What you see on-screen might actually be in your own home! No, not Keanu Reeves, silly! I’m talking about movie props. As it turns out, quite a lot of them are repurposed everyday household items. The r/Thatsabooklight subreddit documents the times that people recognized these everyday items in movies and on TV shows, and just couldn’t help but share with everyone else. And, wow, we’ve got to say, once you notice these behind-the-scenes details, you’ll never look at films the same way again.
Have a scroll through some of the coolest, most unusual, and surprising movie props that you’d find around your home. While most of these can be found in sci-fi films and shows, they’re not exclusive to just them. Remember to upvote the pics that you liked the most. Onwards and (let’s scroll) downwards!
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Bored Panda reached out to the r/Thatsabooklight community to learn more about the subreddit and on-screen props. Read on for our friendly chat with one of the moderators, QueenAnneBoleynTudor.
#1 In An Episode Of Mutant X, Jesse Uses A Familiar Looking “Device.” It Looks Like A High Tech Gadget With Buttons, But I Recognized It As The Eyeshadow Compact I’ve Had Since High School
Image credits: phantomjerky
#2 I Was Told This Might Be This Sub’s Cup Of Tea
Image credits: moonpies4everyone
#3 One Of Young Anakin’s Tool Is A Silver-Painted Dog Toy That I Own
Image credits: augmentedseventh
Moderator QueenAnneBoleynTudor explained to Bored Panda why most movies and TV shows don’t build props from scratch. Like for a lot of things in life, money and time constraints are still issues.
“Movies have budgets, and those budgets are mainly for the talent, special effects, salaries, and insurance. Like any project, Hollywood has to find a way to make the project successful while either staying on budget or (even better) coming in under budget. Making items from scratch takes up time, talent, and money for something that may be used in only a few frames. Repurposing an item takes less, and can be reused for another film,” they detailed.
Reusing and recycling are the name of the game when it comes to Hollywood. “Everything gets reused—props, costumes, locations, et cetera. It just makes sense to take a calculator and make it a circuit board for one film, and a communication device in another. The fact that you haven’t recognized them means that the props department did their job! People watch movies to escape reality, and if you don’t notice the booklight being used as a transmogrifier means that the magic of Hollywood worked.”
#4 This Is Cool
Image credits: HamillHimself
#5 This Transmitter That Cracks Access Codes In Resident Evil (2002) Is A Glucose Meter With An Antenna
Image credits: KiwyGal
#6 The Mask Used For Halloween (1978) Was A William Shatner Mask That Was Painted White
Image credits: notsure500
The moderator put us at ease by sharing that, in their opinion, recognizing repurposed household items in movies and shows doesn’t take the magic away from the stories. “If anything, people feel like sleuths when they see a prop and say, ‘What a minute! That’s a nose hair trimmer!’ It adds to the fun of the experience. And most people don’t even realize it. People realize that things get reused, and I think as long as it’s not obvious, they don’t pay too much attention.”
We were also interested to know if it’s possible to unsee how props are repurposed items! Is there going back to a simpler time? Unfortunately, redditor QueenAnneBoleynTudor thinks not.
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#7 I Present To You: Willrow Hoods Aka Ice Cream Man From Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back In The Background Of Cloud City. He Carries A Completely Undecorated Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker. This Previously Unnamed Character Has Spawned A Cult Following, Leading To Books, Comics, And Fan Lore
Image credits: PolyklietosOfAthens
#8 Greef Kargas Buckle Is A Cheap Folding Knife
Image credits: Super_Jackk
#9 Prop: In Phantom Menace, Qui Gonn’s Comlink Is A Gillette Women’s Razor
Image credits: ticktockdroptop
“I don’t think it’s possible to unsee it, no. Little Easter eggs like booklights or errors, once you see them, it’s burned into your brain. Remember the Starbucks cup in GoT? Or the hydro flask and water bottle from Little Women? It works that way with props. As for a ‘simpler time,’ that’s wistful thinking I’m afraid. Hollywood has been reusing and repurposing items as long as it’s been committing images to celluloid.”
The redditor added that they personally tend to constantly be on the lookout for booklights because they spend time moderating the r/Thatsabooklight subreddit. “It doesn’t ruin the film for me, it actually makes me pay more attention!”
The most intriguing thing about repurposed household items is that your creativity is the limit! With some brainstorming and dextrous hands (we always suggest watching some Crafty Panda videos for general DIY inspiration), you can convert a broken piece of tech into a futuristic gadget that wouldn’t look out of place in a multi-million-dollar movie project.
