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I'm knid of curious about how many high schools and colleges out there actually incorporate floors into their scenic designs. When I was in high school we started doing this my senior year. Now it seems a must. I can't remeber the last show I did with a black floor. It is avery interesting part of the design process and if you have the time and budget to use it at your school definitely consider it.
There are all sorts of paint treatments, carpeting, wood floors, tiles, I have even been involved with a show that took place in a garden, so half of the set was live plants( don't go there unless you absolutely have to).
Floors can do amazing things for the creation of a new world.
We laid down a wood floor, linoleum, and a stone patio for a black box production of Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage at Shepherd College. Let me tell you, laying down a stone patio on a wood floor is not the easiest task in the world!
For me it depends upon the design and the type of space the show is in.
Could be as little as putting a rug on a black deck to infer some kind of flooring.

I have done mostly treatment to the floor, but frequently don't do anything. Depends upon the show plus sometimes how much time I have. My favorite was the stacks and stacks of 12" x 18" tiles of 1/2" MDF plywood that were painted to some kind of stone look that I acquired from a local scene shop for free. Granted we acquired them instead of painting them, but it was easy to paint them than install them, and the thickness added to the scene. Used them on the first show as a stone patio, and cut them up into flagstone shapes for the second production. Big hassle but nice effect. Luckily by the second show we used pneumatic finish nails to attach them because countersinking drywall screw holes was a pain for the first show. Use of low lying haze or fog really helps when using floor treatments when revealing it selectively.

Wood flooring is easy to paint but again, it's a question of the show. Painting such things was part of my scene painting class. Yea I was the only one in scene painting class able to let other people mix my colors. Something about being color blind and having green in all my white or light color mixings.

But back in school, it depended upon the show as to how much we painted the flooring. Three Penny Opera didn't requre painting for instance.
I think it is a really nice effect and truly finishes off the set design. I have done tons of next to impossible floors like herringbon on an arc and in forced perspective. I have done standard hardwood floors running across stage in forced perspective. The coolest floor I ever built was out of plywood and luaun. It was a stone patio. And I made it a giant jigsaw puzzle to make it virtually seamless it was beautiful and well worth the effort.
i agree on the it depends on the show thought. most of our shows we just use the stage's hardwood flooring. there are however times we do have a floor treatment. of course on the small budget that we have to work with, we can't afford things like carpet. so we improvise and "make" our own.
Hello Everyone,
Designer going from Amateur to Professional here... it's a slow process.
Any way, I noticed this chat and think it's awsome for theatre professionals, even if amateur, to share their knowledge. In my short time as a designer I've worked on some cool floors. Many of them thended to be painted masonite. But when I was a Scenic Assistant for "Sweeney Todd" in PCPA, Santa Maria, CA, I learned a cool trick.
If you want texture, ie. we wanted mud with blood stains.
We let the painter, who was also an inter come up with the solution and it woked well. She used a flexible plaster substance (sorry i forgot the name) and mixed the paint directly into it. I'm sure the ratio was more paint than the compound. But it would dry relatively quickly, would crack if left in the sun for awsome "mud" look, and if some of the trowled tips for the texture came off, it was the same color underneath instead of an irritating white.
Just thought I'd share.
Hey look ! I used the Search feature and dredged up a thread from 4 years ago !

So Here's the deal. I was going to ask a question similar to the one that started this thread. How many people actually incorporate floor designs into thier sets? The recent post of pictures from the production of Cats got me thinking. I'm not bashing let me make that clear, All that money on costumes, lights, makeup...... and a bare wood stage floor ??????
In our theatre, which is a black box, there is not a seat that is over 20 feet from the stage. We would never get away with a bare floor, and God forbid a designer give me a drawing with a black floor ! :mrgreen:
So You can uderstand that I spend a LOT of time simply dealing with floor issues. Or present production "The Retreat From Moscow" is a really bizarre floor. It's all 4'x4' stress skins with one edge 2 1/2" off the floor. Yes every 4x4 square is at the same angle, but they all slope in different directions, it's pretty cool. The original floor treatment was going to be Linoleum in the "kitchen" area a wood floor look in the "office" a wood floor and Persian Rug in the "Study" and Syn-Lawn grass in the "Park" area, all the "no-mans land" between each quarter was to be industrial grade grey carpet. Well designer and Director changed minds or something and the designer decided to do a spattered paint treatment on the whole floor. Looks great, only one problem though, < I swear I'm getting around to the point here some time soon> in one scene the Mother, in a fit of rage overturns the kitchen table throwing bowls and spoons all over the floor. Ok we get greenware bowls so they break on impact, easy, however the table flips all the way over landing on top of the shattered bowls. If there are shards, which there are, they get ground into the floor and table top. After one rehearsal there were tons of imbedded shards in the , moments ago, pristine Ash table top. Ok I can refinish a table top easily enough, I don't want to do it every freakin night but maybe once a week will do. The big thing is the floor! I've got Actors walking all over these shattered bowls for the rest of the show. Grinding every single peice of microscopic dried clay into the beautifully painted floor. My issue is this, to fix the floor is going to mean repainting the entire floor, as it's a spatter treatment, at least once a week. Now, I've had similar problems with other sets, other floors. I've tried sealing floors with Roscos clear acrylic glaze, Future floor polish, etc. etc. What do you use ? How do you protect your floors?

