||TIPS for Directors
Harmony's Call (WIP)
Aunt Polly's Demise
A Christmas Calamity
The lightweight frames we build are 4' x 8', with a brace across the middle. Bracing the corners is a good idea too--although not shown in this picture.
Then we stretch muslin across the frame.
Staple muslin and cut away excess.
I've tried painting watered-down glue to stiffen the fabric, and I've gone straight to painting. By experience, a sizing like watered-down glue is the best for getting the fabric to be snug. Paint the mixture around the fabric on the frames too.
Allow muslin to dry, and then it's ready to be drawn on and painted!
Example of a painted backdrop with four, free-standing canvas flats:
Example of 10 canvas flats attached together:
Example of a painting on canvas--nailed to the wall:
the flats double-sided,
staple the muslin along one side of the frame, then wrap it around the
other side. Fold the fabric over slightly and pull snug before
stapling. Fold the ends over and staple. Cut off excess
To attach the flats together, bore a hole near the top and bottom of each of the sides of the wooden frames. Using a screw and wing nut with a washer, attach the boards together. To make them stand, build a brace assembly of one 1" X 2" X 4' board and one 1" X 2" X 6' board. Attach these two together with a hinge, forming an angle.
Bore a hole in the side of the 6' board, and here you'll use a screw or nail to secure the upper portion of the 6' board to the inside of the wooden frame. Near the end of the four-foot board, attach a small board--about 1" X 3" on top of it (on the inner side of the angle) for extra-strength, and then using screws or nails, secure this part to the bottom of the flat (on the inner edge.) You'll need a brace for every other flat--and the ends.
After painting a base coat and the flats have dried, stand them up and attach them together. Now they're ready for scenery painting. When that's all done, they can be disconnected and stored or brought to the staging area.
Warning! Once the flats are put together, it is imperative that you place weights on the lower portion of the braces--the area that rests on the floor. Sand bags, cement bricks, heavy rocks, anything with some solid weight. That way, if an actor accidentally kicks the brace in the dark during a scene change--and they will--the wall will not fall down.
Also, before every practice and performance, do a check of the flats and make sure they're secure.
There are quite a few suggestions for other types of flats on the internet, and you are sure to find instructions that will best meet your needs.
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