How to Make a DIY Prop Handgun out of Styrofoam (& then Cast It in Solid Aluminum)

Making props is many times a necessity on an indie production, and if you're in the mood for a big DIY project, this one will allow you to make pretty much any small-scale prop you'll ever need.

These tutorials come from The King of Random himself, Grant Thompson. He shows you how make a prop handgun of out styrofoam, a "styro-slicer" to make the cuts easier and cleaner, and a mini-foundry to turn the prop gun into solid aluminum — if you want. Let's start with the gun tutorial so you can see just how cool it looks. And once you're ready to get going, you can download the template for the prop gun here on Thompson's website for free.

Now, you can use other tools to cut styrofoam, but again, if you like to DIY, the "styro-slicer" is a pretty fun build, and it will most likely give you better results than scissors or X-Acto knives. So, first the intro and then the tutorial:

If in the end you're really digging your new styrofoam prop gun, but want to cast it in metal for whatever reason (styrofoam is pretty difficult to paint and texture to give it a realistic look), Thompson shows you in this next video how to create a mini-foundry using a couple of buckets and a few inexpensive ingredients you can find at any hardware store.

This video walks you through the steps of casting your styrofoam prop gun into solid aluminum using the mini-foundry.

Are you completely DIYed out yet? 

Now, remember everybody — even though they're not real and can't harm anyone, prop guns are not toys. So, be sure to take proper precautions before you start waving these things around in public during a shoot. Let the authorities know and be sure you have permission.     

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Your Comment


I appreciate that he is taking his time to do this, but I want to be the one to pint out that prop guns are extremely cheap. I meant, cheap cheap. Still, you can make a bunch of different thing with the method is using. So is a win for all I guess.

March 20, 2016 at 12:41PM, Edited March 20, 12:41PM

Edgar More

I guess this is cool, but considering the fact that you can get airsoft guns with moving slides, triggers, and hammers for as low as about $20, this is an unbelievably pointless undertaking. Even gas-blowback, all-metal airsoft pistols that are realistic enough for all but the closest of close-ups (and I'm a total gun nut, so I don't say that lightly) can be had for as little as about $100.

March 20, 2016 at 2:05PM, Edited March 20, 2:05PM

David West

I was thinking of airsoft and nerf as well. There are a lot of tutorials for customizing and painting toy guns relatively easy. If you really really really want to build one, just carve out wood pieces using the same idea and paint it. Omit the aluminum casting. I've recently analyzed my own prop making to see if I am spending more time and effort than necessary building something. I have a bin of pieces that were never used but represent a lot of time wasted.

April 10, 2016 at 10:58PM, Edited April 10, 11:03PM

Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker

Yep, agree with you guys, this is cool ... but seriously who would really do this ... i wish i had this kind of time and money to "waste" ... my friends kids all have air soft guns and seriously they look identical to the real thing (except the orange ring on the end of the barrel)

March 20, 2016 at 8:33PM


I'd like to point out to all of you who say that this is useless, that the video's weren't originally intended for film. They where meant just as a means of being able to make something cool.

March 22, 2016 at 6:22PM, Edited March 22, 6:22PM