Introduction: WWII Era Vintage Retro Microphone 1930s - 1940s Prop
My wife asked for help finding a vintage stage microphone to enhance the look of her 1940's vintage trios, The Beverly Belles . The microphone didn't need to function, only used as a prop and conversation piece. Upon searching the intra-web, we found these original mics to be quite expensive. I have built many of my own props over the years as I am a nationally-touring Prop Comic, check me out if you wish, The Heath Show. I searched all the DIY sites to get ideas. While many looked fine, we didn't see anything that looked "real" and NOT "Halloweeny". So, I undertook this challenge with the promise to make one inexpensive and stylish. Hope you enjoy!
Step 1: Find Your Junk!!
I always peruse local thrift shops for ideas and props. If you use your imagination, you'll see a ton of stuff that can be up-cycled into something cool! My first issue was the actual mic stand. I knew most stands, even cheap ones, are at least $25.00 retail... not happening. The solution? An old lamp stand! These are ALWAYS hanging around the back of Goodwill and thrift stores. I grabbed a chrome one that unscrewed in three places. It was fairly easy to pull out the wiring. I left the heavy base in for stability.
Next, find the microphone pieces. We decided on building a shock-mount version. Small springs hold the actual mic in the center of a ring. Please click each item in the photo. Basically, here's what I found/bought:
Paint Respirator $1.00- from the dollar store. I've seen these all over the place. I use the actual filter as the mic itself. You could probably find the filters individual at paint stores. You can even ask around for a used one... you're going to paint it anyway!
Small screws- $1.99 each bag
Small screw-in eye hooks- $1.99 a bag (4 needed - not pictured)
Old lamp - $6.99 Goodwill/thrift store
Drain stopper kit- $1.00 from the dollar store
Small springs- $1.99 each bag
Old, cheap plastic microphone. FREE! I had this one in a pile of junk in the garage. It is not necessary to have a microphone. You can use PVC pipe, vacuum tube, paint roller handle, bicycle grip...etc. It's just a cylinder piece to hold the ring in place. Just use your noggin!
various bolts, screws, washers and lamp parts. Dig in that kitchen junk drawer!
Plastic craft screen- $1.99 local craft store
Chrome spray paint- $3.99
Small speaker wire clamps- $2.99
NOT NECESSARY- Plastic letters- $2.99 local craft store (I just thought it looked cool!)
Pull apart the filter.
I took all the actual filter out.
I added the drain piece, plastic craft screen (just to hide that it was hollow) and I screwed them together with a bolt I found in my tool box. Glue will work as well.
I used the speaker wire clamps to connect the springs to the outer ring. I tried many other things. This worked well. I'd love to hear any other ideas you might have!
Spray paint the craft hoop and filter with the chrome spray paint.
DARN! I could've used a WORKING respirator at this point! Ha!
Screw in the eye-hooks in the formation shown. Double and triple measure as not to be uneven.
I had a small piece of metal from a yard "for sale" sign. I cut it with my Dremmel to about 8 inches. I drilled in a hole and used the hoop's tightening mechanism to bolt it on. You can use anything for this part. It slides down into the lamp post and isn't visible. It just holds the mic in place.
Evenly space out the speaker wire clamps as shown. They need to be in direct line with the eye-hooks. I had to trim a tiny lip off the clamps with the Dremmel so they sat flush on the hoop.
I added the other part of the purple hoop and it seemed to give it more stability. I had to cut it to make it fit because the diameter was now a few centimeters larger (since I bolted it to the metal part). I used plastic hoops, If I do it again, I would try wood or metal for the strength.
You should have something that is starting to resemble a microphone at this point. I added the old plastic mic, the craft letters and a small bit of coaxial cable as embellishments. I even printed out a small RCA logo and glued it on the front. It's all about the details!!
Here are pics of the two microphones I built for around $20.00!
Once it's all together, you're ready to sing!! Doo-bee-doo-bee-DOOOOOO...!