Friday, April 26, 2019

Slammin' Ham! - FFFriday Guest Post from Victoria Ross

After a brief and accidental hiatus, guest Fake Food Friday's are back, and it's back with a bang or rather, a slam!  This excellent ham is courtesy of Victoria Ross at Triad Stage and was mentioned on Silk Flowers and Papier Mache Hearts in Episode 37 - Skin of A Dragon. This post is also a return to casting and molding, which we haven't had in ages.  

Raw, Bloody Ham - Two Trains Running at Triad Stage 2019
What a glamour shot... or should I say hamour shot?

Materials: Smooth-On DragonSkinVaseline, mineral spirits, Smooth-On Silc Pig, Smooth-On Psycho Paint, leftover silicone (for filler)
Tools: ham mold, mixing containers, stir sticks, Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Note: Though DragonSkin is Certified Skin Safe, always read the Technical Bulletin for any casting and molding materials before you use them, and follow common sense safety procedures.

Step One: Procuring a Ham Mold

The mold was created for a previous production molded off of a real ham, and it was originally intended for expanding foam. Since I would be casting in silicone, I needed mold release. I made my own release from vaseline and mineral spirits, which worked like a charm! To limit the volume of Smooth-On Dragon Skin needed, I filled the core of the ham with a silicone 'pit' -- a pink chunk left over from past materials (we save everything for this exact reason). I secured the two-part mold with ratchet straps, cradled it in upholstery foam scraps within a box, mixed my parts and began to pour.

Step Two: Washing a Ham

Our ham was cast from Dragon Skin tinted with Smooth-On Silc Pig pigments. I made the rubber a fleshy hue with subtle white and red streaks to provide a 'base coat' of color.
I washed the mold release off the ham to prepare it for painting.

Step Three: Painting a Ham

Painting with tinted rubber is a blast! I used Smooth-On (are they a sponsor yet?) two-part Psycho Paint with the Silc Pig pigments to create my pallet of pinky flesh, reddish brown blood, and white fat marble. I based my highlights and shadows from a research image, and I used popsicle sticks and my fingers to paint the rubber paint onto the ham.

Step Four: Slamming a Ham

Once the ham was dry and all silicone paint had bonded to itself, I gave the ham a thorough bath and handed it off to stage management. The ham interacts with stage blood on the actors hands, so having it be washable was a must. It also is slammed on the counter, and the weight and slap of rubber makes the effect truly deliver. The lighting designer even gave the ham its own spot light - a most appropriate lighting for a ham, after all.

What a gorgeous ham and epic lighting!  Thank you Victoria for sharing.  You can check out more of Victoria's projects at

And no ham post is complete without one of my favorite gifs of all time: 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Balloon Birthday Cake - FFFriday

Not sure if it's a weird theater thing, but I have a LOT of friends that are Aries/Taurus/have Spring birthdays (myself included), so in honor of them, this FFFriday is a birthday cake!

Materials: Pink Insulation Foam, PermaIce, acrylic paint
Tools: Bandsaw, sandpaper, icing spatula, piping tips, plastic zip top bags/ piping bags

For a production of The Herd at Steppenwolf I was tasked with what is a pretty 'simple' food prop, it didn't need to do anything fancy, it just came out on a tray and no one touched it.  I was given 3 instructions: It's chocolate, it needs balloons and it needs to say "Happy 21st Andrew" on it.  

Unfortunately I didn't get any pre-frosting pictures, but I stacked two circles of insulation foam on top of each other and used FastBond Contact Adhesive to stick them together.  

We didn't have our cake board  (a cardboard or foil covered board that the cake sits on) yet, so I placed the cake onto a piece of wax paper to ice and pipe it, because the PermaIce doesn't stick to it.  
A note about PermaIce: It's awesome and no longer available... however it looks like Deco-Frost is a similar product.  However, spackle or acrylic caulk are much more cost efficient materials to use as icing as seen in Cakes ala David and One Last Herring Cake.
I tinted the PermaIce with acrylic paint and smeared it on with a spatula.  I piped the edges using a star tip and had a TERRIBLE time because my PermaIce was... chunky (and old and a bit dried out) and kept getting stuck.  
For the words, I used straight PermaIce and piped it onto the wax paper, so if I messed up, I could scrape the icing back into the bag (also a good way to practice!).  I let the letters fully dry and then glued them on with white glue.  


