Making a Clamshell

Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Location
Sydney, Australia
SO! I'm working on a Production of "The Little Mermaid," and in one of the scenes we have the Sea Witch come out with a Clamshell :?: :!: :?:

So we're reading the script over the weekend and the director looks at me and says "Hey! You can build that for us!"

It needs to be about 1m wide and about 80cm tall, (Sorry for those who don't use metric!), must be able to open, needs to have some space inside to hold some small(ish) props, AND needs to have a light source inside.

The light source is no problems, I'll just rig up a few high-intensity LEDs inside - the audience only sees the backside of the "shell."

My question is - any ideas on possible construction methods/materials?

I leave this in your capable hands,

Cheers,
Patch. :lol:
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Papier Machae. Use a chicken wire frame, withs some inner wire supports, and put papier machae over the whole thing. Really thick. I made a huge egg with it once. Worked great.
 

soundman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
Here is how I would do it:
cut a few pieces of 3/4" 1 meter by 40 centimeters 8 or 10 should do. They will be the structural supports. I would think about how the shell was going to be opened and closed. I would cut a notch in the pieces of ply about ¾” by 1 ½ ” this will allow a ripped down piece of 1*4 to fit there which will allow the plywood to be spaced out along it and also provide a place to attach a hinge.

If you have been playing along you should have a top and bottom piece with pieces of ply attached at equal distances. Now you put on or artistic hat and make the rectangles into a claim shell I would use a magic marker to draw the curves and ridges then detach the pieces of ply. Using a jig saw or a band saw cut along the lines and reassemble. Now you should have a top and a bottom wire frame-ish clamshell. Depending on your budget you could use chicken wire and papermache, while being lightweight it is rather brittle. If you have a few more bucks (or euros) there is a fabric called fosshape. When steamed fosshape hardens. I have used it to make the plant from little shop of horrors. We just chicken wire to get the shape we wanted then covered it with fosshape and painted it. Fossshape will be more durable.

If you have any questions I can try and clear it up.
 

Users who are viewing this thread