Stage properties
Musical Theatre, Uncategorized

Stage Properties: Creating Lefse, the Untold Story

Call me crazy. You won’t be the first person.

I say I’m creative and like a good challenge.

A few weeks ago, I posted about a play I auditioned for and my experiences. If you recall, I mentioned I’d be making food props for the show.  Such fun!

Read here: https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/23/i-had-a-premonition-about-the-musical-auditions/

Today, I’m going to share the steps involved in making the lefse for Church Basement Ladies.


The top photo is of real lefse.

The second photo is my attempt at making prop lefse.

We go by the 12 foot rule in theater.  If it looks real from `12 feet, we are good to go.

We considered using soft shell tortillas but knew they would flake and break over the course of rehearsals and the shows.  Can’t have that.

This took me about 4 hours.  I made 48.  We needed two huge mounds of them ad called for by the script.

You will need:

Elmer’s glue–we had a gallon bottle.  I probably used about 3 cups in total.

water

craft paint–in yellow, white and brown

several yards of unbleached muslin (mostly cotton so the paint will adhere to the material) or an old sheet

Cookie sheet racks

paint brushes

containers for the paints

Directions:

  1. Make a pattern of a circle. I used a paper grocery sac to make the pattern.  They should be 10 inches in diameter.
  2. Fold your material to make four layers.  That way, you spend less time cutting them out.
  3. Layout the pattern on the material and draw around them.
  4. Cut out the material.
  5. In a large bowl, mix one part Elmer’s glue to about one part water.  Mix it up.  It should run off your hands looking like milk.  That’s the right consistency.  (I suppose you could make it thicker if you really want them stiff, but I thought they’d look a bit more believable if they weren’t perfect.)
  6. Dip each circle piece in the glue/water mixture, wring it out and lay flat.
  7.  Take some old plastic bags, cut them in long strips and roll each one. One bag will make four strips.
  8. Roll the circle material “lefse” around the plastic bag roll just as if you were rolling a tortilla.
  9. Set out to dry.  (I used my cookie sheet racks to dry them.)
  10. They dry in about 24 hours, depending upon how humid it is.
  11. Take the yellow and brown craft paint and mix them together with water. I used about a l/2 tablespoon of each. You’ll need more water than paint.  You are going for a very light yellow color.
  12. With your paint brush, brush each lefse on all sides and even the ends.
  13. Take your smallest brush and dip itstraight  in the brown craft paint.  Gently and creatively, dab indiscriminately on the lefse.  These are burn marks. Do a few marks on the inside of the roll randomly.  Not each lefse.
  14. Take some white and a bit of brown paint mixed with lots of water and hi-light each lefse.  Again, you are giving them depth and texture.
  15. Allow to dry another 6 hours.
  16. Note:  Don’t panic when you see the lefse start to deflate a bit from getting wet again with the paint.  You could always leave the plastic bag roll strip in the lefse until you are finished painting them and they have dried.  I didn’t because I didn’t think of it (duh) until now while blogging.  I suppose that would have been a good idea.
  17. I considered hot glue-ing them together so they wouldn’t fall off the foil pan, but I didn’t know if they were handled by the cast.  I leave that up to the props mistress.

So, there you have it!

If you enjoy art and crafting, you’d groove on stage properties.  Contact your local community theater and see if you can volunteer to help make props.  You’d be surprised by the things that are needed for a play or musical.  It’s really fun.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

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