The Ultimate Styling Kit
Everything you need to build your own prop styling kit.
I've gathered all my favorite supplies just for you!
Canvas Utility Tote
This is the best bag I've found to carry all my tools. It's very durable and has plenty of pockets and compartments to keep things organized. It's compact size fits easily into my checked luggage when traveling to and from locations. To keep items from spilling in my luggage during transit, I wrap it in a cotton pillowcase. Surprisingly, it works quite well!
Tape & Putty
When styling, you need an array of sticky things to keep items exactly where you want them to be. Say you want a branch of greenery to lay at a precise angle in a vase, clear floral tape can do just that. Museum wax and sticky putty will keep artwork level and also work great at preventing items propped on shelves from sliding or moving. Velcro tape does wonders with hanging fresh garlands on bannisters, and Gaffers tape will hold rugs down without damaging floors. A small dab of Stick-Um placed in a candle holder will prevent taper candles from tilting or falling.
Heavy duty packing tape is an absolute must. It's used on every shoot for repacking prop returns, but also for odd uses like taping two table runners together to create the appearance of one, or taping pillows in place. Experience has made me very brand loyal and I only use Scotch. Pro Tip: always bring more than you think you'll need.
Clips & Pins
Bulldog clips are perfect for holding back curtains, keeping cords consolidated and hidden behind a piece of furniture, or securing bedding that is loose or ill fitting. A variety of safety pins can come in handy for a quick wardrobe fix, and on occasion, a stapler can be used to seal and secure a variety of things.
Shears & Clippers
Garden clippers and utility shears are an absolute must-have, as they are used on every shoot for clipping branches and arranging a multitude of florals. Box cutters are used to open packages of props that have been shipped directly to the location. And a great pair of scissors are always in demand for cutting a myriad of things while on-set.
Pens & Markers
You never know when you'll need to write a grocery list on a chalkboard for a kitchen shot or a to-do list in an office...white chalk comes in handy. Sharpies are a must for organizing shipping and returns. They're used to write exactly what came in each shipped prop box (so items can be repacked in their original boxes) and to block out the original shipping labels for the return. On rare instances, you may need wood markers to touch up scuff marks on furniture or floors. And paintbrushes are nice for brushing away small crumbs or dust that hinder getting the perfect shot.
Wire & Twine, ETC.
Monofilament, also known as fishing line, is used to pull items into or out of frame from the camera like a chandelier or pendant light in a room or tree branches showing through a window. It's an essential tool for stylists because it's virtually invisible to the camera. Paddle wire is great when you need to add structure or height to flowers in a vase and natural jute twine can be used to tie an arrangement of greenery or branches.
You can never have too many Command hooks. I prefer the clear ones and always have a wide variety of sizes and styles on hand. They work great as impromptu hooks for coats, scarves, or bags in an entryway - or towels in a bath. Hanging strips are perfect for mounting artwork, photos, or posters to walls and won't cause damage. Occasionally, a tape measure and mini level may be needed to ensure things are centered and level.
Shims & Sliders
Steamers & Misc.
A small handheld steamer works wonders on bed linens and drapery panels that always arrive wrinkled from their packaging. A spray bottle comes in handy for stubborn wrinkles. Pro Tip: I actually fill mine with witch hazel which works far superior to water and will often release a wrinkle with no steaming or ironing! I even use it at home for my linen blouses. Give it a try - just spray on fabric and smooth with your hand, it's magic!
For every location with pets, lint rollers are needed to remove hair from sofas and chairs. And finally, if you're styling a holiday shoot (which typically includes a ton of craft type projects), you'll need a glue gun and plenty of sticks. Let's just say, I limit the number of these styling gigs each year. They're intense!