Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find some of the common questions about our custom services and products. If you don’t see your answer here, please contact us today!

Project Inquiries

Are your custom services available to private individuals as well as studios and companies?

We accept private commissions from a wide range of individuals and companies. Whether you’re a large company in need of a trade show or promotional piece, a museum looking for a realistic historical figure, a theme restaurant or shop looking to enhance your customers’ experience, or a private collector who wants something displayed or a unique piece of sculpture or furniture to make your home theater something special, we’d be happy to discuss what we can do for you.  Contact Us!

How do I commission a custom sculpture, theme room, custom furniture or a movie prop display?

 It all starts with an email or a call.  Please contact us and let us know what you’re looking for.

Can you design something for me?

Yes. If you’ve got a rough idea or concept, but not a finished design, we can offer that service as well as fabrication.

What if I don't even have a concept?

 If you’ve just got a project, but need ideas, we can also be commissioned to come up with concepts as well as designs.

How much do your custom services cost?

We offer many custom services, from custom sculpture (statues, busts and masks, theme props and lifesized characters and wax style figures), custom mannequins and display work, one of a kind furniture and functional art, and even movie prop restoration work. All custom work is priced on a project by project basis. If you’ve got something you’d like us to sculpt, display or restore, email or call today and we’ll be happy to give you an estimate.

What do your prior clients have to say about your work and their experience with your company?

Many of our past clients have sent testimonials regarding their experience with us.  We’ve proudly posted those on our Testimonials and Reviews page.

The Commission Process

What is the commission process like?

 After initial consultations, we will schedule a start date for your project.  Once work commences and throughout the creation of your custom work of art, progress photos will be sent along with detailed updates. We strive to keep our clients involved in the process.

How long does a custom sculpture take?

It depends greatly on the complexity of the work, the client’s schedule and our project schedule at the time of booking. Rushes can often be accommodated when budget allows.  We do our best to provide honest time estimates, maintain steady communication and provide excellent service throughout the process.

Is a deposit required on custom work?

On most custom work, a small non-refundable deposit is required to schedule your project, followed by one or more payments beginning at the time work is scheduled to commence and a balance due prior to shipping or pick up.

Business Insurance

Does Tom Spina Designs insure my prop or costume while it's in their possession and care?

YES.  We feel this is extremely important and we carry a high-value policy which protects the valuable material owned by our clients while in our studio.

Does Tom Spina Designs carry a liability policy?

YES. We carry a standard business liability policy, though we work (and hope) to never have to use it.

Payment and Online Purchasing

Do you accept payment in installments?

On larger items, movie prop restoration or display projects or custom sculpture and other artwork, we usually will work with the client to create a payment plan that makes sense for the project and the schedule and/or deadlines.  Generally, we find the following works best: Deposit to schedule your project, 50% of the balance due prior to start of work, the remaining balance plus any shipping fees due prior to the scheduled completion of the project.

Can I use a credit card to pay you?

YES, we accept credit cards, business checks, personal checks, money orders and Paypal. You can order items via the site or contact us to pay by phone.

Is paying through the links on your shop safe and secure?

YES – we use Paypal’s secure system to handle our online payment services.  Customers can safely pay via credit card OR with a Paypal account.  See Paypal’s site for detailed information about their service and security:

When I go to check out, I'm not seeing the option to pay with a credit card. I don't have a paypal account.

To pay by credit card without a Paypal account, look lower right side of the page.  There should be a  “Don’t have a PayPal account?”.  Click link and you will be able to proceed without an account.  On the following pages, if you are promted to sign in, look for the “continue without logging in” link. If you’re having trouble, you can always call us to pay by phone.

Do you sell on ebay?

YES, from time to time we do list items on ebay. Our ebay ID is TomSpinaDesigns 

Shipping Questions

How do you ship your items?

This depends greatly on the project, its size and its value. On a regular basis, we use USPS priority and express mail, Fedex priority overnight, ground or freight and UPS ground.  We also have used private shippers for unusually large items.  We always use some method of tracking or confirmation and recommend full insurance.

Can you ship to ____?

In most cases, we can ship anywhere in the world using many of the methods mentioned above.

Can you combine shipping?

 In certain cases.  As some of our display items ship from different locations, this isn’t always possible.  Please email us with the items you’re considering and we can let you know if combined shipping is an option.

Why was my item packed with multi-color peanuts?

At TSD, we choose to reuse!  We try to reuse or recycle packing materials wherever possible.  Please consider the environment before disposing of packing materials once you’ve received your TSD package.

Do you? Can you? Will You?

Can you make ____?

If you’ve got a design that you’d like custom sculpted, fabricated or otherwise brought into existence, send us an email with detailed information and we’ll be happy to let you know if it’s something we can create for you and provide you an estimate. Please see our “Custom Sculpture” or “Custom Theming” section for more information and photos.

Can you display____?

