Out with the new, In with the old.


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This year we're doing "Guys and Dolls" for out spring production. Our main set is the Mission (inside). My question is, what are some ways of making the walls and windows look old. The windows our an Ash white color with mission painted backwards on it, as if looking out of outside, and walls are like a Mustardy yellow color (not my choice). Right now they are painted so that in some spots it looks as if the plaster is falling off and you can see the bricks showing through. What are some other tips. Thanks. It needs to look really dingy and dirty.
One of the summer shows I did had to look like a run down house so the scenic painter did a dirt wash on the floor. I could tell you how she did it because she worked nights but the next morning when we mopped the stage We could not get the **** spots up. Might have been some thined out grey or brown.
dunno how well this would work exactly but you could just throw some dirt on it? We did this last spring and I think we pretty much tried to keep it rather nice looking. But as it seems you've already done painting can do a ton. Maybe put up some curtains on the windows and make them ripped? And if theres any furniture try to "break" it and put in some different legs or something like that so that it looks as if all the pieces were gathered from various places for no money.

We had to create a dingy look for the Smokehouse scene in Oklahoma! and what we did was use a redish brown mix to give the impression of an almost clay-like dirt on the walls. You could probably do this same thing. You may just want to use more brown and water it down to get the effect that it seems like you are going for. You could always try a little sample on a scrap piece of wood to see if it is just right. If it is not what you are looking for, you could always add in other colors such as a shade of orange. I would still suggest thinning it with water.
Why does old and dingy mean there is dirt on the walls? I didnt realize that people walk around there house and throw dirt at the walls lol.

why dont you try a more natural and realistic aproach to ageing the set? how about water stains as if a pipe burst inside the wall but they are too poor to fix it, um or the clasic miss hung paiting kind of falling off its nail but has a discolouration of the wall paper were it should have hung cause its been there so many years.

oooh oohh or how bout you go visit an old building and see what they look like and just replicate it. I bet you wont see dirt on the walls but thats just a guess, um you will probabaly see some old wall paper or paint that has been touched up with the wrong colour a few times, mabey finger prints on the windows or how about a slightly cracked window.

vandalism is good how about some words spray painnted mabey some offensive slogans of the time kinda half painted over as if they didnt have enough paint to finish covering it up

i dont know there are a few ideas; try thinking out side the box of dirt lol

Been a few years but here are some random thoughts I might look into. First of course do a test piece and see what works.

Could take a broom, dip it in a watered down paint and start sweeping the walls and woodwork. All sorts of brooms can come in handy from a wisk broom to street sweeping brush.

I thought I remember something about burning the wood first than staining it. Perhaps bleaching the lumber than staining it with a appropriate say white oak or bleaching stain would work.

The dirty water could work but so could a really watered down burn umber paint wash, than perhaps another watered down wash of black, than perhaps a wash of something else in letting it dry between layers. Bit of mustard etc. Could just be hues and tints of your base color two in washing it out at areas of the woodwork that needs to show wear or dirt.

I'm also a big fan of dry brushing technique for wood graining and not using clear glaze between layers if I want an old look. For the initial layer, perhaps a bleached lumber look and a clear latex glaze over it. Than lightly dry brush on the above colors which will cut down the gloss and flatten it out. Use of a semi-trashed brush so it don't paint well adds the dry brush colors well. Semi-gloss glaze as if old varnish should still to some extent show thru. Save some base coat and dry brush that in also in places or to correct for where the dirt becomes too heavy. This especially if wet mixing in the base coat color in adding it while the layer below is still wet.

Another option might be to add some grey to a hudson sprayer and do a fine mist all over the place - not too heavy at all - in fact slightly less than what seems enough. Tan do another spraying of black, than another of Raw Umber, than another of Burnt Senia, another .... as you work down the line.

Could while each layer is also wet, take that above very stiff/trashed brush or broom and do some graining of the lumber with the mist of paint on the surface droplets. Harder brushing in some places, none at all in others. Otherwise the spray is used to add wear and washing out where the dirt was.

Again some random thoughts. A book called "Recipies for Surfaces" might have otherwise a lot of other ideas.
I like the application techniques ship mentioned. Don’t just use a standard paint brush… use a plastic bag, a broom, a sponge, a rag… you want texture, not smooth layering… anything can be a paint brush. I use a mix of about 30% flat acrylic glaze, 30% paint, 40% water. Don’t mix it fully... leave it uneven When it dries, the paint will be thin and uneven. As for colors, it depends on what your base color is.

One more tip. A great brush for both wood graining and for ageing is the cheapest piece of crap chip brush you can get. The .99 cent bin at Home Depot. Once you have your brush trash it until the bristles are falling out or cut it down with scissors. I had some students do a bunch of base coating of platforms with these crap brushes then I ordered them to not wash them out very well. Once you've got a fully trashed brush you'll be amazed at the texture it allows you to create.

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