#10 One Of The Most Iconic Movie Props Of All Time, Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber From The Star Wars Franchise Is A Flash Handle From A Vintage Camera (Graflex 3 Cell Flash Handle)
Image credits: cgsimmons1983
#11 [film] Back To The Future  A Krups Coffee Machine Became Mr Fusion On The Delorean
Image credits: PolyklietosOfAthens
#12 [tv] In Alias , Her Specialized Locker Cutting Tool Is A Creme Brûlée Torch
Image credits: 2019starter
The fact of the matter is, making props from scratch is incredibly costly, requires lots of designing and redesigning, and eats up a lot of time. Repurposing things, however… well, it gives you the flexibility you need in terms of money, time, and energy.
In fact, just having a walk through your local supermarket can give you tons of great ideas if you walk in through the door with the right mentality. Even a bucket and a mop can do great things if you add some doodads on top and paint them a different color.
Sometimes, the simplest solutions really can be the best ones. For instance, The Vintage News points out that Luke Skywalker’s iconic lightsaber from the original ‘Star Wars’ 1977 movie was made from some calculator chips and the battery pack for the flash of an old photo camera. You’d never think that this was the case from your first glance, would you?
#13 [tv] The Expanse . The Cryo Chamber Used For Mei Is A Repurposed Thule 624 Cargo Box
Image credits: ostrich_fondlerer
#14 The Child In The Mandalorian Is In A Us Military Mermite Can With A Some Lights Glued On Front
Image credits: Luniticus
#15 Dark Crystal Used A Die Cast Tie Fighter For This Foe’s Eye
Image credits: ecto_27
That very same lightsaber, repurposed from household items, was later sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a collection of Star Wars memorabilia. So never underestimate the impact a well-made DIY prop can have on your wallet if the movie is successful.
“This subreddit is about props being repurposed from everyday household or commercial items, things we interact with on a day-to-day basis being transformed and used as something else on screen,” the r/Thatsabooklight subreddit presents itself to those who happened to wander into its domain.
#16 [tv] In Netflix’s Lost In Space  The Military Crew Members Wear A $65 Foam Airsoft Vest
Image credits: Ford117
#17 Batman’s Boots In Batman Returns Are Just Air Jordan 6s With An Extended Top And Foam Glued On. The Sole Even Still Has The Jordan Logo
Image credits: Chief-Queef
#18 That’s An Escalator
Image credits: Collinnn7
“It’s fascinating on both the amazing and the absurdly bad ends, so we welcome it all here. Please do abide by the rules, though. They are there for a reason,” the moderators explain.
Having been founded back in January of 2015, the subreddit celebrated its 6th birthday just recently. In this time, they’ve amassed over 93.3k dedicated members who adore getting a behind-the-scenes glance at how movies are made.
Any newcomers really ought to have a read through the rules. There aren’t too many of them, they’re pretty clear, and they help the community stay friendly and keep the content at an ‘Awesome’ setting at all times.
#19 The “Gps Transponders” Carried By Faraday And His Science Team On Lost Are Multi-Function Emergency Car Tools
Image credits: NotPennywisesBoat
#20 That’s An Echo Mic
Image credits: blondepianist
#21 In The Fifth Element (1997), The Detonator The Mangalore Captain Uses To Destroy The Cruise Liner Is A School Locker Padlock
Image credits: tipothehat
“All props must be repurposed in some way. An airplane belt used as a belt for pants is okay. An unmodified lamp used as a lamp is not okay,” the moderators write on the subreddit’s main page. However, they do have one exception to this rule: you can go nuts on ‘Found A Prop’ Fridays.
Like all great Reddit communities, r/Thatsabooklight encourages people to “be excellent to each other” (I’ll let you in on a secret—this exact phrasing is what personally won me over). “This rule ranges from hate speech and bigotry to off-topic slapfights, spam, and derailments. Be excellent to each other. Remember that there’s a human there you’re interacting with. Remember that breaches of this rule will be handled at mod discretion. And remember… to party on dudes!!”