 If you’ve got original movie masks or wardrobe, historical items, militaria or other hard to display items that you’d like turned into a stunning display, email us with a description and some photos and we’ll let you know what we can do for you.  We can provide custom mannequins, acrylic work, bases and more.  We can also, of course, create custom sculpted heads and other pieces to help complete your display. Please see our “Custom Mannequins and Display Services” section for more information and photos.

Can you restore ___ ?

If you’ve got a foam latex original movie prop or screen used foam latex mask or appliance that’s in need of attention, please email us with a detailed description and several photos (preferably of the areas of concern) and we can give you an idea of what’s possible.  Please see our “Restoration Services” section for more information and photos.

Can you make display acrylic cases?

Yes, we work with several acrylic shops that can create custom cases for our clients.  Please visit this page and enter the sizing you need and we will be happy to provide you a quote.

Can I buy the screen used props seen in your displays/restoration page?

These items are generally not for sale.  If you visit our links page, however, you can find several sites which do sell original movie props.

Do you rent items?

Currently, we rent aliens and costumes for commercials (though Star Wars costumes are only available for productions that are officially sanctioned by Lucasfilm/Disney).   Generally speaking, we do not rent theme prop items, but we can always make a custom piece for your event! Contact us with your timeframe and budget and we’ll be happy to let you know what we can do for you!

Can you make me a reproduction Muppet character? Can you make me an exact replica Star Wars, TMNT (or other film) mask, character, etc?

We generally only recreate characters for companies holding the proper license from the studios that own those properties.

Misc Inquiries

How can I care for my latex masks and foam latex movie items?

Latex items should be kept out of direct sunlight or lights that emit UV (such as fluorescent light bulbs of any kind) and handled infrequently (as the oils from your skin can break down latex).  Avoid high heat as heat can accelerate latex drying and breaking down.  Aim to keep temperature and humidity stable. Wherever possible, we recommend the use of a UV filtering display case from our shop to keep dust and people’s fingers off the piece. For the best results, the piece should be properly supported, on a bust or head form, or gently stuffed to keep its shape.  Over time, latex and foam pieces will slightly shrink and become less flexible. It’s important to get the mask or prop in the position you’d like it to remain while it’s still flexible.

And of course, if you have a piece that’s damaged, or deteriorating, please contact us and we’ll be happy to let you know what our conservation artists may be able to do for your prized prop!

Do you have a physical store?

No.  Our custom work is all performed at our private studios. We also have an online “collecting supplies shop” for folks who need things like muslin garment bags, display stands for hats or masks and foam display heads.

Do you offer a bulk discount on products?

Sometimes. Email us with your needs and we can let you know if a discount is possible. Some display items are offered at a case discount and are marked as such on their product page.

Can I get a job at Tom Spina Designs?

While we’re not always hiring, we’d love to see the work of artists who are dedicated, talented and dependable.  Please email us with portfolios and resumes.

I have a product that your clients may find useful, will you carry it?

Maybe! Drop us an email with information about the product and your business and we’ll be happy to consider it.

I saw some cool stuff in the custom furniture section. Is it sturdy enough to sit in/use/etc?

 Generally speaking, yes.  We use heavy duty materials to create unique pieces that are functional AND look incredible. 

What sort of materials do you use in your custom sculpture?

We use a wide range of materials, from EPS foam with various coatings to rubber and latex, resin and fiberglass, to wood and metal, acrylic, plastics, silicone and more. Each project is evaluated individually and the material best suited for both the look and function of the piece is chosen.

What is flocking?

Flocking is a material/process used on some of our display heads and mannequins which gives a velvet-like property to the finished piece. It adds a classy and elegant feel to many displays.

Can you make custom mannequins?

 YES.  We can customize existing mannequins or create something from scratch to suit your needs in terms of look, pose and body style.  Please see our Movie Prop Displays and Custom Mannequins section for more information about our custom mannequin services.

How does restoration/conservation work affect the value of a prop or costume?

Many of our clients tell us they feel our work has added value to their pieces, by way of subtle repair work (like strengthening a crack that might otherwise become a larger issue) or a more dramatic restoration. In some cases, the props that come to us are in such dire shape that without conservation work, they might be lost entirely, making the value added relatively obvious.  There are also benefits from proper support and display, which can also add longevity to a prop and quite a bit of value, depending on collector taste, of course.

How do you arrive at the "right" level of restoration on a particular prop?

We feel it’s important to be respectful of the original material, changing as little as possible while taking steps to preserve, support and improve the way a prop displays. We arrive at the proper level of care based on in depth conversations with the clients, taking into account their desires for the piece, balanced against the materials/condition of the prop and what it can safely “bear”.  If you’d like to discuss what we can do for your artifact, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Can you tell me how to make stuff like you guys do?

 Sorry to say that we don’t have the time to help everyone with their projects but you may find some great reference material and advice at sites like and The Replica Prop Forum and we really love the Stan Winston School of Character Arts videos too!

Are the Haunt Items and Lifesized Characters only available around Halloween?

These products are generally available all year long unless otherwise noted.