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Painting muslin...

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by jowens, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. jowens

    jowens Member

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    Location:
    Centerport, New York, United States
    Hi Everyone!
    This is probably an easy one...
    Our fly space is such that it's not possible to pull a drop all the way out, without finding a way to roll or fold it back. This generally hasn't been a problem in the past... but for our current production, it's going to need to disappear. So, I was thinking of a way to rig it so that the pipe in the bottom would be brought up and attached to the batten, making the drop 1/2 the height. My TD seems to think that this will ruin the paint that will be applied...My questions are:
    1)Will this crack the paint off? (It won't be a sharp fold)
    2)How important is using the argo gloss starch before painting
    3)If using the starch, should the fabric still be primed, and does it help the fabric hold the paint any better, or prevent the cracking?
    4)Being on a budget (H.S. production)what is the best paint to cover a 50x16 drop - planning on using latex based paint.. thoughts?

    Basically, I really have no "art" background and know very little about this.
    Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.

    ~Joe
     
  2. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Active Member

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    Location:
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    1) the paint should be ok. it's when you get multiple (6 or more) layers that you should worry about cracking.
    4) latex should work alright for your purposes, however, i recommend a coat of base first, just to get something more solid on the muslin rather than just the fabric itself.
    hope that helps.
    as for 2 & 3, sorry, i really can't help there.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Answers to 2&3 depend on whether or not you desire a transparent or opaque drop. For the latter, I would do both. Light starch, slightly thinned primer.
     
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  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Using startch is really a hold over from the days of Casien glue and dry pigments. Priming the muslin with a thinned coat of latex primer worked well into fabric will serve the same purpose. As stated earlier unless this is the 6th or seventh coat of paint the chances that it will crack are extremely slim to non-existent.
    This particular rigging technicque has been used in houses like yours for a very long time. I've always heard it referred to as "tripping" a drop to overcome grid height limitations.

    Oh and as for the use of stach on old drops I was always under the impressionit was used as size as it would allow the paint to bond and yet you could later scrub off the paint if you needed to re-use the drop. Washing drops like this is not fun.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
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  5. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I love the smell of mildewed muslin drops in the morning...smells like...cancer.
     
  6. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Not nearly as bad as when the paint shop is doing intricate detail work covering a whole drop with Casein
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Casein paints are fine, until they go bad in the can.:( Whoever thought painting with dairy products would be a good thing?
     
  8. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    I've done this countless times (the joys of spending my student days in a theatre where the height from fly gallery to grid was nearly five feet less than the height from stage to gallery!) and never had any problem with paint cracking, so long as there's not multiple coats of paint on the drop. Have you figured out the best way to "trip" the drop yet? Apologies if I'm teaching you how to suck eggs, but the way I've always done it is with thin string (Spectra line is best, but expensive!) tied to the tailpipe (you will have to punch small holes in the tail pocket to do this) and running up to the head batten, through a pulley tied to the batten, along the batten, through another pulley (more than one if it's a long run) and then tied off to the flyfloor handrail with just enough tension to keep the line taut. You want to do this with the cloth at show height so that it flies in properly; then when you fly the cloth out, the line will pull the bottom of the cloth up automatically. Just make sure you use pulleys that can cope with the line - I've seen trip pulleys chewed through to the axle by the line, which causes big problems! On a 50 foot wide drop I'd probably use four trip lines; obviously once they get to the end of the batten you can tie them together so you only have one line running to the handrail.
     
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