This topic has 7 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 4 months ago by Jamie Clausius.

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     Jamie Clausius
      • Experience: 5-10 years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

      Hello fellow scenic artists, and happy painting to you all in the new year!

      I am tapping the hive mind to see if anyone has a good suggestion for an additive to paint (mainly Rosco Off Broadway) to increase it’s flexibility and adherence over time for muslin backdrops? I work with, and paint backdrops that are used for many years, folded many times and put through some hard folding/wrapping situations. I am mainly looking for a suggestion to help with paint flexibility for new backdrops being painted, as I believe there isn’t a lot of hope for our old standards. Thank you all for taking the time and consideration to problem solve with me!


      Hi! I would sample with Rosco Crystal Gel and Flex Bond. Just a suggestion. Happy Painting!!!!


      Hi Jamie! Just as a tip from someone who has dealt with the “folding and unfolding” of rental backdrops for many years: There are many ways to starch / size a backdrop (not just the way you know from “you know where”). Take a look at your formula because flexibility starts from there. Here’s my formula for what I call “Flex Size”. It’s an update of the Lynn Pecktal formula in his book and has served me well:

      1 part Flex bond glue to 16 parts room temperature water.

      1 part liquid laundry starch (from the grocery store) to 6 parts room temperature water.

      Mix in separate buckets and then mix together.

      The great thing about this formula is that you don’t need to boil or refrigerate animal glue or powdered starch, it’s economical and it helps with keeping fold lines down to a minimum.

      P.S. cute photo of you and Winnie.

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

        Hi Jamie!

        I think Donna’s Idea looks really good, and how about figuring out a size proportion w/ flexbond to use as your OffB’way paint thinner?

        Of course the most flexible and long lived will be the Dye Drops…

        I believe Scenic Art Studios is mostly doing Dye again, and that they size (prime) with something that came out of the Met, which is a Starch/ AcryLink (a white elastomeric) mix.

        A couple of options…

        Cheers, RK

         Jamie Clausius
          • Experience: 5-10 years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

          Hi Donna and Rachel! (And Shellene hello! Thank you for the ideas! Since we haven’t met I didn’t want to leave you out!)

          Thank you all so much for your replies. I think I am going to try and combine a couple of your suggestions together and test to see what we get! I will probably be trying Donna’s Flex Size recipe (thank you so much Donna for the recipe, I saw you post it a few months back on a Facebook group and meant to ask you to post the recipe again!) along with Rachel’s suggestion of a flexbond size to add to our paint. Wonderful ideas!

          A question for Rachel, do you happen to know what dyes are being used that you mentioned in your post? I would love to try sampling some to see what we may use as an option down the line. Hope everyone is doing well, I so appreciate such quick, well informed responses!




            Scenic art studios uses ProChem Dyes. They come in a powder and are mixed with hot water – obviously use proper protection when mixing. I quite enjoyed painting with this stuff!

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

              Member Member

              When I painted rental drops with Susan Crabtree we used what she called “size water” to thin our paints (a mix between golden acrylics and OffBwy) she mixed 4 gallons of water with 2qrts of Rosco Clear Flat (the glaze not premier). The believe was it thinner and gave flexible strength at the same time.

              She also preferred an exterior flat white to mix with as it is flexible properties for weather control.

              At VEE when we painted our touring drops for Sesame Street Live, we mixed a cup of aniline dye into our Iddings : it made the colors brighter and helped dye the fabric to help with the absolute total abuse the drops took.

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

               Jamie Clausius
                • Experience: 5-10 years
                • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

                Awesome everyone! Thanks for the helpful tips, I am definitely going to look into the ProChem Dyes Brian suggested, and the exterior white Angelique proposed. So glad to have everyone’s experience be available easily. Thank you to all who have replied so far!


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