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spit curtain for little shop of horrors

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Set Design and Construction
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URL: http://www.communitytheater.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1756
Printed Date: 6/18/24 at 4:54pm
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Topic: spit curtain for little shop of horrors
Posted By: adrene
Subject: spit curtain for little shop of horrors
Date Posted: 3/18/06 at 9:17am
We doing Little Shop on a very small stage and need to come up with a
curtain that splits in the middle and shows skid row when shut (the side/
alley of the flower shop). In other words, when the skid row scenes are
on, we'll just pull the curtain shut and the scene will be painted on it.
We'll temporarily take down our regular curtain and replace it with this.

Any ideas about what type of fabric to use? Also, will the paint tend to
crack when the curtain is pulled back (gathered)? And how do we paint
innumerable bricks?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Adrene



Replies:
Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 3/19/06 at 1:03am
G?day Adrene.
The easiest & cheapest fabric to use for painting, is Calico.
Buy it on a roll from a upholstery suppliers, as either unbleached calico, which is cheaper, they is normally use for the under neath of sofas & arm chairs.
Depending on the height & width you need, as either a Tab or one piece Traveller curtain?
Either way roll it out, so the fabrics length is used laterally, rather than horizontal panels. Using a 2 part Epoxy Glue, the panel strips can be joined together as a lap over. Attempt to work out which way they will hang & determine the head & tail of each strip panel edge. Place the tail edge over the head edge on each joint, so the paint won?t collect & be reattained in the seam.
With the seams running laterally across the stage, they can be painted as a mortar course & covered up.
When the curtain is produced, reinforce the head of it with hessian or burlap webbing strip, which can also be epoxy glued on. Obtain a cheap canvas eyelet applicator & punch in eyelets evenly access the length of the header webbing. These only have to be about 1? to 18?? apart, depending on the curtains size.
With the rows of bricks, lay the curtain flat on the stage & use a Chalk Liner, to mark the lateral mortar lines first. Then use ordinary water based paint.
From your post I gather you are going to use an upstage Tab track, rather than your House Rag?s.
If so wind up some cordage on to a piece of ply & cut the cord down one side of the ply. You will end up with short cords to use for ties at the curtain header. Each cord would need to be about 3? long.
Fold the tie cord in half forming a loop in the centre, then push the loop through the eyelet.  With the 2 cut ends of the cord, put them through the centre of the loop. This makes what is known as a ?Larks head? knot on the eyelet, leaving the 2 cut cord ends as pig tail ties to tie off the curtain to each of the tabs on the track. Use an ordinary ?Bow? knot that you tie your shoes up with, because it makes it quicker to undo when the curtain is to be removed, by just pulling one tail end of the Bow to untie.
You can fold a pocket in the tail of curtain to put a chain in, if it needs extra weight to dead hang properly.
The water base paint won?t crack & will fold with the fabric.
 

 

-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: Joan54
Date Posted: 3/20/06 at 8:13am
Just a note on storing painted curtains....don't roll them and certainly don't fold them...find a place to staple them to a wall or leave them hanging. Rolled drops will eventually flatten out and as the paint contracts and expands in the changing weather it will want to remain in the position you left it in.  Learned that the hard way....

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"behind a thin wall of logic panic is waiting to stampede"


Posted By: Joan54
Date Posted: 3/20/06 at 8:17am
Also...about the bricks....mark out straight lines. Don't guess..make sure they are very level, plumb and true. What makes brick look like brick is the uniform lines.  Then get a sponge that is the size of a brick....4" x 12"  3" x 8" .....measure a real brick.   Dip the sponge in paint...wipe off excess and stencil the bricks..just make sure you stay level and square.

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"behind a thin wall of logic panic is waiting to stampede"


Posted By: adrene
Date Posted: 3/24/06 at 4:36pm
Thanks, Joe and Joan, for all the information!

Joe, I have a question: if the seams are running laterally, wouldn't that
cause the fabric to sag? Or does the application of paint stop that from
happening?

Thanks,

Adrene


Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 3/25/06 at 9:09am
Perpendicular seams are a major problem, because with the downward weight of the length of the fabric,. Will cause it to stretch unevenly & pucker. However with the panels hanging horizontally, there is less downward fabric weight, in the width between each panels seam.
Perpendicular panels sewn together, rather than glued, are even worse of course.



-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 3/25/06 at 9:18am
One thing I forgot to mention!
Also with the seams going horizontally on backdrops. These are easier to include, mask  & hide in a painted scene. As the horizon, road or roof top line.

-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: adrene
Date Posted: 4/08/06 at 2:03pm
I have a couple more quick questions:

Joe, when you say ",,,use ordinary water based paint", do you know if
that's what we call "latex" paint in America?

