Introduction: Prop Fake Diner Food Burgers, Chips, Fries, Hotdogs for Grease the Musical
I was asked to be props manager for our amateur youth group. The Show was Grease The Musical (Schools version)
One of the things I had to work out was the food. There was quite a lot of food on set and some actually eaten by cast. Pink Ladies had trays of food, there were sandwiches, hot dogs, fries and burgers carried around by the Greasers. Popcorn sellers with popcorn boxes at the drive in movie and so it goes on.
The first thing I did was worked out which food needed to be edible and which food needed to be prop. Once I had my list I worked out my shopping list and where to buy from.
I made these food pieces over a year ago and they are still as good as the day they were made. To achieve this, you must make sure that you seal the bread parts well. If moisture gets in, the bread won't last.
Step 1: Hot Dogs
I decided the best way to make a hot dog roll look real, is to use a real hot dog roll! So, I found a pack of rolls reduced in my local shop (for 60p).
I cut them open 2/3rds of the way through long ways (ready to for the dog), trying to keep the hot dog roll complete. If you end up with two halves, then the hot dog will be harder to keep together and you'll have to glue it well or wrap it in a serviette to hold it together
Leave the sliced rolls to go stale for a few days (you could use an airing cupboard or a dry room. You can also put them in the oven on a very low heat to dry them out if you have less time.)
When the rolls were stale enough to be quite hard, you can apply a layer of shellac or if you haven't got shellac, you could use clear yacht varnish. This will create a hard impenetrable layer around the roll and make it water resistant. Leave to dry and begin working on the sausage.
If you want find a plastic sausage in a kids food set, then you can make one. There are various materials you could use. Papermache is quick and easy, but needs many layers and may take some time. I used home made quick drying salt clay to make my hot dog sausage. There are a few quick recipes for salt dough on here, so I won't repeat. Make your sausage shape, measure it to fit the hot dog roll and leave to dry.
All you need to do next is paint and varnish your hot dog sausage. Once it's dry you can assemble your hot dog.
I used a hot glue gun to make a strong bond between the bread roll and the hot dog. I then added a drizzle of mustard (yellow acrylic paint) or ketchup (red acrylic paint) and left it all to dry hard. One final layer of varnish or shellac will finish the job nicely.
This is so easy to do and is equally as realistic as the expensive fake food around.
Step 2: Burgers
Having been successful with the hot dog rolls, I decided to follow the same process for the burgers. So, again, I found bread cheap in my local shop. I chose some pre-sliced burger buns with seeds on top as they looked great and pre-sliced means they are equally cut and neat.
I applied the same preservation process - drying them out, then varnishing them.
The burgers were a master stroke - we had had some furniture delivered and had bits of 1" thick polystyrene sheets lying around. I traced the shape of the burger bun onto the polystyrene sheet and then used a sharp craft knife to cut out the disc shape. Burgers don't have edges as such, so I gently roughed up the edges. The polystyrene fell away beautifully, leaving behind a pressed mince shape.
At this point, I got the old faithful acrylic paints out. Using yellows, browns and a tiny amount of black, I painted up the burgers to mimic cooked beef. I added a splodge of red paint in the centre of some (to resemble ketchup or relish). As you would with the real thing, assemble the burger with a hot glue gun, squeezing the burger into the bun, making the red ooze out. Leave all to dry hard.
After this, add you last layer of varnish or shellac, to preserve the creation.
Step 3: Fries
I made these fries from pieces of foam I had left over from a furniture project.
Using a sharp knife, I cut out a load of potato chip shaped lengths from the sheet of foam. When white foam is exposed to air, over time it yellows naturally and small slices of foam will slightly bend or curve up at the ends. The foam tends to harden slightly.
All these attributes benefit a fake potato ship! All you need to do is leave your slices of foam out in the sun for a while and they individually paint them with acrylic paints. Start with a bright yellow then add darker yellows and browns to the edges and edges to make them look 'cooked' or 'browned'.
Once you have let them dry, glue them together into a chip packet or a plate or a bag, whatever you choose. Maybe add some ketchup !(acrylic paint)
All these items are still in my props box over a year later!