4 types of screen accurate Harry Potter and Ron letters

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello there,

As I explained a bit in this thread bellow, my wife and I left our jobs in Belgium and went back to the family farm in the south of France to start a completely new and hopefully fun life building guitars and props!


Well, this was two years ago now! We did a lot of work renovating our workshops, working in the house, preparing… and it’s finally time for the big reveal :)

We have been working really hard on two limited runs since November last year and we want to finally show our work in anticipation for both our Websites opening and the runs starting, hopefully early November.

For the first run, my Blade Runner badges, the work in progress was already done in public with the input of both the RPF and prop summit people; it can be found here:


The run I will discuss here is a limited run of four iconic letters seen in the Harry Potter movies that we worked on together with my wife, trying to achieve a true screen-accurate result.
Potter group 2.jpg


I will do most of the talking as I’m already established here and more comfortable in English, but just to put it out there, my wife now has an account here, ProvencaleLaGauloise, in the process of being renamed Wonder Knight, which is the name of her new company.

I’ll explain each letter creation more in detail in the days to come and will start for now by showing some photos of the final objects in the sun (Those are samples taken randomly from the production run)

For starters, here is the front of Harry's acceptance letter:
Acceptance letter ext.jpg



A variation on this is the Gringotts Letter that Hagrid carries:
Gringotts Letter 6.JPG


Gringotts Letter 7.jpg


Ron's letter with all its glorious screenaccurate flaws:
Ron Letter 7.jpg


Ron Letter 8.jpg


and last but not least, The Origami version of that letter!
Howler origami 10.JPG


We really hope you guys enjoy, and I'll be posting details of the creation, all the crazy details, all the difficulties we encountered soon :)
cheers

Matthieu/Eethan/Supergreen Props and Julie/WonderKnight :)
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello there,

I will start by discussing the letter that Ron receives from his mother as this is the first one we tackled for this project.

Great references are available in the film as well as several examples of authentic envelopes sold by Propstore.

230304_9.jpg

photos from propstore:
225448_9.jpg
225449_9.jpg


The Ribbon.

Ah… The ribbon… the most troublesome part we had to deal with for the creation of that object. The photos we have from Propstore give us great close up on it. This is a very specific ribbon, with a two tone satin weaving and a metal wire included in the border seams to maintain its shape.
img08.jpg


We searched for that ribbon everywhere; it seems to be mostly out of production sadly. The funny part is that this was probably produced in Germany and is often referred to as “French Ribbon”, quite frustrating for us as we are French and the only place in the whole world that we found selling some was in the US. :confused:

That is where the second funny part starts; obviously, a ribbon selling website is not really a worldwide business and when we contacted them to know if we could buy some, they refused to send to France. This is where the awesomeness of our community comes into play; I asked mugatu here if it would be possible to send him a sample of the ribbon to make sure this was what we were looking for. Mugatu is the nicest person ever and he accepted :) (y)

The thing is, Mugatu works in an armory, and I really can’t imagine how it all went down when he opened the envelope with the nice red ribbon inside… I hope he didn’t get a new unfortunate nickname because of us and our nice red ribbon. :lol: :oops: Thank you so much again Andy for your help! (y)

Well, all that to say that he then sent me countless great photos of the sample on all angles and light, a video of him opening the envelope with a knife:

“Also, I added the knife to introduce anxiety and fear into the video. I’m not sure why I thought I’d need to cut the envelope open.” Mugatu.
ribbon sample Andy.jpg


a few other great (and often funny) pics he sent us:
1696FAEF-D7E0-4BB4-A01F-B86AEDCC0CB0.jpeg
CF6C8B27-B0C2-4F72-9162-6223D8C785EB.jpeg
F6635A5F-0617-4FAE-92BE-977B64658C6E.jpeg


After that, we managed to negotiate that they sent the ribbon directly to us in France. We had to buy a lot and pay expensive shipping though but that was the only way. We will probably never find the exact same ribbon they used with the exact same number of threads but this is close as we can get for now and this brings a whole new dimenssion to the prop compared to often seen simple satin ribbon. :)

DSC02195.JPG
DSC02401.JPG




The Paper.

