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Castle-esque

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by CynicWhisper, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. CynicWhisper

    CynicWhisper Member

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    Okay, so I'm trying to design a set for Beauty and the Beast. And of course, I am having serious issues with how to make lauan and 2x4's look like a stone castle. I know that some serious painting will be required, but also, I know I need to add some dimension, I just can't figure out how.

    I've been trying to figure out how to make it look ornate or at least vaguely cooler than the average hs show.

    I've been looking at this picture as a bit of a base for how I want all this to look.

    [​IMG]

    I want to add those little ornate bits on the windows and possibly gargoyles. I'm also thinking for railings and other random bits of decoration, I'm afraid they'll look like blobs of cat-excrement if we try to use paper mache.

    Any ideas? Pictures from your shows? Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Scenic dope. Do a search. It will give you some texture to play with. Also, you might want to overlay elements with blue/pink/gray foam and start carving (surefoam shaper is a big help here...)
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Repeating geometric solid shapes of blue foam, glued to the luaun. [user]Van[/user] says to use paintable latex caulk as the adhesive. Depending on the steadiness of the hand, the caulk might even be used for some of the details. Don't work about the paint job, the Lighting Designer will fix it!:twisted:
     
  4. superdoo

    superdoo Member

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    Carving foam is the easiest way to add dimension. A hot foam knife, some files and sand paper (and I guess some imagination) goes a long way.
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Vacuform! You may not be able to do it your self, but it isn't terribly expensive and you can buy preformed sheets with all sorts of brick or stone patterns. Then all you do is paint and staple them to set. Very light weight, doesn't crush and fall apart like foam, and it is even reusable.

    You may also try taking homosote and cutting it into the shapes you want, then splitting it in half. This give a really cool, stony texture, and you get two bricks/stones for each one you cut out (cause you split them in half). It is also pretty easy to paint homosote.
     
  6. thelightingmancan

    thelightingmancan Member

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    You can also use "Great Stuff," available at your local hardware store, it is cheap, and you can carve it or mold it. You can paint most of the kinds they make, but check the can. This will expand quite a bit, so use sparingly, and if it didn't go far enough, add more and it will form together. Also, when worn, it has a limestone-like color, so you might not need to paint it at all.
     
  7. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    For my school's production of Dracula we had a giant 40'x19' castle flat that we made. Our painter painted amazingly realistic stones on it, but because the show was dark and dim in its concept, the 3rd dimension wasn't very important. We lit it just enough to see the stone, but not enough to notice the 2 dimensionality. Depending on your take on the show (dark, happy etc.) this might be something to consider, rather than the painstaking work of detailing.
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Great stuff can get pretty expensive. I built a rock about 3 foot high with wood and chicken wire covered with great stuff. If I remember right it took like 10 cans at like $6 a can. It's great if you are doing small things but not for big set's.

    You can buy the two part foam liquid mix and make your own great stuff... I think Home Depot carries it. Or you can get it here on the "core materials and foam" page. It sounds expensive but there's a lot more foam in there than in a can of Great stuff.
     
  9. thelightingmancan

    thelightingmancan Member

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    Two part foam works great, but it is harder to use. If you light a 2D set from the top with a steep drop, you can make a better 3D effect.
     
  10. MaddMaxx

    MaddMaxx Member

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    Foam is the answer: Use "PL" tube glue for the foam to luan join - won't melt foam. Draw stone joins and slit with blade, take outside, wear mask, and run thin torch flame down slits - great effect! You can then use wide flange attachment on torch to distress foam surface for realistic stone surface. Prime with Kilz acrillic or more expensive rosco foam coat before painting. Works best with 2" blue foam sheets. I have replicated the ruins of Petra for an Agatha Cristie play, Camelot, the "Scotish" play, etc...
     
  11. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    No, Seriously, don't. If you happen to burn the foam, which is simple to do using an open flame on foam with little bits dangling, you will be releasing many different toxic chemicals and gasses. Even outside in a well ventilated area this is dangerous and irresponsible. Using flames around foam materials for any reason is dangerous. The only open flame that should be allowed in a scenic shop is for the use of "flaming" the edges of acrylic sheeting, and if you don't know how to do it you shouldn't try until someone with training shows you the proper technique.
    Foam is simple, easy and fun to carve, coat and paint. Run a search on CB using "foam" as a search word. I've posted exhaustively on the subject and I think you might find some of the info interesting and useful < is that bragging?>

    MaddMaxx, I'm not harshing on you. I want you to understand. The technique you are describing works, it's Fast, Fun, and looks good, it's also VERY dangerous and Very Toxic. I was taught how to carve foam with flame the way you are describing and, after too many headaches from fumes and close calls with an open flame, I taught myself and sought instruction from others to learn the carving, coating and painting techniques that I have laid out here on CB.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2008
  12. thelightingmancan

    thelightingmancan Member

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    When you burn the polyurethane foam, you release several gases including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, polyurethane gas, and oxides of nitrogen. You would need an air purifying respirator with a full facepiece to be safe, per NIOSH reccomendations. I would reccomend a supplied air respirator, or an SCBA apparatus for something that releases these gases.
     
  13. Marius

    Marius Active Member

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    Hey, Van,
    I'm getting ready to do a 10' X 12' stone castle wall using foam and etching the individual rocks with a paintbrush and acetone. It's been nearly two decades since I used this technique, but I recall it was very effective, and minmally fumey(is that a word?) You have a good grasp of safety, what do you think of the technique?

    Actually I'd appreciate any input on this.

    Thanks.
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Blue or pink foam, right? Acetone will destroy white foam (although I've done it, and used a spray bottle of plain water to stop the reaction at the right time).

    I propose that using acetone on foam is an acceptable practice, provided:
    One uses a natural bristle paint brush.
    One works outside or in a very well-ventilated area.
    One wears all applicable PPE, including, but not limited to:
    Safety goggles, chemical resistant gloves and apron, respirator, hard hat, HazMat suit, etc.
    No eating, drinking, smoking, littering, or radio-playing at any time.
    Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.
    Stand completely behind the yellow line until you're told it's safe.

    Here's a technique I did once. Cut bricks out of contact paper (color doesn't matter). Apply the bricks leaving the desired mortar lines. Using a brush wider than the mortar lines, paint over every line, horizontals first, then the shorter verticals. Remove all the contact paper, and paint the sheet again, this time using random brushstrokes, and with a drier brush than before. Always have a spray bottle of water handy.
     
  15. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'll let my "Tree Hugger" side show through. On the one hand the acetone technique works well , it's fast, gives decent results, on the other it's needlessly toxic. Acetone is nasty, you should be wearing gloves a respirator, goggles and a tyvek jumpsuit. Are you going to die from short term exposure from one use ? No. I have no idea what toxic fumes/chemicals are created/released when you use acetone to dissolve foam. I can tell you it's a practice I don't allow in my shop. I'm a tried and true believer in just carving. Even a vey large set can be carved out in very little time. I once did a show that was set in Frankenstiens Castle 80 lineal feet of wall by about 22' of height, took 2 day to carve out with an 8 inch grinder equiped with a sanding wheel, Horrible show, Beautiful set. Carving gives you much more control over the end results.
     

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