I realize this may not be an issue for many of you working in High School and College theatres as youtypically have very short runs. I,however, typically have a seven week run, that is sometimes extended into 8 to 10 weeks. I hope this will stir up some good ideas and maybe we can all learn some stuff.

P.S. As a post script I'll also state that all costumers who refuse to put actors in non-marring soled shoes, or who refuse to add on "no-scuff" heels, should be shot. No not shot, that too easy, Drawn and quatered on a fly rail! Yeah that's much better.:mrgreen:
True, having never done a long run I don't know what it's like to have that level of maintainence on the show. Good luck with that Van.

We just did a world premiere, "The Dada Play", and for it we needed a hardwood floor across our whole stage, US to DS. I was ASM for this show, so I didn't actually help with the painting, but I know that you have to start with painting the lines that represent the planks of wood. To do this you have to use a special tool, kind of like a really big straight edge and just paint on the floor up against it.

Anyways, the ironic part about painting the wood floor is this. We have a stage floor that is painted black, BUT underneath of that, is real hardwood!:)
Ahh Floors. In my days teaching High School I fought every year for the opportunity to paint the stage floor. It had been a fairly nice wood floor 30 years before when it was last refinished, but it was covered with all kinds of crap. But no way would they let me paint it.

Then I moved on to my current position at the college. Except we still don't have a theater. We've been performing most of our shows in this ball room with a carpet that has this pattern that makes you dizzy if you look at it more than 10 seconds.

BUT next year we will have our own black box so I'm going to have to get back in the business of floor treatments in a hurry. I did a bunch of them in college but I'm a bit rusty.

Anyway as for your problem Van, It sounds like it might be a little late for this but if you covered the floor in masonite and then pulled that one section out and replaced it. You could have a couple panels all painted in the shop ready to go.

I've usually used the Rosco Acrylic. I was talking with some folks at Central WA University last year and they said they were experimenting with a bunch of the products at Home Depot and found a couple that worked great. I'm not sure which brands but they said they've found some products that are cheaper than Rosco and just as effective. BUT That still doesn't solve your problem.

What about using some a product that is designed to have some flex to it but still be tough, instead of the hard shell approach. I'm thinking like a layer of that new Rosco Crystal Gel under your paint. Have you seen the demo sample? The stuff is practically indestructible. It would change the feel of the floor to the actors a bit but it might have enough give that things don't cut into the floor. Probably wouldn't work... but it's really cool stuff.
Being that my high school's auditorium has a stage that's higher than the audience... we've only done flooring for one show in my three years here. We built a "black box" for one show, To Gillian on her 37th Birthday. We had risers and platforms built on the stage and going off the lip, so, obviously, the entire audience could see the stage. Our set was just the corner of a house and a porch, so the rest of the floor was covered in a thin layer of foam covered in a tan colored fabric. We put some sloped pieces of ply underneath to create rises and falls, and voila, beach. It was very cool and though you could see staples up close, once you got more than a few feet away it did look like sand.
New to CB. I am a scenic designer who ends up doing alot of 10-20 weeks of a run. And yes, we paint the floor. Never seem to have the budget to actually use REAL wood or Tile!! WOW:rolleyes:! So I have always painted the "4' x 4' Parquet" panels or old plank floor or brick etc. What I have found best to hold up on those runs is actually semi-gloss paint. If it has time to realllllly cure, befor pps trott on to it:evil:, it will last the run. BUT, I have used the Minwax clear coat (2-3) coats on top to either matt it or to 'up the gloss' depending on the lighting ability and mood. The problem I have had with the Rosco acrylic is expense and it seems to dull the colors of the paint. I found this site because I wanted to find what other pps were doing and I am absolutely in totaly surprise to see that painting the floor to enhance the design is not common.
If anyone knows the absolute best coating please let me know. Thanks!

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