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Sorting out props

Today I was sorting out the props left in studio from the level 2 show and first I got the painted cardboard boxes which I then removed the tape from, flattened them and put them in the bin. Then I moved a black stage block under the props table in the corridor. Then I grabbed the teacups, saucers and teapots from on the trolley into a box which I took down to the prop store. In the prop store I moved some things around on the shelf to fit the props I had in the box onto the shelf. Then I grabbed the prop radio and puzzle boxes from design that I also put back into the prop store. Then I got that we had 2 weeks until the gravestones are needed during tech week. Then I started to do research on the Addams family because the song they dance to that the gravestones are used in is from the Addams family play. I found out that it started out in a comic in the newspaper which then got turned into a book, an animated film, a tv series, a theatre play, and a side series was created on Netflix called Wednesday Addams. The first play inspired by the Addams family was performed in 2009 in Chicago. The play is a musical comedy which has a school, young and younger edition of the play for varied age of actors to perform.

The Addams family research

Musical video

Musical info

More musical info

Images I found online of Addams family play

Addam family pic 1.jpg

Researching and designing my gravestone

Then I did research on gravestones to get ideas, so I searched Victorion gothic gravestone and looked through many images until I found one image that I liked then I found a gravestone with a skull with wing on which was something I wanted to engrave into the gravestone. Then I drew out a design for my gravestone and I wanted to have a 3D skeleton skull on the top middle of my grave.

Gravestone images I found online

Gravestone flying skull.webp

My gravestone design I drew


Painting signs and helping construction

Today I painted one side some wooden protest signs white for the music show with some other people doing it too, so I painted two signs white with a roller in a tray which I painted on tresals that I helped move underneath the signs. Then I helped carry a door into the construction tutor's car which he would be moving it to a bin. Then I picked bolts off of the floor into two trays, one for thick bolts and one for normal sized bolts. Then me and some others moved a large piece of wood into where the wood was stored but it wouldn’t fit in, so we had to pull away the wood to create a gap to push the wood into and then pushing it until it slid in. I also did a few other small tasks to help while metal was being cut to create a prison cell for a song in the dance show. Then I went into design where I practiced using the hot wire tools which engraved designs into scrap polystyrene pieces and then I practiced using the hot wire machine that cut through the polystyrene Then I grabbed 4 pieces of plain paper that I taped together and then I folded it to draw the basic shape I wanted my gravestone and then I grabbed scissors to cut out the basic shape then I unfolded the paper to create my symmetrical basic shape. Then on a big piece of polystyrene I pinned the taped paper onto it, and I used a hot wire machine to cut out the shape. I used the hot wire machine by putting my foot on a pedal to heat up the wire which is a safety feature and then I guided the hot wire that cut out the basic shape by melting the polystyrene. Then I wanted to have a line and a swirl on the end on the top two corners of the gravestone like in my design, but I wanted them to look exactly the same on both sides. I wanted to create a paper template of the pattern I wanted so I tried to find an online image of my pattern but as a line drawing, so I search up architectural swirl line drawing, but I couldn't find that I like so then I tried drawing around a pinned down string that I shaped but the pencil kept on going underneath the string. Then I tried drawing my pattern which worked the best so then I cut it out with scissors to create my paper template. Then I pinned my template onto a thinner piece of polystyrene, and then I drew around it with aa felt tip pen then I unpinned the template to flip it other and do the same thing.


Before painted signs

After painted signs

After wood was put into storage area

Practicing and carving out the basic  shape


Paper template pinned to polystyrene

Hot wire machine I used

Gravestone basic shape cut out

Carving out a design

Design template I drew and cut out


Design after drew around pinned template

Cutting and engraving swirls

Today I used the hot wire machine to cut out the swirl designs I had drawn out on the polystyrene by guiding it through the hot wire. Then I used a soldering iron tool to engrave the swirl onto the shape I cut out on both of them but then I realized that I engraved the wrong side so then I flipped them over and I engraved the swirls again but without the template line swirl on it, so the swirls didn’t look the Then I did research on the family Addams characters which had died but I didn’t like how any their names didn’t sound gothic like Bluebeard Addams, so I looked up online gothic names and looked through a list until I found the name Lilith which I chose so I planned to have the name Lilith Addams on my gravestone. Then I went on word to type RIP, Lilith Addams and 1842-1950 in the font “Baskerville Old Face” in the size 110 and then I printed it out. Then I cut out each letter and number with scissors into a square and then I pinned them onto my polystyrene gravestone. Then using the soldering iron, I pushed dots through the paper and onto into my gravestone to create a dotted outline of the letters and then I took off the pinned letter and I connected the engraved dots to create the engraved lettering into my gravestone. I was then going to create dots into the numbers, but the numbers were too small, so I took them off and I free handed the numbers onto the gravestone using the soldering iron. Then I decided to engrave a skeleton skull into the gravestone instead of carving one from polystyrene and sticking it onto the top to save time. So, I looked up online images of skull line drawings and then I printed it and cut it out to create a template. Then I drew around it on the polystyrene, but I had to draw the inside carvings I wanted so I drew it, but I first drew it too cartoon like so then I drew a more realistic skull face like the template. Then I used the soldering iron to engrave the skull into my gravestone. Then I drew out decorative corner lines with a small swirl for the bottom two corners of my gravestone which I also cut out, drew around and then engraved into my gravestone. Then I glued on the swirls I cut out to go on top and the glue I used was Rapid MCPU Adhesive. After carefully placing the swirls with glue onto my gravestone I grabbed two heavy books from the prop store, and I put them on the swirls while they were drying.