#22 James Bond’s Ticker-Tape Watch In “The Spy Who Loved Me” Prints Out Dymo Label Spray Painted Silver
Image credits: copperwatt
#23 [tv] The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 1 – The Vessel For The Drink Handed To Cobb Is Actually A Sea Urchin Shell
Image credits: Pentax25
#24 In The End Credit Scene Of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Taneleer Tivan (The Collector) Drinks His Martini From An Alessi ‘Big Love’ Ice Cream Bowl
Image credits: brightgreyday
Avoiding reposts is another rule. Whenever you can, you should avoid reposting the same content that was featured on the subreddit recently. Sure, some people might not have seen it, but rehashing old stuff constantly isn’t how you win over hearts and minds. Or, as the moderators put it, “That’s not cool, man. That’s piggybacking. That’s kind of a jerk move. Don’t do it.”
Trolls and spammers aren’t welcome on the subreddit, but we don’t believe that there are any Pandas out there who’d do that! Keep it fun, friendly, creative, and light. If it’s not excellent, why post it?
#25 [tv] Mandalorian Season 1, Friend Just Started It And Sent Me Proof That This Mechanic’s Tool Is Actually A Thermometer!
Image credits: adamskaocelote
#26 Watchmens (TV) Interrogation Chamber Remote Is A Dyson Fan Controller
Image credits: jimbolimboboy
#27 The Guns In Terra Nova (TV 2012) Are Spray-Painted Nerf Guns
Image credits: Go_For_Jesse
Now, if you’re itching to post about a repurposed household item prop on the subreddit, keep in mind that there’s a certain standard to uphold. “Please specify first whether your prop is from [Film], [TV], or [Other]. Then if you would please give the title and year of the work, followed by a detailed description of the prop and what it is being used as in the screenshot (in either order).”
An example of this would be: “[Film] In The Empire Strikes Back , IG-88’s head was repurposed from a Rolls Royce Derwent jet engine.”
#28 The Chest Thing The First Order Officer Wears In The Kyle Ren Snl Sketch Is A Pack Of Gum
Image credits: netflows
#29 A Mining Charge In The Expanse Is Just A Small Camping Lantern On A Tripod
Image credits: Cheez_berger11
#30 Equilibrium (2002) Uses A Fresia Sp 200 Aircraft Tug As A Police Car
Image credits: Max_1995
Which of these props that are actually repurposed common items did you enjoy the most, dear Readers? Were there any that shocked you like they did us? Do you have any advice on how to unsee these and stop looking for household objects in movies and TV shows from now on? Go on, drop us a line or two in the comment section below. We always enjoy reading what you have to say.
#31 Jawas In The Mandalorian Have Volkswagen Fuel Injection Rails. I Recognized Them Immediately (Jumping Up From The Couch And Startling My Wife). I Replaced Dozens Of These During A Recall In 2013
Image credits: spannerboy69
#32 Here Have A Parts List For Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber
Image credits: GrandAdmiralSpock
#33 Automated Trash Bin In Firefly Runs Windows 2000
Image credits: drevils
#34 Stargate Sg-1: Season 2, Episode 22 — The Futuristic Device Used By The Doctor Is A Nose And Ear Hair Trimmer
Image credits: MicrowavedSoyBacon
#35 In Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 5, They Use A USB Male Adapter As A Projector
Image credits: reddit.com
#36 This 70’s Vintage Coleman Catalytic Camping Heater In The Mandalorian Ep. 1.07
Image credits: PARKOUR_ZOMBlE
#37 Found This Beaut On Resident Evil: Retribution. Back When Fitbits Were Sci-Fi Af
Image credits: Jonyijoe
#38 [tv] The Expanse S2e8  This Plant Scanner Thing Is A Mosquito Repeller
Image credits: KiloSierraDelta
#39 My Thumb Drive Made It Into The Video Game Call Of Duty Modern Warfare! Had To Call My Mom And Tell Her Right Away
Image credits: 17gatesh
#40 The Guards In Total Recall (1990) Had Fancy Scifi Wrist Computers That Were Just Calculators
Image credits: Mouthmouthmouth
#41 [film] The Last Starfighter (1984) The Universal Translator Attached To Alex’s Collar Is A Seiko LCD Watch Circuit Board
Image credits: TheOfficialNotCraig
