How to Make a Passport Prop

Written by roland hulme
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How to Make a Passport Prop
Making a passport prop is fairly straightforward. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A passport makes a great plot device especially in theatre. There are whole plays centred around people sneaking across borders with forged documents, or trapped in foreign lands because unscrupulous authorities confiscated their passports. But because passports are one of the most valuable pieces of personal identification, there aren't that many people willing to donate even an old, expired passport to a dramatic production. This leaves most theatre productions having to create their own passport prop. Fortunately it's fairly straightforward to make a facsimile of a passport of good enough quality to pass muster in a theatre or film production.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Scanner
  • Word processing software
  • Photo editing software
  • Printer
  • Card stock
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Real passport

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Identify what sort of passport prop you need to create, such as a contemporary passport issued by the United States or possibly one from another country. Passports come in many different formats so you will need to find out what the one you are making looks like.

  2. 2

    Research the passport you are trying to create online. Look for pictures and information about them. If you have access to a real passport, use that as a guide to what your passport prop should look like. You should find a picture of the passport cover online and save it or scan the cover of a real passport if you have access to one. You should also scan some of the more generic interior pages; including the blank ones on which border authorities place their stamps. You can find scans or photos of many of these pages and stamps online.

  3. 3

    Make a cover for your passport. You can do this by printing a scanned or saved picture of the passport cover onto card stock, or by using coloured card stock of the same shade as the type of passport you're trying to create a prop of. You can also make one using photo editing software. Make sure you print your covers to the same size as the real passport. You should print both the front and back covers on the same piece of card and then fold the two sides over to make a booklet.

  4. 4

    Print out the interior pages of your passport. Use a scanned or saved copy of the interior pages of a passport and print them out onto standard white paper. You should have two pages per side of paper (left and right) and plan to fold them over to create a booklet when done. Print the same design on both sides of the paper, so every page in your passport booklet features the design.

  5. 5

    Create the inside of your passport corresponding to the size of the passport you are making a prop of. A standard U.S. passport, for example, has 32 pages. To create a similar sized prop, take 16 sheets of the printed paper you made earlier and fold them in two along the line between the left page and the right.

  6. 6

    Make additional pages containing the biographical information/identification page and any other specific pages such as a declaration of passage. You can customise the identification page with the name and photo of the character whose passport it is with photo editing software. Print these out and add them to your booklet of interior pages in the correct order.

  7. 7

    Put the folded booklet of interior pages inside your folded cover. Lay the assembled passport flat, with the cover topmost, and staple it along the spine. You should then end up with about 17 sheets of paper folded into a booklet, stapled securely.

  8. 8

    Trim the passport prop to size with scissors, until it is the same size as a real passport.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are scanning pages from a real passport use an photo editor to change or blur any personal information the passport's owner might not like shared.

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