The Propstore photos provide us with great close-ups on the quality and grain of the red paper for the envelopes. After long researches on the paper, some great help again from people of the RPF and a …few… orders of samples, we finally chose a gorgeous English paper with a very similar or identical grain to the references.

img06.jpg
DSC02403.JPG


When we started this project, we thought we would just go to the local paper shop, buy red Canson paper and that would be it… We never imagined the paper world was so complex too and that since the references where so good, we would struggle that much and buy so many different paper types to identify the good one. It’s all worth it in the end as the paper is really gorgeous and it really sets the objects apart from any basic envelope and gives a really luxurious result.



The letter:

It goes the same way for the parchment paper used for the letter and the label. It’s a very specific paper that I will discuss later on as it is the same paper used for Harry’s acceptance letter.

Only a small part of the inside letter is visible in the movie but Propstore has shown scans of original letters. Since we can match the part we see on screen to the Propstore scan, it’s safe to assume that the scan can be used as an accurate template to recreate the full letter.
vlcsnap-2019-11-16-17h57m02s172.jpg


We spent days on Photoshop redrawing each letter in really high printing quality with all the color variations of the ink. But the result, once printed on a crazy big professional laser printer is just amazing (seriously, the printer was 5 metters long, it was awesome to see). The quality is just great and the laser really mimics nicely the shine of the hand written ink.

result of the letter and of the label as it's the same apper and the same kind of work:
DSC02399.JPG
DSC02398.JPG




The Wax seal:

ref from Propstore:
225452_9.jpg


The wax used for the seals is also something I will discuss more for Harry’s letter. But we chose the same really high quality “Cire de Banque” for Ron’s letter. We tested several gold waxes (and cooper for that matter) and only that wax was close to the metallic effect, the shine, the deep color that we see on the Propstore photos.

For the stamp itself, we carefully drew a vectors file of the shape and specific W letter and had it made to measure for us in brass to get a really professional result for each wax seal.

Our wax seal and stamp:
DSC02415.jpg




There we go. I’ll write another post later on for the assembly of that envelope as well as the small details and flaws of the original prop that we reproduced

I hope you all enjoy, cheers :)
 

Ivanhotep

Well-Known Member
Great work! Did you source the Weasley address label or recreate it (pretty easy project)? It's used on a lot of potion labels as well. I'm sure it's from a vintage graphics collection.
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great work! Did you source the Weasley address label or recreate it (pretty easy project)? It's used on a lot of potion labels as well. I'm sure it's from a vintage graphics collection.
Hey, thank a lot :)
We created the Weasley label ourself from scratch. I know they used a lot of free cliparts on a lot of artwork, I don't know if this is the case here too or not :)
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello there,
thank you so much Andy for your help again and thank you for the compliments :)

ok, here we go for the assembly of the envelopes,

First thing we did was to cut up everything, there was a fun afternoon of cutting around 80 labels with scissors with my mum joining us for some additionnal help:
DSC02147.JPG

20200308_112924_resized.jpg


Then, we cut all the envelopes in the red paper.
A fun detail to note is that the screen used envelopes all have a visible flaw on the lower flap in the back, 8 small irregular tear-offs, as if the cutting template didn’t cut the paper properly in some places.
img07.jpg


This is a recognizable detail on all known envelopes that we chose to reproduce faithfully. For that purpose, we created a specific cutting template with small notches in those specific spots and had it laser cut in aluminium.