Cake balloons are usually solid icing, but I didn't want to attempt to pipe them, in the interest of time and effort.  So I shaped them out of more insulation foam (after laying out how big they should be on this very fancy drawing I made).  

Can you see my piping lines?

I then covered them in more PermaIce, tinted with more acrylic paints.  I did this on wax paper and transferred it to the cake, just like I did with the letters.  Because I had limited piping tips, I ended up using a small tip and 'filling in' the balloons, then smoothing it out before it dried.  I also did a bit of sanding.  Then I glued them down and added some tiny balloon strings.  

And there we have it!  I glued it to the cake board using hot glue and far as I know, it's still fully intact sitting in storage to this day.  Happy Birthday/ Unbirthday everyone!


props (35) fakery (31) faux (25) food (25) fakefoodfriday (24) theater (24) Fake Food Friday (22) cake (10) foam (9) kitchen (9) caulk (7) Albert Herring (6) casting (6) insulation foam (6) opera (6) Design Master (5) Smooth-On (5) booze (5) desserts (5) drink (5) edible (5) jaxsan (5) microfoam (5) molding (5) acrylic (4) carve (4) ham (4) resin (4) acrylic caulk (3) beverage (3) candy (3) cheese (3) cocktail (3) dressing (3) fruit (3) latex (3) model magic (3) period (3) upholstery foam (3) urethane (3) vintage (3) Helena Mestenhauser (2) Ilana Kirschbaum (2) Sarah Heck (2) acrylic paint (2) appetizers (2) brownie (2) casserole (2) chocolate (2) confection (2) decorating (2) dial (2) ephemera (2) fish (2) flower (2) foam sheet (2) gel wax (2) hot pour vinyl (2) leg (2) link (2) mocktail (2) mother mold (2) pies (2) pizza (2) reference (2) research (2) safe (2) salt dough (2) sandwiches (2) tutorial (2) wrappers (2) Canapes (1) David Russell (1) Dowel (1) Dragonskin (1) Ellie Bye (1) FX (1) Flex Foam-It (1) Fritos (1) Introduction (1) JT Ringer (1) Jess Smith (1) Keli Sequoia (1) Materials Monday (1) Oona Tibbetts (1) Poultry (1) Sara Pool (1) Serena Yau (1) Skylight (1) Smoothcast 325 (1) Turkey (1) Victoria Ross (1) Wonderflex (1) Worbla (1) alcohol (1) alginate (1) apoxie (1) aspic (1) banana (1) bead foam (1) bread (1) bundt (1) cabbage (1) carnation (1) cellophane (1) champagne (1) cheesecake (1) cherries (1) chilaquiles (1) citrus (1) clear (1) coat (1) coke (1) cola (1) contact adhesive (1) cork (1) cotton batting (1) cream (1) drinks (1) dumplings (1) fake steam (1) faux mex (1) flexcoat (1) fondant (1) fruit salad (1) glass (1) great stuff (1) gum paste (1) hands (1) herring (1) hors D'ouevres (1) icing (1) intern (1) joke (1) katie webster (1) kolache (1) labels (1) lettuce (1) life casting (1) liquid (1) martinis (1) marzipan (1) meat pie (1) menu (1) mini fogger (1) mini mister (1) nougat (1) olive (1) olives (1) oranges (1) pan dulce (1) paraffin (1) pastries (1) pastry (1) peas (1) petit fours (1) pickled herring (1) pie (1) pie crust (1) pineapple (1) prosciutto (1) punch (1) restaurant (1) samosas (1) sculpey (1) shrimp (1) small pastries (1) snacks (1) soda (1) sorbet (1) spilled (1) stage effects (1) sugarplums (1) sweetmeats (1) sweets (1) taco (1) tomato (1) tuna (1) tv dinner (1) vacuform plastic (1) violets (1) wax (1) welcome (1)