Cut out and carved swirls

Researching names

Gothic names list

Dead Addams family characters

Letters and numbers on the grave


Letters and numbers pinned to gravestone

Engraving a skull


Engraving and Gluing

Decoractive corner template pinned down


Engraved decorative corners


Glue I used on swirls

Gravestone after glued dried

Putting Idenden onto my gravestone

Today I moved my gravestone into the workshop to paint Idenden onto the polystyrene which is a bit like paint but ticker and used to help strengthen the gravestone, so it doesn’t break as easily. Painting on the Idenden took a while to paint on because the thickness of it made it harder to spread so I kept on putting more onto my brush. After painting the front and sides I grabbed a brush to remove some of the Idenden that went into the engraving holes. I couldn’t put Idenden onto the back of my gravestone beace it was resting flat on something, and it would stick to the surface of it so I needed to wait for it to dry. While waiting for the Idenden to dry I went back into design where me and two ithers got set the task of creates small white squares with numbers from 1 to 100 written on them for a dance song and the card would be pinned to their outfits like an audition numbered badge. One person measured and drew the line onto the card to create 6 boxes and then I used a guillotine to cut the cards into squares then another person wrote numbers on the cards I had cut out. We managed to draw the lines and ut out the card squares but we didn’t number them all. Then I went into the auditorium where the music show was being rehearsed and I grabbed white gaffer tape, glow tape, scissors and some foam tubes. In the auditorium me and some others were making it safe for the musicians backstage then the foam tubes were slotted underneath the stage deck that I taped with black gaffer tape either side of the tube. I went around taping the tubes to underneath the stage deck as the others were slotting in the foam tubes into the places which are the most likely to bump your head. Then I put white gaffer tape over some black gaffer tape that was already there on wires on the floor then I cut small pieces of glow tape that I put across the white tape so the wire which is a trip hazard really visible.


Idenden I used on my gravestone

Idenden Painted on front and sides of gravestone

Cutting white card


One of the cards before cut

Cards cut up into squares

Making backstage safe for the music show

White gaffer and glow tape over wire I taped


Idenden, adding a base and painting

Then I painted the Idenden onto the back of my gravestone. After it dried a piece of wood was glued to the bottom of my gravestone and then a tresal was put either side of it, so it didn’t dry it being diagonal or fallen down. Then I put Idenden onto the base. Then I got grey paint, and I painted the front, back, sides and top in it. Then I got a smaller paint brush, and I painted the engraving gaps grey while making sure too much paint isn’t filling in the engraving gap so sometimes, I had to brush grey paint out of the engravings.

Idenden on back of the gravestone


Grey paint I used

Gravestone on wooden base

Grey painted gravestone with Idenden covered base

Weekly evaluation 1

This week I flattened cardboard boxes from level 2 show and put them in the bin, moved props used in level 2 show to the prop store, researched and designed my gravestone, painted protest signs, carved my polystyrene gravestone, carve and cut more polystyrene, glued the polystyrene on to the gravestone, used skull and letters template to draw lines onto the gravestone, engraved the design on, used template and engraved corner swirls onto my gravestone, painted idenden onto my gravestone, cut out card, made backstage for dance show more safe and I painted my gravestone grey. I solved the problem of my design being too complicated to engrave onto with the soldering iron. I did this by keeping the idea and theme of my gravestone but making the design simpler, I decided to have a skull engraved above the lettering since there was a gap there and I also decided to have corner swirls to match the swirls on the top and to fill in the empty space. The complicated design was hard to do because the soldering iron melted through the polystyrene very easily and the metal rod left a wide and thick line. I first thought that it was annoying not making my original design, but I like the newer design I thought of on the spot also my original design was mostly copied from the same online image but the design changes I made were my on original ideas. I have improved on my skills and knowledge of making props with polystyrene which is very useful to know for any props I make in the future with polystyrene. I know how to use a wire cutter to carve my polystyrene sheet and how to used a soldering iron to engrave designs into the polystyrene. I also learnt that idenden is painted onto polystyrene before it’s painted to make it stronger and easier to paint on. So far, I think making props with polystyrene gives lots of creative freedom for the shape, colour and engravings but it’s a long process because of waiting for the idenden and paint to dry. I can improve on my designing skills because I always need to re design half way through making the prop but I don’t want to lose the creativity of the prop so to solve this I think I should do research, design a very creative design without thinking about how possible it is to make and then to make a second design while thinking about how to make the prop. This problem of creating a too complicated design I did with the polystyrene gravestone and the EVA foam dagger. This week I did research on the Addams family on how it started, the tv movie and series and the musical. When I was looking for design inspirations for my gravestone, I was looking at images of victorian gothic gravestones. I also did research on Addam's family characters that had died for a name to go onto my gravestone, but I didn’t like the sound of any of them, so I looked up gothic names until I found the name, I liked which was Lilith.

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