Each envelope is carefully cut with a sharp paper knife, and we have to carefully stop the cuts on each notch of the template. Once the whole contour is cut, the envelope is carefully tore off from the rest of the paper to reproduce the flaws of the originals.
DSC02153.JPG

DSC02154.JPG


and... repeat 80 times :lol:
DSC02157.JPG


After that, each fold of the envelope is prepared with a ruller then flattened by hand with a white paper placed over the envelope to avoid any dirt or shiny spot forming on the red paper.
DSC02158.JPG

DSC02161.JPG


Each envelope is glued and the folded in half letter is placed inside before we close definitively the envelope:
DSC02163.JPG

DSC02164.JPG


After that, we glue the label on the front of the envelope with the ribbon placed under it:
DSC02194.JPG


then comes the fun part, folding the ribbon properly on the back and melting the wax on it, way harder than it looks! :) we obviously get some rejects on this very last step as the wax sometimes does whatever it wants... but that's all part of the process of doing something by hand with authentic materials :)
DSC02411.JPG

DSC02415.jpg


and here are a couple studio pics with the additional letter that comes with each envelope:
photos finales Howler.jpg

Ron Letter 5.jpg


There you go, we really hope you guys like it and I'll be back soon to post about Harry's acceptance letter :)
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello there,
ok, now for Harry's acceptance letter! :)

First of all, we know there are 3 versions of those envelopes,
-The stunts, fully printed, without wax stamps, used in the scene where the envelopes fly out of the chimney and into the room.
-The Heros with printed address of which we have excellent references thanks to the Propstore photos.
-And finally, a few handwritten Heros for the close-up scenes.

We chose to replicate closelly the Handwritten Hero version, specifically the very one that Harry holds in close up when he receives it for the first time.
230300_9.jpg


We used that scene to reproduce the handwritten address and used the great references from all the Hero envelopes sold by Propstore for all the rest: size, shape, paper, school crest and wax stamp.

The paper:

The Propstore sales provide great references of the paper used and notably of its colour thanks to that particular photo:
9lgsks8fzglz.jpg


After long search and trials, we were able to find a perfect paper. It is a very special paper used for calligraphy for its aesthetic qualities and resistance. The marbling effect is due to the paper fiber itself and is not printed.

here is a close up of our paper and its fiber:
DSC02381.jpg


here is also a comparison with a Propstore photo where we can see the transparency of the paper well:
DSC_0473.jpg
DSC_0473.jpg


The thing we discovered along the way, after buying a very expensive A3 ecoprinter is that this paper doesn't take ink very well. Did I already mentioned that those "simple" project always become more and more complex when you start working on them. Not to worry, we found a nice professional printer in town and had everything laser printed on that crazy huge 5m long printer I mentionned earlier. The laser really mimics the shine of the handwritten ink and we couldn't be happier with the result :)

here is a nice close up of the address on our envelope:
DSC02378.jpg


and here is a comparison of our school crest with an original on the left. We are very happy that we managed to capture all the very fine white lines of the crest:
comparaison logo.jpg


Cutting and assembling the enveloppes:

After everything was printed, we started cutting everything up.

In order to get a perfectly clean and identical cut on all the envelopes, we had a stainless steel template laser cut for us.
The envelope contours are not printed on the envelopes, just the 4 corners, we position carefully the template on those corners, clamp it and start cutting carefully around it. The result is great that way and no printed line are visible on the edges of the envelopes.
DSC02166.JPG


here is the result of a few days of work :) (well of course, this shows the envelopes for the Gringotts version as well as the letters for Ron but you get the idea ;))
DSC02168.JPG



The letters:

The letters inside the envelopes are another example of the various versions of an object created for a movie. Several versions of the letters are edited in books, visible in exhibitions or sold at Propstore along with authentic envelopes.

The only reference visible on screen is the letter that Harry unfolds in close-up. This is why we are using this scene of the movie (including the typos in the letter) and completing the missing parts thanks to the Propstore letters.

To recreate the letter as close as possible to what is seen on screen, we created a mock-up of the entire letter with the 4K version, the larger old TV version and the Propstore letter. Then, using the 4k version of the centre part of the letter, we carefully recreated the missing parts for a faithful and high quality result.
acceptance letter WIP.jpg


here is a close up of the laser printed result on our paper:
DSC02379.jpg


It goes the same for the list of requirements given to Harry inside the envelope except this one is never seen on screen. So we used the Propstore version as template for our list.
and here is a close up of the result:
DSC02380.jpg


The wax stamp:

We have several examples of Hero letters that were sold by propstore, here is a compilation of all the wax seals from those letters:
hero stamps.jpg

What we can see from those example is that:
- the wax is very shiny and has a very deep red color
- the wax is very brittle and will eventually break
- there are black streaks in the red indicatif the wax was melted with fire.

