Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fabric Shapes and Walls

Many corporate shows seem to be using fabric backdrops with 3-D shapes, with internal lighting. These shapes are also used on show floors as well. While Rosebrand offers some basic shapes and columns, the following three companies are my go to resource when looking for 3D fabric structures.

Pink Inc has flat walls, curves, ripple walls, arches, tunnels, and shapes as well as a few costumes!

Transformit has many of the same products, though they are a little more organic. They can also custom build a piece to your specifications & print on the fabric.

Moss Inc also has a wide variety of shapes, signage and event outdoor tents available.

While many of these things can be built in a shop (either as hard scenery or with frames and fabric) since these places have stock pieces, the engineering and technical development can provide an economic edge to building it yourself.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fosshape & Wonderflex

For a theatrical production that came through, we were tasked with doing a statue. Instead of carving the body and clothes we used Fosshape. It’s a material that can be sewn or glued, and can be shaped with steam or heat, and when the material is cool it maintains its shape. The material can shrink up t 30% though, so allow for that when using the product. Below are a couple of photos from the shop showing the piece we built.

The same company can has a product called Wonderflex, which would work better in situations where you would typically use Fiberglas, carved foam, or paper mache. It is similar to Celastic, but celastic requires immersion in solvents to become moldable, and Wonderflex uses heat instead. For more information on the history of Celastic & props check out Prop Agenda.

Fake Rock and Brick Panels

Making a fake rock isn't uncommon in theatre, and I have done a post previously on options, but of course, as time and projects have past, I have gathered additional options.

This time combing through my files I came across a variety of options:

Superior Rock Solutions which offer panels and classes (on how to use their panels) offer panel as well, in brick, stone, wood, and other textures (like concrete and asphalt). They also have corners. While the panels seem to line up well, they don't go around corners and the columns are pretty obvious.

Antico Elements has a variety of architectural products including stone, rocks, and bricks (stones being smooth, and rocks being rough)and square column wraps. Again, I don't think these would take a corner well (but this is true for vacuformed panels and fiberglass panels as well (like from Warner Brothers). The pulp art panels seem to do corners the best, as they were fairly solid.

Back in the day, we use to cut grooves into blue foam and melt the edges (ah the fumes), but it worked well. For rocks I have seen a variety of built up options - from homosote to chicken wire and crumpled newsprint. We have also tried molds, but it was a fairly expensive process. Recently we have used a cut stencil (representing the mortar lines) & used that to spray texture onto flats (using dryvit for example, and that created a nice texture fairly easily within the shop.

Faking Glass

On some of the TV work I have done, a designer we work with uses Screen Glass when there are windows on set for film. The material also acts as a diffuser. It is provided by Warp’s. Warps carries a variety of other “glass” products that are clear plastic.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Recently we were referred to Formglas for a project we were working on. Formglas can make panels in a variety of textures (we needed large woodgrained forms). I am linking to their technical drawings. While this specific project didn't pan out, I think it would be a good resource for future projects.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

WeldOn Adhesives

I am going through my office and trying to get rid of paper I have accumulated throughout the years. Since this blog is much easier to find a product in than my filing cabinet, I will probably be updating this with products that I have found and used for projects throughout the years.

Today I ran across a file for WeldOn Adhesives, which creates adhesive for vinyl, ABS, Polycarbonate, Styrene, PVC, and Acrylic.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pulp Art Bricks

While working on pricing for an upcoming proposal, I was recommended to check out Pulp Art Surfaces. This company provides brick and stone surfaces (as well as others) either as a finished print that can be applied to a wall, or as a 3-D (approximately 3/16" - 1/4" thick) material made from recycled paper, card board and wood chips. The sheet is raw, so it will still need to have scenic art applied, but the bricks can be easily cut to go around corners. The person making the recommending the product to me prefers it to vaccuform. The price seemed reasonable, though it would quickly add up. While there would be fright charges, there is no additional charge for shipping prep. Take a look the next time you have a design for rock or brick walls.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Project Resource for Teaching Tools

I was browsing the internet looking for ideas for a project for my nephews to make over the summer when they visit. Complicated enough that a 13 year old would be interested, simple enough that I could help the younger kids in the neighborhood through it as well. I started off thinking about either a pine car derby or CO2 cars. Then I found Kelvin Educational. This sight has good prices on pieces if I do decide on cars,, but they have a lot of other cool things too, many geared towards classroom use. Bridges, cranes, catapults, hydraulics, robots, they have a bit of it all. Certainly a resource to use when thinking about how to teach concepts of engineering within the classroom.