Props: Beauty and the Beast mirror


 Since costuming A Christmas Carol (and building and working The Ghost of Christmas Future, which I’ll have to post pictures of at some point), we’ve now started the Junior production: Beauty and the Beast, the Disney musical. It’s adorable really. Plus, as we’ve hired most of the costumes from a local youth theatre group who did it a few years ago, it’s almost stress-free.

A few pieces aren’t supplied with the costume hire or the staging hire, so I’ve put together a few things with the help of my Backstage Club. The Magic Mirror is one of them.   

From these reference photos, the mirror has certain features that need to be replicated: the applied detail at top and sides, the ‘beast’ face at the join between mirror and handle, some crossover vine details around the handle, and the fleur-de-lys on the back.

I started by cutting two mirror shapes from corrugated card. The top one I cut out the recess that the mirror would sit in. As this is a kids stage show, I just used a layer of tinfoil between the layers to create the mirror. I used PVA glue in a decent layer to glue the layers together. 

 Next, using the reference pictures to design them, I cut out the shapes for the sides, top and handle. These were then also stuck on with PVA, front and back, and left to dry. 
Then comes the papier-mâché. I’ve discovered that the hair tinting accessory kits you get from the Pound Shop are ideal for holding the PVA-water mix (about two parts water to one of PVA) and brushing it on. Nice. Paint the mix onto the card, then apply your paper. Note: I needed a smooth finished surface for this project, which is why I should have used newspaper. However, I only had kitchen roll. Star Wars kitchen roll. It’s a bit rough, but covering the whole dried project in another layer of neat PVA generally fixes this. 

In any case, I applied a few layers of paper to the card, brushing the layers flat but making sure there was a lot of overlap of the paper to keep it strong. When sticking over the raised details, I made sure to stipple the brush closely around the raised areas and into crevices to make sure the paper didn’t hide the shape. 

I forgot to take pictures while I was papier-mache-ing, so here’s the glue mix instead.

Finally, after leaving to dry by the radiator overnight and then applying a coat of neat PVA to smooth the surface and prime for painting, I wanted to add some additional detail: the vines and facial features on the Beast ‘face’. For this I used Silicone Glue, applying it in a line through a nozzle where needed and leaving to dry. It dries to a hard-jelly-like substance that can then be painted. I also used it to add detail to an Elizabethan helmet I’m making for our next play, Much Ado About Nothing.

Now I’m just waiting for it to dry…