Friday, May 17, 2019

Fillable Pie Crust - #FFFriday!

Another quick #FakeFoodFriday this week!  Sadly I didn't take many progress shots of this because I didn't think about it... (always take process shots, friends!)  So this week we have pie!

Materials: Pie plate (ceramic), insulation foam, Apoxie, Glossy Wood Tone Design Master, Shellac
Tools: Parchment paper, rolling pin, carving tools, Olfa knife

For Straight White Men at Steppenwolf, staging called for the guys to be eating a pie straight out of the tin.  Because we didn't want to buy a pie for every performance, we searched for some easier alternatives, especially ones that didn't require baking.

We settled on a crumble top apple pie; a can of apple pie filling and some crumble topping.  Because they wouldn't have time to eat all the pie, we decided to make a false bottom as to not waste too much food.  
I started with a pie pan from stock, and put a 1" layer of insulation foam on the bottom, which I hot glued down.  I then mixed up a bunch of Aves Apoxie Sculpt, which is one of my favorite prop making materials.  It's a two part clay that is also adhesive.  It stays workable for several hours and hardens without baking.  It paints easily, is carvable, sandable and all around great.  
So with my mass of Apoxie, I rolled it out on some parchment paper, which, honestly was pretty awkward, butI wanted to make sure it didn't stick to my table.  Once it was big enough, I draped my pie plate and pressed in my crust. 
(Not going to lie, I definitely channeled all my crust knowledge from The Great British Baking Show into filling my pie plate.)

The designer requested a decorative crust, so I mixed up some more Apoxie, rolled it out and trimmed some thin strips for a plait. It was very difficult to braid long strips, so I did it in small chunks.  I added some more Apoxie leaves to hide where I matched up the braid sections.  For the leaves, I cut out the leaf shape and let it dry a bit and added some veins.  When it was almost dry, I turned the edges up a little bit to give it a little interest.  

When the Apoxie was fully dry, I painted my crust with a generic crust color and then dusted it with our old standby, Glossy Wood Tone.  Because it was being filled with food, I then sealed it with shellac.  Our shellac was a bit old, so it was gloppy and ended up darker than I expected.  

So shiny...

The shine is more than a regular crust would be, but from stage it wasn't too noticeable.  If only my real bakes turned out this nice!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Lettuce! - A Quick #FFFriday from Katie Webster!

This week's Fake Food Friday is quick one, mostly because I just started my summer job in Santa Fe and the lack of air here has made me le tired.  Anna made some lettuce for The Dagwood of Your Dreams, which was awesome and cartoony.  Katie Webster at the Denver Center has a slightly different technique for a different look!

Another fun faux food project with the thin packing foam sheet! My fellow prop artisan Roo Huigen had made adorable seedling sprouts with the translucent packing foam. I thought I could translate her idea into lettuce form when we had to make crates of abundant food for Oklahoma! In this case, I cut loose leaf shapes from a shiny, sheer, synthetic fabric that we had in our fabric stock. 
That was key to the success of this project and saved a lot of time. If you were trying to recreate this exact process, it will depend on the fabric you have access to, and you will have to experiment to achieve the look you want. Look for sheer, somewhat stiff synthetic fabric. Luckily we had green, but a pale yellow or white could work.
 Then I used hot glue to create leaf veins on the fabric leaf. While it was cooling I sandwiched on a layer of the thin packing foam. 

I trimmed the edges of all the leaves, then in a well ventilated area I used a heat gun to melt the fabric and foam. The foam and fabric melt at different times, creating organic ripples and soft curled edges and emphasizing the hot glue 'veins'.

I toned the leaves with various Design Master sprays to maintain the translucent look of the leaves. 

Thanks, Katie!  I'd love to see how this technique looks with different fabric colors, it could make for some very interesting greens.  

Katie is a part of INCITE Colorado and you can learn about them here!  She also contributed a post about some excellent looking conchas and chilaquiles.  

Friday, May 3, 2019

Leftover Pizza - #FakeFoodFriday

Friday is pizza day, the best day of the week!
This leftover pizza was made for Max Bialystock's office in The Producers.  I got to work with my new favorite material, gel wax!  I hope y'all are ready for a lot of pictures, because I went overboard on this project...

Materials: Cake boards, shelf liner, Foamies sheet foam, Jaxsan, thin thermoplastic, Gel Wax, sawdust, Glossy Wood Tone, acrylic paint, machine or mineral oil
Tools: Olfa knife, hot plate & pan, spoon, heat gun, cheese grater (if you have a non-food one)

I started with some wedges of shelf liner laminated to some sheet foam (foamies, fun foam, etc depending on where you buy them), and then coated with Jaxsan, building up a slight crust edge on one side.  

I then painted with acrylic and dusted with glossy wood tone.  I also made pepperonis out of some thin thermoplastic that I found in stock.  

For my sauce, I melted some gel wax and added wax dye for color. I did a lot of sampling on white to see what it would look like when it was dry. I ended up adding some regular white candle wax to firm it up and add some opaqueness.

I also ended up adding some sawdust in hopes to add some tomato-y texture. In the end I should have used more, as it didn't build up as much as I hoped that it would.

I spooned my gel wax onto my pizza slices and let it set.  As you can see, my sawdust didn't add as much body as I thought it would once it was on the slices.  

For the cheese I tinted more gel wax and put it in a mini pie tin to cool.  (I've actually been keeping several of the pie tins around because they're great to use with the gel wax.  They're non-stick so everything peels or pops out and it's super handy.) I used a mix of yellow and brown tints and added quite a bit of white regular wax (really they were old emergency candles because that's what I had). There was also a wedge of yellow wax that was in our materials stock that I grabbed in case I wanted to add a little variety into the cheese.  

I couldn't find a grater in stock, so I shaved my cheese with an Olfa knife and added in the pepperoni slices.  

It's super hard to hold a heat gun and take a picture at the same time

Cooking the pizza!  Which basically entailed me passing a heat gun over the slices until my wax melted again.  i tried not to fully melt all the cheese to keep some of the texture, so I did it in stages.

Previously I had artfully added some machine oil (mineral oil or sewing machine oil also works) to my cake boards to make them look greasy.  I don't recommend using any kind of real veg oil because it can smell.  
I just slapped my slices down, sprinkled some leftover sauce and cheese wax and hit it with a heat gun again.  I tried smearing some of the sauce around as well.  I ended up using the wax to hold the slices on, which was moderately successful.  Hot glue probably would have been more effective, but I didn't have a hot gun handy and was in a hurry (of course).  

I let them cool and off they went to rehearsal.  They ended up stuck in funny places as 'gross' set dressing.  

Though thin crust isn't my favorite, I'd still eat it, because any pizza is better than no pizza... unless it's made of foam and wax, I guess... 

At the time this post goes live I'll be on my way to my summer job in Santa Fe, where I will definitely be eating pizza with green chile at some point.  If all goes according to plan, Fake Food Fridays will continue throughout the summer!  As always, I'm still accepting guest tutorials!


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