We experienced with quite a few wax sticks to find the right wax for the job. Lots of the modern waxes you can find nowadays are actually quite flexible and will not break like the example we want to reproduce. those wax will also not dry as shiny as we want.
Here is an example of a few waxes that were tested and clearly didn't do it for us. you can clearly see they are not shiny either:
DSC02137.jpg

The middle stamp in the above photo was actually removed from a piece of paper and folded in half completely, it didn't even break, you can just see a faint line in the middle on it.

Ok, so this isn't what we are looking for. The only wax we found that can reproduce the shine and brittle quality of those seals is traditional high quality sealing wax. We call it "cire de banque" in France. "Bank sealing wax", made the same way since 1670, considered the most traditional and shiny sealing wax formula. It has, I believe, a lot of pine sap in it and is very perfumed when melted.

We actually mixed 3 colors of that wax to fine tune the exact red color we were looking for.
DSC02371.jpg
DSC02374.jpg

DSC02376.jpg
DSC02377.jpg


Ok, we now have a perfect wax for our seals. We designed a vector file for the stamp and had a brass stamp made to measure to get a perfect, proffessional result for our seals and we can now get to work and seal all the envelopes.

The wax is melted with a flame to reproduce the black streaks visible in the references:
DSC02387.jpg


And the envelope is finally complete!
DSC02391.jpg


We really hope you guys enjoyed it :)
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
And here are a few studio pics of the completed envelopes and letters.
Each envelope comes with the acceptation letter and list of requirements inside that can be seen through the transparent paper + two duplicates of those letters outside the envelope to display with the closed envelope.

photos finales acceptation.jpg

DSC_0493.jpg


I'll see you soon to explain the creation of the Gringotts letter :)
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
thank you so much guys for the positive feedback, we appreciate it so much, both of us :)
we've been working so hard and for so long on this project and were pretty anxious of revealing it here :)
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Incredible work. I've seen the screen used props in person, and these are identical!
What will the prices be? Are you selling as a set or as individual letters.

Thank you guys again :) and thank you Pippin, that is very high praise, we worked on them for a very long time with absolutelly no compromises and it's super nice to hear your positive feedback, thank you so much (y)

We are currently both working on finishing our websites right now and are waiting for our official company numbers to be able to start our busineses. We hope they will come on time to open our websites very early November.
The letters will be sold individually or as a set with a 10% discount when 4 or more letters are bought :) I'll not disclose the prices for now I think, sorry ;)

We packed a set of letters Yesterday though and I want to show you a photo of how we do it :)
We strive on trying to keep our packings as ecologically friendly as possible so everything is recycled and recyclable, we don't waste or overpack anything but we make it as safe as possible.
We also tried to find a way to make something nice if the letter is a present and easy to open and close back to check the item before gifting it, we hope we succesfully achieved that :)
Acceptance letter embalage.jpg

All envelopes are individually packed like that then put inside a 2.5cm thick sturdy cardboard box with a bit of additional grey paper to avoid them moving in the box. They will be super safe :) and the thin box allows us to send it worldwide for a pretty low price with tracking.
The Origamy Howler is another story as it's a bigger object so shipping will be in a regular (very strong) square box.

cheers
 

Pippin96

New Member
Thank you guys again :) and thank you Pippin, that is very high praise, we worked on them for a very long time with absolutelly no compromises and it's super nice to hear your positive feedback, thank you so much (y)

We are currently both working on finishing our websites right now and are waiting for our official company numbers to be able to start our busineses. We hope they will come on time to open our websites very early November.
The letters will be sold individually or as a set with a 10% discount when 4 or more letters are bought :) I'll not disclose the prices for now I think, sorry ;)