#42 The Podracing Crowd In ‘The Phantom Menace’ Was Really 450,000 Q-Tips Being Blown About
Image credits: Darklyte
#43 The Expanse S04e01 – The Oxygen Mask Is A Revisited Surface Snorkeling Mask
Image credits: Jaeger767
#44 This FBI Dexterity Year From Bones Is Just Perfection Sideways
Image credits: Agent37330
#45 In Avengers, (2012) A S.h.i.e.l.d. Agent Uses A Camera Tripod As A Weapon
Image credits: wexford001
#46 IKEA Ps 2014 (Aka Deathstar Lamp) In Picard
Image credits: LinguisticallyInept
#47 Qui-Gon Jinn’s Communicator Was A Gillette Razor
Image credits: Frandelor
#48 [tv] The Expanse S03e06 16:46 Out Of The “Toys” For The Kids On Io, One Of Them Is An Octopus Clothes Hangar From IKEA
Image credits: RCMasterAA
#49 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) The Snow Speeder Pilot Straps Have Bubble Wrap On Them
Image credits: Murphthegurth
#50 In Meet The Fockers (2004) The ‘Nanny Cam’ Used By Jack Is The Lid From A Uni-Ball Pen
Image credits: calxlea
#51 [the Fifth Element] The Mugger’s Rifle Is A Polish Cold War Era Grenade Launcher With Two Ak-47 Magazines Glued To The Barrel
Image credits: Jaximumpower
#52 Jannah’s “Energy Bow” In The Rise Of Skywalker Is Simply Two Bows Stuck Together
Image credits: Azazel_fallenangel
#53 My Dad Gave Me Some Old Cameras And Equipment Today. The Flash Looked Familiar
Image credits: Bhuinga
#54 Those Hi-Tech Cybermen Hands? Silver-Painted Cricket Gloves
Image credits: Methuen
#55 Just Realized I’ve Been Wearing My Headset Wrong For Years Now. Thank You Bungie For Clearing This Up!
Image credits: batcheze
#56 When You’re Watching The Mandalorian And You Spot That Hi-Lift Jack Base…
Image credits: Swabian
#57 In The Phantom Menace A Plastic Lacrosse Scoop Is Used For Decoration
Image credits: Pentax25
#58 In Firefly E9 “Ariel,” The Body Transport Box Is A Thule Pulse Cargo Carrier
Image credits: TittyMongoose42
#59 Total Recall – 1990: The High Tech Communicator Shown On The Soldier’s Wrist While He Is Trying To Hold Onto The Rail After The Dome At The Mars Colony Cracks Is A Calculator
Image credits: sqwerllking
#60 A Foam Roller As A Futuristic Space Pillow In Vagrant Queen S1e5.
Image credits: MorganRTJ
#61 Phone Cases Uses On A Hatch In Doom Annihilation
Image credits: ManSpaniel_
#62 This “Creature” On Endor Is A A Deer Rear With Eyes And Teeth!
Image credits: Chuck_Longshanks
#63 William Shatner Brandishes A Camera Tripod Like A Scifi Gun On His 1977 Album Cover
Image credits: Rob_T_Firefly
#64 How Cool Is That….
Image credits: 5yncr0
#65 I Think I’ve Found This Sub’s Holy Grail: K-13 Security Robot From Brooklyn 99
The main housing is a Dyson AM10 Humidifier with the clear tank painted white and has two Netgear Arlo Security Cameras mounted to the sides. Inside the ring there is an Unknown security camera mounted to an Andoer Zifon YT-260 Remote Control Motorized Pan Tilt Head, which is sitting on a custom-made black base with vent holes and 6 LEDs.
Finally, the upper assembly is attached to an AIRMEGA 400S Air Purifier that has had it’s legs cut off in favor of some tank treads.
Not-so-ninja Edit: looks like there were issues in the links I was trying to pull for the items I ID’d; maybe I’m not shadowbanned after all!
Image credits: HurtlockersGuide
#66 Stasis Pod In The Expanse Is A Car Roof Box
Image credits: bobbagum
#67 Legion Season 1 Episode 8 Uses A Novation Circuit As A Sci-Fi Controller
Image credits: josecouvi
#68 Ig-88’s Head In Star Wars Episode V Is A Repurposed Combustion Chamber From A Rolls Royce Derwent Jet Engine, Like This One Found By Me On My Local Beach
Image credits: ConnorXfor
#69 In Lost Ep 413, A Character Has A Heart Monitor Strapped To His Arm. Is This A Korg Guitar Tuner?
Image credits: reddit.com
#70 In Game Of Thrones S8e4 Dany’s Chalice Is Just A Starbucks Coffee Cup
Image credits: bdd1001
#71 [film] Breach, 2020. The High-Tech Pannels In The Cryobay Are TV-Packing Styrofoam Blocks. That Might Be The Worst “Booklighting” I’ve Ever Seen So Far
Image credits: Clayman8
#72 Power Rangers Turbo: Bomb Placed On Phantom Ranger Ship Is A Tmnt Toy With A Few Water Bottles.
