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Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Digest Number 6

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  • Sarah P
    Hello there! This is The Raven. I m new to this e-group thing, but already I think I like it. Sort of like a chat room but it s e-mail. ^_^ You work with
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 9, 2000
      Hello there!

      This is The Raven. I'm new to this e-group thing, but already I think I
      like it. Sort of like a chat room but it's e-mail. ^_^

      You work with 4-H? Wonderful! I used to be in that club, even went to
      Nationals with Dairy Judging one year. Wish my county had've done horses,
      but it's small and isn't much of a farming county anymore like it was when I
      was there. Gee, that was only 6 years ago--how fast a place builds up!

      Anyway, I've got an idea for you about armor. I'm not sure if it would
      work, since I never have a chance or reason to build it (our theatre company
      doesn't often go for the flashy or unusual with its season choices), but
      here it is:

      Naugahide is wonderfully heavy-gauge vinyl used with upholstery and can be
      sewn into most shapes. Spray-paint with metallic paints or with a solution
      of white glue and bronzing powder, which can be aged by adding black paint a
      little at a time until desired color is reached. Gold turns to bronze or
      antiqued gold, silver into tarnished silver (highlight with un-adulterated
      silver), and copper the same. Adding decoration can be done with hot-glue,
      if it isn't too hot, and this can also be painted. Paint comes last. Fake
      jewels can also be hot-glued on. Naugahide can be found at JoAnn's,
      Hancock's, or any local fabric store that sells upholstery fabric.

      Leather is also a wonderful metal-substitute, so I've heard, because it
      paints well, can be shaped to any shape, and is stiff like metal when it
      isn't suede and is of a higher gauge than 4oz. weight. Tandy Leather
      Factory and other leather suppliers sell this stuff. Problem is, it's
      expensive. I'd love to use it for mask-work, but never have the budget.

      A heavy felt can also be used for armor-making--with a little help from
      every theatre costumer's friend: Sculpt-o-Coat! This stuff is a
      concentrated form of Elmer's white glue and is so thick it can stand up on
      its own. Dries clear, can be textured or smooth like glass (or metal) and
      stiffens any fabric. Thick felt is good for absorbing shock, such as sword,
      fist, mace, or whatever middle-ages weaponry can dish up--if it isn't real,
      i.e. made for stage. Paint like naugahide.

      Another substance I love and work often with is Thermoplastic, a type of
      "fabric" that's cheesecloth imbedded in a hot-glue or plastic matrix. It's
      as hard as Tupperware, not very bendable, and can be cut and formed to any
      shape. It comes in huge rolls, like fabric rolls. To form it, take a
      heat-gun and heat the thermoplastic until it softens (but NOT until it turns
      clear!!). Remove the heat and shape as soon as it cools enough to touch
      without being hot enough to burn and work until it won't stick to itself
      anymore. Seams can be made by heating two edges and sticking together
      edge-on-edge and smoothing the heated plastic. This also works for getting
      rid of creases and unwanted folds. Shave with exacto-knife and heat and
      smooth edges. Finish the piece with Sculpt-o-Coat or several layers of
      Elmer's glue--enough to get rid of the fabricy texture and paint. A
      hair-dryer set on its hottest setting might work too, but might take longer
      to soften the plastic. Hot-glue can be used to stick two pieces together,
      but it doesn't work as well as re-heating the points you want put together.
      Make sure everything is the way you want it before painting or coating in
      glue! ((CAUTION: heat-guns are extremely HOT. **I cannot emphasize this
      enough!!!!** The air coming out of one is hot enough to fry an egg with in
      only a minute or less--and crisp it. I've singed the dryer in the laundry
      room once or twice with our gun and accidentally sat it on a plastic surface
      and a piece of paper towel before realizing where it was--melted the plastic
      and charred the paper where it touched. NEVER touch the metal end of the
      heat-gun! And NEVER let it touch anything remotely combustible or meltable!
      But they are wonderful for achieving great melting of things and for
      working Thermoplastic!))

      Paper doilies and such things can also be used for texturing and are much
      less expensive than placemats and netting for getting decorative texturing
      on flat surfaces. Again, Elmer's sticks everything together and paint
      covers all. I saw a BEAUTIFUL headress/mask at the SouthEastern Theatre
      Conference a couple of years ago that was covered in cut-out doilies that
      had been applied to the colored helmet surface and were painted a shining
      gold. Antlers had been made of tree branches with Spanish Moss made from
      surging thread that had been surged back and forth on a 3, 4, or 6 thread
      surger on something like transfer paper or a thin backing or some sort that
      could be pulled away from the thread without leaving clumps or bits. I
      don't remember what had been used when we made the costume for Caliban in
      Shakespeare's "Tempest". I think there's some sort of stuff that looks like
      a thin plastic that disolves in water. I don't know what it's called.

      I hope this helps you. I know the felt thing and the paper doilies works
      well, and the bronzing powder in white glue with paint for dulling and
      shading. Thermoplastic also works, as does leather. Naugahide is easier to
      get, but I can't think of a way to stiffen it further. It's odd stuff. And
      with chainmail I'm clueless. Wish I could help more. Have fun.


      ^_^ (Raven is the name I go by when working at Girl Scout summer camp. The
      tradition is that the kids have to guess the counselor's name by the end of
      the week and the first one to get the right name gets to keep the secret--or
      can blab it to the rest of the camp, whichever.)
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