This topic has 8 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 9 months ago by Anonymous.

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  • #14905

      Hey all!

      I’m beginning work on a production of The Rocky Horror Show, where we’re doing an industrial kind of look. The plan is to have about 25 concrete sonotubes, about 10’ tall, cut in half and stood upright, backed by walls. (There will also be holes drilled into said sonotubes for lights, In All Their Glory.) The issue we’re having is the cardboard lines showing through with the glossy paint. The set designer wants the sonotubes to be “perfectly smooth,” and glossy.

      We’ve tried a new primer that claims it keeps chipping paint down, which didn’t really do what we thought it would, and a kilz/jc/glue mixture as an attempt to hide them, but it’d be nice to not have to sand All the tubes. (I’ve accepted that might be life anyhow.) Any advice/things that have worked for you?

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        • Experience: 5-10 years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        Covering with muslin but then you have that texture to deal with. I can’t say I’ve successfully gotten rid of texture altogether with sonotube.

        Let us know what you find out

          • Experience: 10-15 years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

          Yeah I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them go smooth without an incredible amount of work. I designed two columns for The Arabian Nights and we had to sand, bondo, and cover with muslin to get it smooth. I still think they had some ridge left, but the paint treatment helped. It really was a big effort and they were just two 7’ sections I think.

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

            Partner Member

            I’m not sure if you can do the following at this point – it might be better to cover in muslin and use some kind of skim coat to reduce the muslin texture. Below is our process – which was a lot of work- but we really got a super nice glossy finish in the end.

            Fill just the gaps/seams with JC, then sand.

            Do skim coat of Homax smooth texture 1:1 with primer, then sand.

            Do 2nd skim coat, sand.

            Primer – we may have sanded this step as well.

            Base coat – I believe we used a Behr Ultra Matte

            Top coat – Behr Ultra Gloss.

            2nd Top coat – Behr Ultra Gloss.

            There may have been a 3rd top coat after install – but it really did look great.

            -the painters at UD REP 🙂

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

              Our carpenters wrap them in Tarkett and then I paint.

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

                Years ago I had this problem with painted marble sonotube columns. We wrapped the columns with linoleum with the backside out and painted that. It worked really well.


                You can also cover Sonotube with sandblast paper like Sharpeline 200. Sandblast paper is a heavy paper on one side and peel & stick on the other and thicker than Tuffback. Spackle the Sonotube seams first. You can buy sandblast paper at at any place that sells sandblasting supplies. Yes, it may be more expensive but several of the suggestions listed here are very labor intensive, which is more expensive in the long run.


                I’m not sure if this would work, but my first thought would be to skim coat the muslin in Sculpt and Coat. Or to generously apply it to the concrete itself. We’ve done that with brick and concrete boards and it did give it a smooth, gloss finish.


                  Update: we did think about covering the tubes in muslin and then with jc or something to fill the grooves, but we deemed it too time intensive.

                  In addition, unbeknownst to myself, the tubes we got for the set are different from the tubes I had to practice with. The ones I had for practice had deeper grooves, as well as the overlap of the cardboard. The ones we are using only have the overlap of cardboard, so that’s good.

                  It might be changed once everything gets into the space, but so far a double coat of pink’d Kilz Hide-All, followed by a semi-gloss red, seems to do the trick. We convinced the powers that be that high gloss would show everything, and the tubes were already a little injured upon arrival.

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