Image credits: bluereptile
#73 The Spy Next Door (2010) Jackie Chan Uses A Dymo Letratag Handheld Label Maker To Program A Satellite
Image credits: deepspacetraveller
#74 The Flash S06 E05 – The Projector On Cisco’s Holocube Is A Cheap Fisheye Lens For Smartphone Cameras
Image credits: nickdrones
#75 Hp Print Cartridge Humidor In The Phantom Menace
Image credits: bradthelesser
#76 This “External Gyro-Sensor” In Farscape (Season 3 Episode 6, 2001) Is A LEGO Slizer/Throwbot Arm And A Compass
Image credits: indign
#77 Anyone Noticed That The Door Lock Thingy Is Just A Wireless Charger From Aliexpress?
Image credits: Its_Reinis
#78 The Muzzle On Max In The Opening Of “Fury Road” Is A Garden Fork Without The Handle. It Works For The Style Of The Wasteland, Where Everything Is Recycled
Image credits: MRR1911
#79 Salt And Pepper Shakers In Enterprise Are Actually Tea Infusers
Image credits: DoctorCreepy
#80 Control Device In “Alien Resurrection” Is A “Lights Out” Handheld Game
Image credits: jbomb1080
#81 [tv] Monk, 2006. In Mr. Monk And The Big Reward, They Said This Was A Voice Stress Analyzer. It’s Actually A Psp
Image credits: miamismartgirl09
#82 The 2015 Sci Fi Show “Zoo” Used A Serval As A “Leopard Cub”
Image credits: WhiskeyOnMyBreath
#83 Mandalorian Gun Easter Egg
Image credits: Dotsonmac
#84 This Stargate Sg-1 Pistol Is A Sawed Off Nintendo Zapper
Image credits: Marik_Bathory
#85 The Speaker On Addy’s Radio In Z Nation Is The Air Intake On A Hair Dryer
Image credits: RedKibble
#86 [tv] In Netflix’s Lost In Space  A Holee Roller Dog Toy Is Used As A Futuristic Space Soccer Ball
Image credits: katzenjammer360
#87 They Used A Cpu Heatsink As An Alien Explosive Device In Agents Of Shield S07e13
Image credits: NeonHD
#88 The Phone In The Fifth Element Are Two Sony Rm X4 Car Stereo Remote Control Units Stuck Together
Image credits: LowlyRatKiller
#89 On Miracle Workers The Penis “Pump O-Tron” Is An Optical Comparator
Image credits: mcfly54
#90 In Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018), The Controls For The Quantum Dive Ship Are A Logitech/Saitech X52 Hotas
Image credits: lemings68
#91 Bruce Waynes High Tech Equipment Apparently Includes Playstation Glove Controllers For Crime Fighting (Gotham, S5, E11)
Image credits: vekoder
#92 In Arrow, Felicity Uses A $1.99 Pill-Cutter Sans Razor And With An LED Ran Through It To “Analyze” A Substance Found At A Crime Scene (It Output Info To Her Computer Instantly)
Image credits: WhiskeyOnMyBreath
#93 Swat Uses A Fake (No Markings) Red Dot Scope With A Sunshade As A Fictional “Laser Microphone”
Image credits: Max_1995
#94 [tv] The Expanse S03e07 Spacecraft Greeble Is A Laptop Cooling Pad
Image credits: phenry
#95 [film] In Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century (1999) The Door Access Panels Are Actually “Wizard,” A Simon-Says-Esque Game Developed By Vtech
Image credits: Sedvig
#96 The Controls For The Death Stars Super-Laser Is A Grass Valley TV Switcher
Image credits: honorface76
#97 The Flight Sticks In The Razor Crest’s Cockpit From The Mandalorian Are Thrustmaster T.16000m Fcses
Image credits: Blackhawk510
#98 The Mars Colony Replicator From Star Trek: Picard (S1 E2) Is A Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer!
Image credits: zbowling
#99 The Mandalorian S1e01. Black & Decker Thermal Leak Detector Used As An Id Scanner
Image credits: PaleBlueMeanie
#100 [tv Prop] All The Blasters Used By Bill Burr’s Character Mayfield In Episode 6 Of The Mandalorian (2019) Are Modified .22 Ruger Mk III Pistols, Possibly In Homage To Burr’s Extensive Standup Routine About 22 Caliber
Image credits: autoposting_system