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How To Build A Stop Motion Set

Updated on July 27, 2012
Bathroom Stop-motion Set
Bathroom Stop-motion Set | Source

Getting Started Set Building

Making a set for a stop-motion animated cartoon can be simple or difficult depending on your level of skill and how detailed you want your set to be. This article will take you through the steps to create your set. You will be shown first hand how to create a simple set and given tips on using the right materials and props.

At this point before creating your set you should already have your script or story board and know basically what you will need in the way of a set or sets. You can create your characters first or after the set is completed. Depending on which you do keep in mind you want your character and set sizes to match so if it is your first time make the characters last.

The first decision you need to make before building the set is how much of the set you want to complete yourself. You could create everything from scratch but having done this I can tell you that it is very time consuming. you could also create the shell of the room or rooms and buy cheap doll accessories: TV, couch, bed, etc. depending on what you need. Possibly you may want to do a little of both.

Kitchen Stop-motion Set - Includes stove, counters, sink (made of a yogurt container and painted silver), curtain (made of an old cloth), fridge. Side wall removed for easier camera shots. Although not seen back of fridge is removed for inside shots.
Kitchen Stop-motion Set - Includes stove, counters, sink (made of a yogurt container and painted silver), curtain (made of an old cloth), fridge. Side wall removed for easier camera shots. Although not seen back of fridge is removed for inside shots. | Source
Bathroom Stop-motion set - Includes bathtub, toilet, sink, mirror, pictures, props (tooth brushes, bubble bath, cups, etc.) one box wall that pulls back for easier access for camera.
Bathroom Stop-motion set - Includes bathtub, toilet, sink, mirror, pictures, props (tooth brushes, bubble bath, cups, etc.) one box wall that pulls back for easier access for camera. | Source

What You Need To Build A Stop Motion Set

When creating the set you may need the following items:

  • A large cardboard box.
  • Wallpaper rolls (for indoor rooms).
  • Paint, small tubes of different colored acrylic paints will do.
  • Other miscellaneous pieces of cardboard (to create any boxy props and surfaces).
  • A glue gun.
  • Clay if needed.
  • Other props if needed (small mirrors, plastic pieces for sinks, etc.

Simple Stop-motion Set Creation

Wall Door Stop-motion Set - For use with closeups when you don't need a whole room to shoot. Has short hall, door, light switch, pictures.
Wall Door Stop-motion Set - For use with closeups when you don't need a whole room to shoot. Has short hall, door, light switch, pictures. | Source

When creating a a set follow these steps:

  1. Acquire a large box, usually you can find these at a grocery store.
  2. Depending on your needs you may want to cut out one side and the top of the box or two sides and the top (refer to the pictures of our sets if having trouble visualizing).
  3. If creating a room you can find rolls of wall paper at any craft or department store. This will be for the walls of your room. Some of these may also look like tiles or wood, which makes for good floors. Apply these to the sides and floor of the box and voila you have the shell of your room. If you prefer to paint the room instead that is also an option.
  4. If your room or scene requires props you can make things like cupboards, fridges, and other props from cardboard or clay or you can purchase props online. You should look for doll accessories. There are handmade items and retail doll items available on Ebay and other online marketplaces.
  5. If constructing your items one rule of thumb is to make larger things from cardboard and smaller things from clay. Creating everything from clay will weigh down your set and it will fall apart.

Other possible more advanced additions may include a metallic floor. You can cover it with one of the sticky wallpapers as mentioned above. When you create clay figures to be used in your stop-motion film you can glue strong magnets into the feet of your characters. This helps then stay up when you have them walking around your set.

Living Room Stop-motion Set - Close up with Frankenstein and a comic book guy. Features couch, fur rug, TV, chair, stereo, table, etc.
Living Room Stop-motion Set - Close up with Frankenstein and a comic book guy. Features couch, fur rug, TV, chair, stereo, table, etc. | Source

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    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 3 years ago from North America

      Why thank you, did my best :)

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana

      Amazing.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Ironman1992 - thanks did my best to highlight what is needed in this case. Glad you like it :)

    • Ironman1992 profile image

      Ironman1992 5 years ago

      Voted up, useful and interesting. I'm into stop motion too, but I've always used lego, because I happen to have a box of it, and I've never been able to build good characters with clay or construct good sets. This is a helpful tutorial, has a lot of creative ideas and is easy to follow like a good tutorial should be. Good hub.

    • terrektwo profile image
      Author

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Msmillar - glad you enjoyed the hub. All of the stop-motion sets in the pictures are all my own, I've used them in my stop-motion cartoons. Figured I would put my knowledge into a nice hub :)

    • Msmillar profile image

      Joanna 5 years ago from Valley Springs

      That's so cool terrektwo!