This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 9 months ago by annemcmeeking.

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    I’m doing a series of cut drops that look like this more or less


    This link *should* lead to a picture of one of the model pieces. We’re in a little bit of a time crunch, but I’m looking for any tips, suggestions, etc, especially regarding attaching the netting

     Angelique Powers
      • Experience: 20+ years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

      Member Member

      The biggest 3 tips I have is 1- don’t let them talk you into the cheap black plastic netting. It comes all rolled up and squished into a tiny box and no matter what you do, how much time you give it to relax or sweating it will NEVER want to lay flat. That stuff is horrible.

      2. Take the time and concentrate on keeping the netting square to the drop and nice and flat. You can use a netting stretcher as seen in Crabtree’s Scenic Art book. Or you can use easy to remove staples.

      3 a flexible glue is your top choice. Yes it will take longer to dry but will create a better product in the end. Since this is not a historical drop you could use hot glue on the intersections but that comes with a whole host of burn issues and some scenics think it’s never a good option ( I confess I’ve done it and it’s faster- but a hell of a lot harder to fix later if you need to pull off the webbing and adjust – sometimes that happens.

      I have also had lots of success in making a “netting sandwich”. Cut up a bunch of small muslin squares cover in glue and then lay on top of the netting like a second piece of bread. But many scenics just like to fill a bottle of glue and put a dot on all the netting intersections

      Good luck

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


        Seconding a lot of what Angelique said.

        In case you’ve never had to net a drop at all, here’s a basic steps rundown:

        1. Fully size and paint your happy little trees. Flip, re-staple, and spray FR if that’s what you need to do. (for a shape that has very little intricacy to the profile, you can probably get away with spraying FR after netting. Depends how much you think the fabric will move when wet.)

        2. Flip to front again, and cut out anything that needs to be cut out.

        3. Flip to face down, and staple again.

        4. Lay out netting on the back of your trees in one giant sheet if possible. It’s best if you can order a piece of netting that you won’t have to puzzle together. Every new piece you glue in separately is another chance to get out of square. The bottom corners of your swoopy tree trunks will need support from directly above, so make sure you’re accounting for that in the overall height of your netting order.

        5. Be suuuuper sure that all of the threads of the netting mesh are square to the image, and evenly spaced apart. This part is tedious and spider webby, but this is the key to making the end result hang right. 8-foot-long netting stretchers with even increments to slot in the threads can be a real lifesaver here. You want the netting to be evenly taut and wrinkle free, but not stretched tight. When you’ve got it where you want it, Staple around the edges as often as needed to get rid of scallops, making sure you don’t have staples right underneath an area you’ll need to blob with glue.

        6. Flexbond is a great option for cut drop gluing, and Robo is too. I don’t do the hot glue method- i feel like there’s too much that can go wrong there. Dots of glue at each intersection of the netting, squeezed out of a ketchup bottle, is the tidiest way to do this. But, if you’re in a budget or time crunch, or your fabric is very heavy like velour, you can get away with a heavy stipple of glue applied with a 2″ chip brush. In either case, don’t dilute the glue.

        7. You only need to put glue about 4 inches around each cutout “window” in the drop. Anything else will get cut away as scrap later. If you find that your staple layout is annoying, or the netting is raising above the surface of your fabric for some reason, thumbtacks or squares of tape nearby a glue spot can help keep things behaving well.

        8. When it’s thoroughly dry (give it at least 8 hours, and more if it’s very humid where you are), take good fabric scissors and trim away any netting that isn’t supporting an open window or a hanging pendulum of fabric. For the bits that seem to be hanging in midair, I usually err on the side of leaving more netting in place than I think i’ll need, and letting the folks at load in know that we can always trim back more later.

        9. If you’ve opted for the ‘mash glue with brush’ application method, a big fat pounce bag full of baby powder or tire talc dusted over any dry-but-still-tacky glue areas can help alleviate fears of the glue sticking to itself when folded up.

        Hope this helps (and can maybe get uploaded with some edits straight into the wiki!)

        Don’t hesitate to ask for any clarifications!


        If anyone sees this: I’ve got a production that will involve a lot of cut drop soft scenery. I did two cut drops last year, I had a few things go wrong so I wanted to reach out to see if anyone has ideas for me on how to avoid this time around.

        The cut drops I did last year were sized with starch, then we painted elastomeric roller grade as a base, scenic paints were sprayed, drop was cartooned and cut out, flipped re-stapled, opera netting was stretched and stapled down (we did not get the netting totally squared- I work with students & we had no time for this build alas).

        The major issues I want to avoid are: the muslin wrinkling up when we applied glue (I tried brushed on glue, dotted on glue and the muslin + glue sandwich, we ended up hot gluing all the intersections), and not squaring the netting correctly/over or under stretching the netting.

        1: Why is my sizing not working??? We did starch plus two coats of thick elastomeric roller grade coating. The elastomeric was a recommendation by another scenic my LD knows. Do we think that the elastomeric didn’t get pushed into the fibers? Are we better off using thinned paint? Is it the thickness of the muslin?? The TDs order lighter-weight to save costing (which I think is part of my issues).

        2: How do we gage the stretch of the opera netting? Should I stretch it like scrim???

        3: Tips for getting the netting squared?!?!?! I’m going to make the TD create some netting stretchers for the paint shop with me. We’re going to have 26′ tall by 3-4′ wide legs that have a cut edge, 6 in total, which we cannot lay out all at the same time in our shop space.

        I’ve read over the info in this thread and would be so grateful for any other tips or thoughts.

        thanks!- -Anne

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