How to Make Props for Stage Production of "Grease"

By Jeffery Keilholtz ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker
  • 1/8-by-36-by-72 inch wood piece
  • Saw
  • 80 grit sand paper
  • Latex paint
  • Paint brush
  • 1/2-by-4-by-36-inch high-density urethane foam pieces (16)
  • 36-by-57-inch wood table
  • 1/8-by-34-by-36-inch wood pieces (2)
  • 1/8-by-34-by-57-inch wood piece
  • 2-inch cart wheels (4)
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch screws (multiple)
  • 1/2-by-18-inch high-density urethane foam circles (2)
  • 1/2-by-12-by-57-inch high-density urethane foam grill
  • 2-by-2-by-36-inch wood windshield frame pieces (2)
  • 2-by-2-by-18-inch wood windshield frame pieces (2)
  • Wood glue
  • 1/8-by-18-by-36-inch piece of clear plastic
  • Permanent epoxy

Appropriate props for a stage production of "Grease" will make or break the production's success. Focused on a group of high school students during the 1950s, "Grease" is a well known musical about a "bad" boy who falls in love with a "good" girl. While most of the props for "Grease" are available for purchase -- lunch trays, hair combs and textbooks, for example -- two major props must be built: The Rydell High School sign and the car for the "Greased Lightning" song.

Rydell High School Sign

Slide on a pair of work gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask to protect your skin, eyes and lungs.

Measure and draw a rectangle on a piece of 1/8-inch-thick wood to 36-by-72 inch dimensions. Cut out the rectangle with a saw. Smooth the edges of the rectangle with 80 grit sand paper.

Coat the wood piece with Latex paint. Allow three hours for the wood to dry.

Draw and cut 16 1/2-inch high-density urethane foam block letters to suit every letter in the words: Rydell High School. Make each letter 4-by-36 inches in size. Evenly space and bond each letter to the wood with permanent epoxy. Paint the foam letters a contrasting color to the wood. Hang or mount the sign however you see fit with your set design.

Greased Lightning Car

Position a 36-by-57-inch wood table on its legs so one of the 57-inch sides is facing you. The table will act as the front facade of the car.

Cut two 1/8-inch-thick wood pieces to 34-by-36-inch dimensions to act as side panels for the car. Cut one 1/8-inch-thick wood piece to 34-by-57-inch dimensions to act as the front panel for the car. Sand the edges of each piece with 80 grit paper. Attach each side and front panel to the car facade with 3/8-inch screws. A 2-inch gap between each panel and the floor should now exist.

Coat the car facade in Latex paint. Allow 3 hours for the car to dry. Attach 1/2-inch cart wheels to the bottom of each leg with 3/8-inch screws.

Cut two 1/2-by-18-inch high-density urethane foam circles to act as tires. Position one tire flush against the right side panel so the bottom edge is 1/2-inch off the floor and flush with the front edge. Bond the tire into place with permanent epoxy. Repeat on the left side with the second tire.

Draw and cut out a 1/2-by-12-by-57-inch high-density urethane foam grill. Bond the grill to the front panel with permanent epoxy.

Measure and cut two 2-by-2-by-36-inch and two 2-by-2-by-18-inch wood pieces. Smooth the pieces with 80 grit paper. Fit the pieces together into the shape of a frame. Bond the edges with wood glue.

Position one of the 2-by-36-inch edges of the frame to the top of the table. Adjust the frame so the back edge is flush with the 36-inch edge on the far side of the car. Bond the frame to the car with wood glue. Your windshield frame is now in place.

Coat the foam tires, grill and windshield frame with Latex paint.

Cut and bond a 1/8-by-18-by-36-inch piece of clear plastic to the front of the frame to act as the windshield. The car facade can now slide out from the center of a closed curtain of either side of the stage to give the illusion of a full-size car.

About the Author

Jeffery Keilholtz began writing in 2002. He has worked professionally in the humanities and social sciences and is an expert in dramatic arts and professional politics. Keilholtz is published in publications such as Raw Story and Z-Magazine, and also pens political commentary under a pseudonym, Maryann Mann. He holds a dual Associate of Arts in psychology and sociology from Frederick Community College.