Lyle the Crocodile, adapted by Kevin Kling
Imagination Stage, 2013

Expanding foam was sprayed on wax paper and sprinkled pony beads mid-cure. They were shaped with a sureform and painted with acrylics.


La Boheme, by Giacomo Puccini
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene Design by: Kevin Depinet

A quick afternoon project: there were already several batting-stuffed muslin sausage links already in stock. I coated them in tissue paper to create a crackle-y skin. They were then painted and coated with FEV.



Wilde Tales, by Ben Moore & Kelley Rourke
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene Design by: Ryan McGettigan

These sausages were made from sections of a thick cardboard tube. One end was stuffed with blue foam, and the other a wad of newspaper. The whole thing was covered in masking tape, applied unevenly to create the wrinkly skin.  The foam was coated with epoxy for rigidity, and after being painted with acrylics it was finished with FEV.



Burgers & Fries

Advanced Hand Props
Ohio University, 2015

The Buns – Expanding foam was blown into plastic containers, and after cure carved into their basic shape. After 2 light coats of latex, they were painted with acrylics. Sculpt or Coat was used as sealer, and crushed seed beads were sprinkled on top as it dried for poppy seeds.

The Patties – Expanding foam was also used for the patties, but many thick layers of latex were applied to create the proper surface area. The patties were sealed with semi-gloss polyurethane to give them an extra shiny, greasy looking appearance.

The Fries – Rigid insulation foam were cut into strips and coated with Sculpt or Coat to give a painting surface. Each fry was kneaded to take down the square edges. They were sealed with a spray poly after a 4-step paint treatment.

The Cheese – A very thick mixture of Sculpt or Coat and acrylic paint was spread onto wax paper and allowed to dry. Before it was fully cured it was gently laid on the patty.

The Veggies – Tomatoes: 2 layers of 1/8” microcell foam, painted, and sealed with Sculpt or Coat. Lettuce: strips of polystyrene plastic heated and crinkled. Spray painted, and sealed with polyurethane. Onions: 1/8” microcell foam.

Oversized Scissors

Sweeney Todd, by Stephen Sondheim
Scenic Design: Andrew Holland
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016

Photo: Karli Cadel
Photo: Karli Cadel

For this production of Sweeney Todd, Signor Pirelli was a Liberace-inspired showman who required a 5’0” pair of flashy scissors. To keep the scissors lightweight in proportion to their size, a 1/2” plywood  core was sandwiched between 2 layers of 1/2” rigid insulation foam.

The foam was first routed with a 1/4” round over bit before a final shaping and sanding. The foam was coated with white glue to create a barrier before applying the fiberglass resin.

Several layers of chopped fiberglass and resin created strength and Bondo was used to fill any cavities in between sandings to create a smooth and uniform surface.  Metallic spray paint and a high gloss spray sealer were used as the final surface treatment.

Fountain Statue

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Ohio University, 2015

Triton Blowing a Conch Shell by Adriaen de Vries (c. 1615)
Designer Research Image

*This was a collaborative and interdepartmental project. I guided a fellow student through the base carve process and then finished the rest of the sculpt. Other artisans created the four fish and the pedestal, and the Scene Shop handled the build of the fountain base and the plumbing.*

fountain-statue-daniel_raderThis production was set in post-WWII Italy. The piazza was restored from wartime destruction to revitalized beauty in several phases. This included a destroyed fountain that was repaired in two segments: pedestal and statue. Additionally, there was a running gag where each time the maintenance man worked on the fountain, he was sprayed in the face with water.

In order to achieve the water effects, two sump pumps were hidden under the stage with hoses that lived in the fountain base. One hose was used to connect to the hard plumbing within the pedestal, which split to run to three fish. The second hose connected to its mate embedded in the body of the statue which was fed through the pedestal. By the end of the play, both the fish and statue worked.

The statue was made of several layers of rigid foam with a hose running through the center of it. Expanding foam, microcell foam, and masking tape were also used to create the body shapes and details. The statue sat on a plywood base to stabilize it. A new foot and a leg were carved separately and attached with a steel rod. The whole form was paper mached before it was coated in epoxy resin and painted by the Scenic crew.

Roast Beef

La Boheme, by Giacomo Puccini
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene Design by: Kevin Depinet


A quick afternoon project: a block of rigid insulation foam, shaped and coated with Flex Glue and sawdust. Once dry, it was painted and twine tied into the divots. It was finished off with a rich FEV to pop the depth of color, tone down the twine, and seal the paint. It was wrapped in brown paper for the stage and lived in a basket of other foods.

Egyptian Sphinx Sculpture

Advanced Hand Props, with Tom Fiocchi
Ohio University, 2016

Research Image
Research Image


For this class project I challenged myself to be able to not only replicate a particular object, but to be able to duplicate my own work. This meant choosing an object that was essentially a mirror image of itself. The Sphinx’s body was essentially symmetrical except for the placement of the tail. It was also my  intention to challenge myself with carving the human form again. It’s smaller scale (18” L x 10” W x 14” H) added another layer of difficulty for me since all other carving previous to this project were at a life size scale.

I started with 4 layers of rigid insulation foam and carved down from there. I started with a hot knife to take away large chunks of material, and the rest was done with snap knives. I continued to carve the body until I realized I needed more information about the wings. I chose to carve the wings in poplar so they would be more durable. Each wing had a visible front and back side. I used a dremel with a sanding drum to lay in the feathers.

When it came time to insert the wings, I dug two slots into the foam and adhered them with expanding foam. Shrink wrap kept the wings in place until it cured. I also used the expanding foam to add material back where I had carved too much away. Masking tape took care of any additional imperfections. Upholstery tacks created the eyeballs, a bundle of twine was used for the tail, and microcell foam pierced with wires established the flourish in front. The statue was attached to the wooden base with contact adhesive and a thin bead of caulk for security. Sculpt or Coat unified all the surfaces before being painted.

Stylized Birdbath

The Thieving Magpie, by Gioachino Rossini
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene & Costume Design by: Myung Hee Cho


 The basin for this birdbath was a fairly large 3’0″ x almost 2’0″ oval with  a depth of around 4.” Luckily, we did not need to carve out the entire depth because a lauan insert wrapped in painted mylar would be placed close to the rim to reflect the light.

The stylized stand for the birdbath was already constructed by the scenic carpenters, so I traced the curves of where the basin was to sit as a starting point. I created an axis of the curves with 1/2″ plywood and adhered rigid foam to each of the quadrants. Using the ply curves as guides, I cut, surformed, and sanded my way to a smooth basin that fit within perfectly within the stand.

The depth of the basin was created by plotting the oval on a piece of 1/2″ ply and stapling 2 layers of bendy ply around the perimeter. The oval was attached by gluing and stapling the crossbar to the top of the ply curve. The surface was unified by paper mâchéing the foam and bendy ply and sent to Paints for finishing.

Pizza Slice

Lyle the Crocodile, adapted by Kevin Kling
Imagination Stage, 2013


For this pizza, Great Stuff expanding foam was blown onto wax paper. The shape was then sureformed into a smoother shape. The desired corner was cut into a slice. The crust was painted front and back. Bubble wrap was used to emulate the cheese bubbles. Sculpt or Coat tinted yellow was poured over the bubble wrap. After it dried layers of orange and red paint was sponged on top.