We packed a set of letters Yesterday though and I want to show you a photo of how we do it :)
We strive on trying to keep our packings as ecologically friendly as possible so everything is recycled and recyclable, we don't waste or overpack anything but we make it as safe as possible.
We also tried to find a way to make something nice if the letter is a present and easy to open and close back to check the item before gifting it, we hope we succesfully achieved that :)
View attachment 1361492
All envelopes are individually packed like that then put inside a 2.5cm thick sturdy cardboard box with a bit of additional grey paper to avoid them moving in the box. They will be super safe :) and the thin box allows us to send it worldwide for a pretty low price with tracking.
The Origamy Howler is another story as it's a bigger object so shipping will be in a regular (very strong) square box.

cheers
Truely amazing work.

I'll keep an eye on the updates and prices when released.

Really nice to see the packaging being considered so much as well. It makes a big difference to the whole experience of the object!
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey there,
sorry, I wanted to post yesterday but realized I didn't have enough material to show, so I went back today and took some more photos!

Ok, so here we go, the Letter to the Head Goblins at the Gringotts banks.

The letter addressed to the Head Goblin at the wizard bank has the same base as the acceptance letter but with a different address and a string wrapped around it.

Several letters were used to film the scene and the actual letters seen on screen are different depending on the shots.

For this reason, we mainly used as a reference the one held by the Goblin in close up to recreate the address and the “top secret” stamp.
Lettre_d'Albus_Dumbledore_à_Gringotts.png


We then used the only shot where the letter is seen from the back where we can guess the string is set into the school wax seal.
Capture.JPG


We watched the movie in 4k to try to get higher resolution refs. Here is a snapshot of the top secret stamp for instance. there are some cool details that we can't see on images we find on internet. In the frame of the stamp especially.
DSC02212.JPG


and here is our stamp. keep in mind that the ref is a bit squished as the envelope is in perspective:
DSC02439.jpg


The envelope is cut with the same laser cut stainless steel template used for Harry's letter as it's the exact same shape. as you can see on the next picture, the contour of the envelope is not printed, only 3 tiny reference crosses that we can't even see in the photo. That way, absolutely no printed line is visible on the cut envelope:
DSC02165.JPG

DSC02166.JPG


The envelopes are then carefully folded then glued and clamped while they dry. I folded all those envelopes by hand one by one for the 3 types of folded letters and I would like to point out that I'm using a sheet of white paper on top of the envelope each time I flatten a fold, at no time did I flatten any envelope directly by sliding my fingers on them. This is to avoid any fingerprints or any shiny spots developing on the nice special paper.
Also, on the next pic, I'm using wood cauls to apply even pressure, but there is a clean piece of shiny and super smooth cardboard under each wood caul and as you can see, the envelopes themselves are resting on a clean sheet of white paper, not even directly on my cutting mat. We really try to work correctly even if it takes time :)
DSC02172.JPG


Now, Julie comes into play to do all the knots and melt the wax.
We carefully measured the string thickness compared to the envelope to get the best match and chose a really nice waxed linen string for the envelopes. Numerous tries were also made in order to reproduce faithfully the knot to what is seen on screen and Julie now really masters it ;)
DSC02522.JPG

DSC02523.JPG


Here is the nice pile she finished this afternoon:
DSC02527.JPG


I don't have any photos of melting the wax for those envelopes but this is done the same way Harry's and Ron's are made, just this time, the wax is melted on the linen string.

Here are a few close up pics of the results, we hope you enjoy :)
DSC02503.JPG


Oh, by the way, did I mention there is a top secret message inside? you can all have fun and try to read it in transparency when you get the envelope in hand :)

Dumbledore's signature visible through the paper:
DSC02511.jpg


the wax directly melted on top of the string, securelly sealing the top secret envelope:
DSC02514.JPG


a nice close up on the string and knot in the front:
DSC02516.JPG


and finally, an extreme close up on the paper and top secret stamp:
DSC02518.JPG



I really hope you guys enjoy our work, we really worked hard and long to try to bring you the most screenacurate replicas of the letter we could :)
I'll post the studio pics in the next post
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top