How to Make Western Props

Written by emile heskey
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How to Make Western Props
A western scene makes for an engaging game of Cowboys and Indians. (Cowboy image by HannaSigel from

If you are hosting a western-themed party or creating the backdrop for a Wild West theatre production, making the right props is important in setting the scene. Assuming that you have sorted out the costumes and painted a backdrop, you can make a range of props which will match the budget and the time you have available. If you are making western props for a child's birthday, then the number of props is important, rather than the quality. In theatre productions, the reverse is usually the case.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Make the scenery props, which you can place in front of the backdrop you have made. This will make the scene seem more three-dimensional. Cut cactus shapes out of thick cardboard or plywood. Paint these green and stand them in a flowerpot full of sand. Make a tepee out of thick cardboard. Cut a rectangle at the bottom, which you can fold round to make a stand. You can make these small so as to represent that they are a distance away. If you are feeling creative, cut buffalo shapes out of carboard and paint them to look like real bison. Again, leave a small rectangle of cardboard underneath the buffalo to act as a stand. Make as many buffalo as you wish -- just a few, or create a whole herd.

  2. 2

    Make a poncho for the western scene by taking a square of fabric that is 3 feet square and cutting a hole out of the middle. Place these over the heads of all involved in the party or production for an authentic look. If you are attempting to make it as real as possible, do not use the same type or pattern of fabric for everyone. Alternatively, use a piece of red or blue fabric as a necktie. Tie the square of fabric loosely around the neck.

  3. 3

    Make guns out of wood or cardboard. Depending on the time or the budget you have, these can be as elaborate as you'd like. Glue scraps of wood together to make a gun shape and leave overnight. Spray paint them black when they are dry, and leave for 24 hours. These will look like guns. To make them out of cardboard, simply cut out a gun shape and paint it black.

  4. 4

    Make an outdoor scene by filling a trough up with water and labelling it "Watering Hole." Paint planks of wood with the names of businesses and attach them to a fence or wall outside your house. This will make it look like the perfect place for a shoot-out. Combine these with your cactus, buffalo and tepee props for an ideal western scene.

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