Blind Squirrel is the screen name for Mike Iverson, a prop builder who has been making replicas from movies, television, games, and anime since 2005.
A graphic designer by trade (and former comic book illustrator), Mike spends his spare time building props wielded by cosplayers around the globe. What began by building plastic model kits and making Halloween costumes quickly became an obsessive hobby. Self-taught through experimentation and online tutorials, Mike continues to expand his skill set with every new project.
Q. Did you learn to make props in school?
A. I majored in graphic design and never built a prop until 2005. I learned everything from online tutorials, YouTube videos and asking questions on prop building forums.
Q. What tools should I buy?
A. I highly recommend starting with a Dremel tool. It’s inexpensive, portable and can do just about anything. If you decide you want to dive deeper into prop making, next step would be a belt sander. Drill press and table saw would follow. Of course, 3D printing can take the place of many of those tools but I wouldn't buy a machine until you learn to build in 3D first.
Q. How do you get so much done?
A. I work consistent hours every week, like a second job.
Q. How do I make [favorite prop] / learn [new technique]?
A. The first step is to try! Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have learned something. Consult the internet for similar builds and don’t be afraid to ask questions. To paraphrase Anthony Hopkins in The Edge, “What one man can do, any man can do!”
Q. Are you hiring / teaching / taking apprentices?
A. I’m just a dude building stuff on the back porch on the weekends so I don’t have the resources to bring anyone else on. I’m always happy to help with advice on your projects, though. Feel free to contact me.
Q. Do you ship outside the US?
A. I do but it’s expensive (as you probably already know). Be sure to check your local laws to make sure that your prop won’t get nabbed by Customs.
Q. Can I buy one of the projects on your site?
A. Most of the projects featured on the site are one-offs and are living with the client. Anything that I have available can be found in my Etsy shop, so you can build a copy for yourself.
So that my hobby didn't become another job, I cut back on the amount of commissions I take. I am now only building items from my personal build list. Check the list before asking…if it is not related to an item on the list, I probably won't be interested in the build. No offense!
"Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time."