Also, is "calico" the same as "muslin" would be there?

Thanks again,

Adrene


Posted By: Joan54
Date Posted: 4/08/06 at 2:39pm

Calico is muslin.  I have painted on heavy sheets, used tablecloths and canvass.  Any tough, tight woven cloth will do.  Don't paint on synthetics. - they stretch.  Water base is latex.  Acrylic is also latex.  Oil-based paints ( which you should stay away from because when they are dry they are not very flexible) are often referred to as Alkyd paint.  The most important coat of paint is the first one..the primer.  I use Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer.  Coat the entire backdrop ( use a roller) and let it dry uniformly so that it shrinks equally in all directions.  With a good coat of primer you can relax and paint your drop with just about anything you like.  I am fond of felt pens, spray paint and gluing fabric to it with spray adhesive.  Remember to keep walking away from it as you work.  It looks very different from the audience than it does right in front of you.  If you can paint it on the stage you can also see what it looks like with different colored lights on it.  Have fun!  (Sorry if I butted in, Joe,  just a boring day at work and I would rather talk about painting than do what I am supposed to be doing)



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"behind a thin wall of logic panic is waiting to stampede"


Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 4/08/06 at 11:10pm
 Please do Joan!
I tend to forget that we are separated by a common language!
Your right that we call Latex ?water based? or ?Plastic Paint? as a generic term. Which the UK term as being ?Emulsion? paint.
I used bed sheets for drops, but I like the idea of the Table Cloths!
However when I?m skinning flats, I use raw unbleached cotton calico [muslin] because it will shrink more when water is applied, rather than any bleached cotton or fire retardant added fabric, as this will pre shrink it. But for Drops this is not a critical requirement.
However with storing the c drop cloths, I find it easier to roll them up on an old carpet cardboard roller or PVC sewage pipe. Dead hanging or Fly them out, is preferable of course, if you have the space &/or Fly Loft.
Using a Proprietary Brand Plastic Primer works, but in most cases, I find the easiest & cheapest, is ?Wallpaper Size? which is just as good. I just get the ordinary cold water ?Size?, but it has been suggested on another forum. To use the Hot water type for better results. However this is quite a business to keep the pot of Size simmering on a small stove or burner, for it to remain hot & pliable. Because the Hot Size sets while cooling & you end up with a filled pot of a smelly lump of solid Size. Cold Size takes a lot longer to set & is just as solid & smelly, if left out over night. The venue will smell like a load of putrid unwashed socks & everyone will be checking that the smell is not from themselves! however just mix in boiling water & it will render down to be able to use again. Then you don?t have to spray any more air freshener!
Best way is get rid of any left over or seal it up in an air tight container. The same as ?Casein Paint? [a Milk & Egg derived product paint, used for Scrim painting] which goes off, faster than  a dead ?Prawn? in the sun!
Another way to bond the cloths surface is use ?Whitener? which comes in a powder for & can be mixed with water, this is good for Scenic & detailed painting of cloths, which gives a white bond base on the cloth to work with.








-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 4/08/06 at 11:16pm
Sorry Adrene of course most of this post, refers to painting Drop cloths & not tabs or Travelers!

-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: adrene
Date Posted: 4/09/06 at 2:06pm
I'm a little confused: the curtain we want to make will open and close,
creating folds. If we paint on calico/muslin and then trying to open and
close it like a normal curtain, will the paint crack?

Our stage is small and we don't have room to hang the curtain without
having it fold (unfortunately).

Adrene


Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 4/09/06 at 9:52pm
 The more I think about this! Why not just use a Scrim Tab/ Traveller?
This will give the extra option of being able to transpose it with lighting, as well as to Tab it Out & In!
Any see through Scrim Net material will work.
With the scrim on a tab track, run it from one side to the other side of the stage, rather than as a 2 piece tab curtain, as this will give better sight lines & uninterrupted vision, when transposing the lighting.
The wall can be painted on to the scrim. Then when the lighting is put on upstage & reduced down stage, the wall disappears. Reversing the lighting the wall will appear again!
The paint won?t crack & it will fold easier, because the fabric is net.
Use Rosco Saturated paint, which can be diluted up to 15:1 before any appreciable colour loss.
Using a heavily diluted paint, you can spray the block colour on. Either using a domestic vacuum cleaner spray gun or one of those plastic garden spray bottles, with the adjustable spray flow nozzles.
You can do this while the scrim is hung on the tab & after it is dry. Take it down & lay into on the stage to add the brick work.
As suggested by Joan keep it on the square, with the mortar lines.
Use the chalk line for the horizontal lines & an exact brick size.



-------------
      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}




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