On the job

Craft creator never forgets the fun

Kimberly Stoney, a prop stylist and craft developer, is working on projects for Halloween.
Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff
Kimberly Stoney, a prop stylist and craft developer, is working on projects for Halloween.

Prop stylist and craft developer Kimberly Stoney is already preparing for Halloween – making bats from recycled pasta boxes, gravestones from Fig Newtons, and coffins from brownies. The holiday projects that she creates will be featured with step-by-step instructions in magazines, websites, and online videos for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

Stoney, who works out of her home in Littleton, shares her ideas on the blog, The Tiny Funnel. “When I’m creating a new craft,” she says, “fun is the most important consideration. Is it enjoyable to make?”

In the world of styling, or the art of preparing objects and sets for the camera, there are all sort of subspecialities. What are they?

There are craft and prop stylists such as myself, and then food and fashion stylists. Some stylists will do only tabletops. All contribute to the end product, a photo that looks beautifully composed and compelling.

You got into this line of work because your neighbor was an art director and asked you to make Christmas trees out of pine cones, right?


He said, ‘Would you like to develop this craft? I need three to four ideas.’ I ended up giving him 20 variations.

You probably hate throwing anything away, because it may come in handy for a craft.

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I keep milk containers, both plastic and cardboard; egg cartons; and a lot of cereal boxes. I love the round salt boxes because they make great three-dimensional objects. I also save a lot of cleaned chicken and meat trays for holding glue and paint and glitter.

You have a degree in ceramics and a master’s in sculpture — is that where your inspiration comes from?

I think my craftiness stems from much earlier. I went to the Waldorf School, which is a very hands-on education. I learned a lot about how to make things, take them apart, and put them back together.

What do you take with you on a photo shoot?

I’ve carried couches and rugs. I carry all my basic supplies in a black fishing box, including double-sided tape, clear filament line, museum putty, Goo Gone, and an X-Acto knife.

What’s your craft horror story?

One summer day, it was 100 degrees, and we were shooting a train made out of gingerbread and frosting in a studio that wasn’t air conditioned. All the gingerbread was soft and oozy. It was like a bad dream. We’d build the train, and it would fall apart. I ended up crisping pieces in the oven and dashing to the studios while the gingerbread was still crisp.

Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at