Goblin finds a sword

So, the scene says goblin finds a sword. We have chosen our camera angles and completed our storyboards. So, let’s head on over to the prop department.

As a prop builder we are given the task to produce a sword for the goblin to find. All we know is that is some detail on it that shows that belongs to the old king.

So, we need to produce a sword. Let’s take a look at several ways to do this.

*look online, and purchase a ready-made sword. There are some great places out there that make swords from battle ready ones, to theater production models. They will run you $100-$300 most likely. But I realize that this is way out of your budget.

So, next in line is start up the blacksmith forge and make one yourself like I do. This is an orc blade I crafted.

blacksmith forged sword

blacksmith forged sword

It is heavy, real metal so it clangs realistically, and rusts realistically. Everything about it is real. Looks great, feels great, cuts through stuff, great. But almost no one has access to a forge. Of course, if you ever need me to forge you a blade, just let me know. Something like that above will run you about $100.

So, next down the line is a sword fashioned from aluminum stock. You go to the store, buy some aluminum, cut and shape it with power tools or with hand tools. I made this hero sword out of aluminum.

aluminum sword

aluminum sword

It looks super great on film, makes a nice metal sound when you hit something, but is lighter in weight than a steel sword and the actor has to fake it a little bit. This will run you about $40-$50 with the metal, glue, sandpaper, etc. I really recommend this route if you have access to some tools and aren’t afraid of a little work. Here is an aluminum dagger I also made. They can look really realistic with the right paint treatment. I will cover that in a later post.

aluminum dagger

aluminum dagger

Next on the list is a wooden sword. Just take some wood, cut it to shape, then paint it to look like metal.

wooden sword

wooden sword

And now this is what it looked like with the right paint.

wooden sword painted

wooden sword painted

Looks very realistic, has some weight to it, and you can still hit some stuff without too much damage to it. This is super cheap, but still requires some tools. Power tools are great, but this actually could be done with hand tools.

So, all of the above options involve you using some tools. I have access to tons of tools so none of this is an issue. But what if you only have an apartment, and no workshop? Well, there are still a few options left.

One is foam. I have never done any foam work. But this link looks great.


Foam is easy to work with, just needs a razor knife, maybe a heat gun, and some glue.

One other way is cardboard.

You know what….tonight I will make a sword out of cardboard for you as a special treat and show you the pictures in tomorrow’s post.

The foam and cardboard sword options would be ok for a prop that didn’t get a lot of close up attention. This is one of those areas where you decide how much money and effort you want to put into this specific prop. Figure out exactly what your prop has to do or how it will be seen on film. Then figure out the best/most inexpensive way to fabricate something that will serve that purpose.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

2 responses to “Goblin finds a sword

  1. Hello John,

    Your last bit about not giving props to much time on camera or close ups are so true. I went to the Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle and had a chance to see many of the props used over the last 50 or so years. The one thing that stuck out, was the Alien Queen from the ‘Aliens movie’. It was filmed very well, but up close it looked like fiber glass and metal.


  2. thank you bryan for reading and commenting.


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