Introduction: Fire Hydrant Prop for Theatre Street Scene

This Fire Hydrant was used on stage, as an additional setting feature to a downtown New York street scene.

It's meant to be dirty, rusty, flaking paint old unit, that can be moved off and on set really easily. I like to use as much free/recycled stuff as I can in my props, as usually the theatre group I work with have a tiny budget for props.

This Fire Hydrant has been built from recycled items and left over paint/glues.

Step 1: You Will Need

You will need:

  • Cardboard tube (I used a tube I got free from a carpet shop, as it perfectly matched the Coke bottle diameter)
  • 2 x Empty Coke bottles (2 litre size)
  • 3 x Empty Water bottles (500 ml size)
  • 1 x Old plastic food cover
  • 2 x Plastic lids (I used plastic coffee jar lids)
  • Gaffa Tape
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Decorators Caulk
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Gold spray/Black spray paints
  • Bits of old chain or wire for additional metal work detail

Step 2: Make the Base

  • Take the plastic food cover and place it downwards (as if onto a plate) to make the base.
  • Cut the cardboard tube to size for the main body of the Hydrant.
  • I wanted my Hydrant to be fairly life size, so cut to just below knee height. Allow for the additional height with the coke bottle to give the rounded top.
  • Find the centre of the plastic cover and place the cut cardboard tube onto the centre position. Tape it down using Gaffa tape. At this point you can use hot glue aswell to make a strong bond between the cover and the tube.
  • Use one final layer of Gaffa tape to smooth down the bond you have made. It doesn't matter if you have ripples and creases in the Gaffa. It all adds to the weathered look. I tend to snip the gaffa tape strips a little so you can bend it round.

Step 3: Assemble the Pipe Outlets

  • Cut the bottom section off the 2ltr coke bottles.
  • Keep the top & lid from one; for later.
  • Take the two bottle bottoms and shape them to fit each side of the cardboard tube.
  • You'll need to cut out two little half moon slices so that the plastic bottle fits snugly to the cardboard tube.
  • Now you can fit the plastic bottle parts to the cardboard tube with more Gaffa and hot glue.
  • Snip the Gaffa tape, so you can work with it over a rounded edge. Keep adding tape until both sides are firmly stuck. Leave to dry.

Step 4: Add the Rounded Top

  • Take the cutting of 2 Litre bottle top section that you saved; and place it on top of your cardboard tube.
  • The diameter of the bottle and the tube matches, so you can slide the bottle part into the tube to produce the top section of the Hydrant.
  • Tape this section in place firmly.

Next you need to add a few details to the Hydrant.

  • Take the 500ml water bottles and cut off the neck with lids still on. These are going to be smaller valves.
  • Trim the neck sections of these pieces a little to allow them to sit on the curved edge of the Hydrant top you have just made.
  • Stick them down with Gaffa tape. Position them slightly off-set from each other. You can decide where you want them.
  • Use the decorators Caulk to add details like seams, rivets, nuts and bolts. It doesn't matter how messy you get, as these details can be made realistic with painting once dry.
  • Once you have finished adding details. leave it to dry over night.
  • Some tape will peel up as its on the curve, so go back to it the next day and glue down any bits you want or trim away. Or leave. It's up to you!

Step 5: Finish Body With Paint

  • Using the red acrylic paint you have laying around.
  • Use it neat onto the unit. It takes well on the cardboard, but not too well on the plastic parts.
  • You will need to apply two layers of red, leaving one to dry before adding the second.
  • When the red is dry, take the black spray paint and gently apply a dusting of black over seams and bolts/details. The black represents grime and oil.
  • Use the gold to add depth and metallic qualities. Use sparingly to make the Hydrant look like metal.

Step 6: Adding Final Details

This is the bit where you make your plastic pop bottle creation look like a piece of heavy duty street ironwork!

I used the bottle tops, which had been sprayed dark and hot glued them onto the base to look like ground bolts/nuts. I added the coffee lids as face plates, city identity type plates. and placed one on the very top, to look like a valve of some kind. This also hides the pop bottle shape quite well.

I added a piece of chain link that I'd had from another project. I sprayed it up a bit to make it look less new. It is actually plastic chain too! Hot glue gun did the business and secured it in position.