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How to make a tumbleweed prop

Tumbleweed props are used in school plays and small theatre productions. Making the prop is a simple process that was learnt by many students in their primary years of school. The process involves the use of packaging string, white glue and a large balloon. The finished product is spray-painted brown or tan to resemble a real tumbleweed. The prop is then placed strategically around the stage or rolled from a side curtain onto the stage as a representation of prairie wind.

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  1. Blow up a large round or teardrop-shaped balloon. The larger the better.

  2. Tie the end of the balloon with a knot. Clip the knot to the bottom of a clothes hanger with a spring-type clothespin.

  3. Hang the clothes hanger in a location that allows access to all sides of the balloon. For example, a beam in the garage, a nail from a beam in the garage, an exposed pipe in the basement or a door frame.

  4. Spread a layer of newspaper under the balloon approximately 4 feet square.

  5. Squeeze a 1/8- to 1/4-inch layer of white glue on a paper plate. Place the paper plate on the newspaper directly beneath the balloon.

  6. Cut a length of packaging string 6 to 8 feet long. Place the length of the string in the glue on the paper plate. Cover the entire string with glue.

  7. Place the string over the surface of the balloon in a haphazard fashion. For example, loop the string back and forth over the surface from side to side and top to bottom. Zigzag the string over the top of the balloon. There is no set pattern to follow when placing the string on the balloon.

  8. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 until the balloon is covered with the desired amount of tumbleweed branches. Leave spaces between the string to show the tumbleweed prop is hollow. Add more glue on the paper plate and cut more string as needed.

  9. Allow the string to dry for 24 hours. Remove the balloon from the clothes hanger. Pop the balloon. Remove the popped balloon from the inside of the tumbleweed prop.

  10. Cut portions of the glued string from the tumbleweed prop to give the tumbleweed character.

  11. Clip the string tumbleweed prop to the clothes hanger with the clothespin. Shake the brown or tan spray paint for 60 seconds. Remove the lid. Hold the can approximately 12 inches from the tumbleweed prop's surface. Spray a thin layer of paint over the entire tumbleweed. Allow the spray paint to dry 10 minutes.

  12. Remove the clothespin and reattach the tumbleweed prop in a new location. Apply a coat of spray paint. Allow the spray paint to dry 10 minutes. Repeat the process one more time. The tumbleweed prop is ready for use.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large balloon
  • Clothes hanger
  • Spring-type clothespin
  • Newspaper
  • Packaging string
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Paper plate
  • Needle
  • Brown or tan spray paint

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

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