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Sizing issues--wrinkles with muslin flat

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Karla Penechar, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Karla Penechar

    Karla Penechar Member

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    Hi, I am having issues with wrinkles after sizing a muslin flat. Details: 4' x 8' 2x4 frame. Muslin glued to frame and outside edges, left the muslin slightly loose (just touching floor in the center when laid down). After it dried to the frame, we sized with 50-50 glue (Elmers' white school glue) and water mixture. Tightened up during application, but then dried wrinkled. I thought the kids (HS students) just didn't saturated the flat enough, so I resized. Dried wrinkled. Anyone know why this happened? Can I fix this without starting over?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Van Have you any suggestions for new poster @Karla Penechar ??
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm guessing it might be "Poly-cotton" muslin rather than 100% Cotton Muslin. The Polyester keep the fabric from shrinking. But that looks SERIOUSLY wrinkled like way too much muslin on the ground when covering. it really should be about a 2 or three square inch area in the middle of each 'bay'.

    The only advice, other than completely re-cover, would be to douse it with extremely hot water to see if that would help.
     
  4. Karla Penechar

    Karla Penechar Member

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    Thank you! The muslin stated it was 100% cotton. I checked, because, I thought maybe that might be the case. I also wondered if the glue being "school glue" has less adhesive? I haven't tried the hot water--I will do that next.
     
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  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hmmm, no the school glue is fine. Best actually, regular white glue, which seems to be getting harder and harder to find, is what you want to use. And yes, use hot water and work it in, brushing against and with and across the bias.
     
  6. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    @Van just curious but would using one of those fabric steamers have any affect?
     
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  7. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    With a 2x4 frame, that is a seriously heavy 4x8 flat. Any special reason you didn't use the usual 1x3 for the framing? Just curious.
     
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  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    John, It might, but I find the condensation from Steam evaporated too quickly most of the timefor a full sized flat. Steamers do work great on Scrims where the weave is looser.

    I didn't see the part where it was 2x4 framed. That would probably be why it's so loose. having the muslintouching in the middle of an open space when the edge is 1.5" high as opposed to .75" high makes it a lot more material to have to shrink up. If that's the case then I would say your best bet is to remove the cover <thank goodness for using water based glue> Re-cover it, you can use the same piece of muslin but pull it almost all the way tight, then re-size.
     
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  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Why size with white glue and water? Why not use laundry starch?
    Then paint with animal glue and dry pigment.
    Olde skuul 4 evar!
     
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  10. curtis73

    curtis73 Member

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    I never got glue wash to do the trick quite right, but I'm no master at Muslin flats. I've built several, but I have always used starch.

    I will echo Van's assessment of the 1.5" versus .75". I tend to err on the side of too tight. I had to build some 5x8' Muslin flats for a show that had to stay translucent for a backlighting effect, which also means they couldn't have a lot of cross bracing. I basically made a 5x8 box of 1x4 flat framed with typical 1/2" ply triangle corner gussets and left it wide open. Stretched the Muslin to that it just touched the floor in the middle. I thought for sure I would size it and come in the next morning to find my frame had become toothpicks, but to my surprise it had only bowed in the edges about 1/4". Ever since then, I don't worry about getting it too tight.
     
  11. Bob Musser

    Bob Musser Member

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    This takes me back! One tip that's always stuck with me, even after a couple decades of hard flats is, when using white glue, remember not to wet the muslin that's glued to the frame when you're sizing or priming the flat. White glue isn't waterproof, and if you wet the frame area at the same time as the body, the glue can soften and allow the muslin to slide. After sizing and priming, it's usually sealed enough that you don't have to worry about it, especially if you're using modern paints, though its best to let dutchmans dry thouroghly before painting the entire flattage assembly. Also agree with the other posters that with 2x4 frames, the muslin was probably too loose to begin with if you let it touch the floor. With 1x3 frames, I always stretched the muslin tight enough that it would touch the floor with the weight from a quarter or 3/8" washer in the middle of the bay on a 3' or 4' wide flat.
     
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  12. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to disagree, but in my time I've built literally hundreds of muslin flats and the only danger from the muslin sliding off the frame is if you don't let the white glue holding it dry thoroughly (preferably overnight). If you don't size the muslin covering the frame (after the glue has dried), that portion will take your base coat differently than the sized portion. In fact, most paint has enough glue in it to shrink the muslin without a size coat anyway, but the muslin will absorb more of the paint. The size coat serves to seal the surface and make painting easier. Or maybe I am mis-interpreting your process.
     
  13. Bob Musser

    Bob Musser Member

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    I'm probably still working on my first hundred muslin flats, and not likely to go much higher, since we switched to hard flats in the mid-90's, so I'll defer to the voice of experience. The process I laid out was how I was trained, and nothing in my experience with white glue (or non-waterproof carpenters' glue) led me to doubt that it could slip when re-wetted, considering how easily it will wash out of work clothes or a paintbrush after it's dried even after days or weeks. Never really experimented with the process, since "nothing succeeds like success." We always sized the muslin over the frame; it was a separate step so the unglued body and the frame portion were never wet at the same time. Agree on paint for sizing. Dry laundry starch was hard to come by on the west coast even back in the 70's, and I remember the shop when I was in college used wheat paste for sizing, but when I started running my own shop, I soon switched to watered down latex paint, and then just straight paint.
     
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  14. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I do hope she comes back and tells us how it went.
     
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