ll meet with you (either in person, by telephone or online). We’ll send you a link to our booking page where you can select a time that’s convenient for you.
Accept Your Place
Offers will be sent to you via the email address you have provided. The offer will be conditional, based on predicted GCSE grades. You’ll need to accept your offer within 14 days to secure your place.
Once you receive your GCSE results, you’ll need to get in touch with the college to inform us of them and start your enrolment process.