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Hi! I'm working on the set for a play, and we have papier mache up on chicken wire, and we painted it with a flat paint. But when it dried, the paint was shiny! We need it to be flat. Once the stage lights hit it, it's going to bounce light everywhere. We thought that maybe the paint mixed with the glue, which caused the shine. We need to figure out a way to make it flat. Can anybody tell me how we can do that? We don't have much time, the play opens in a week. Thanks!
I guess it probably was the glue. What colour was it? White will always have strong reflective quality. Try covering it with a matt paint in a darker hue.
It is "Toy Army Tank" green. Like a pea soup green. So it is already pretty dark. I was hoping there is some kind of powder or something we could put on it. Does papier mache always come out shiny when painted? I know someone must have encountered this problem before.
I'd recommend a transparent matte sealer, rather than painting it again. I've never had glue mix with my paint, unless I did it intentionally, but I suppose it's possible. PM projects shouldn't come out shiny when painted unless you actually used satin or gloss paint.
Alternatively, I know, from handling my own projects, that high gloss paint can become dull/dirty from repeatedly handling it (probably a result of the natural oils from the hands). So you can try, um, "fondling" your PM project for a while to see if that dulls the shine too.
Haha, that's pretty funny! I will tell the set designer about the matte sealer. Hopefully that will work. But this is a big, giant area, so "fondling" will be difficult. Maybe we can just walk around pressing our hands on it.
He told the guy at the store that he needed flat paint, but maybe the guy gave us something else anyway. As far as we know, it's flat. Thanks, we will try your suggestions.
Dab some of the paint on a card or something, and see how it dries, so you'll know what you're dealing with.
If the paint IS glossy, take the paint AND the dry sample back to the source. Ask them to replace it by tinting a GOOD primer (like KILZ in the U.S.) to the same color of your project, then repaint it.
I suggest a good primer because it's often difficult to get a matte finish to stick evenly on a shiny surface, and a GOOD primer usually sticks to practically anything.
PAY ATTENTION TO what they're doing! Idiots can find a way to mess up anything.
The only other alternative is sanding down the gloss, which is very time-consuming and often doesn't come out even.
I found this reference to deglossing paint online, but I have no personal experience:
"...a paint deglosser such as Wilbond... Paint deglossers are also known as "liquid sandpaper". By removing the gloss (and also cleaning the surface), they allow the next coat of paint to adhere more firmly with no-or-minimal sanding. Oil paints, especially glossy ones, should always be lightly sanded unless they are primed with a tenacious primer such as Bin (shellac), Kilz (oil-based), or Zinssner 1-2-3 (water-based)."
http://www.naturalhandyman.com/qa/qapai … etype.html
I was thinking about this some more last night, and another quick/cheap solution that crossed my mind is smearing a powdery substance with a flat finish over the paint (basically dirtying it up to cut the glare). I've only used actual dirt in that fashion (to make monster figures look even nastier), but I imagine children's sidewalk chalk might work, and it does come in green. The only downside is that anyone who touches it would get chalk/dirt all over their hands, so, depending on what function your piece serves in the theatrical performance, that might not be practical.
And on the subject of paint again, a more economical solution, rather than a complete new coat, would be a rinse/wash (i.e., water the paint down), as all you need to do is cut the glare of the gloss, and a thin matte wash should accomplish that. If your sculpture has a lot of detail on the surface, the wash (assuming you used a darker color) would also have the benefit of emphasizing said detail.
The only problem with watering it down is that it might not stick evenly on the gloss. And you would need a LOT of green chalk. I don't think they have all that much time to experiment.
Another idea is to find someone who is EXPERIENCED with paint, and see if he can come up with a simpler, cheaper idea. A long-time house and commercial painter would be best.
I apologize for going this long without responding. It's just been very hectic. It's a huge and complicated set, and I guesstimate that I painted at least 85% of it. We finally finished yesterday, and the play opens tomorrow. I'd love to post a photo or two, but it doesn't look like I can.
I told Ed, the set designer, all the advice I got from you guys, and then he went ahead and did what I had suggested at the beginning. My friend Eric always used this fiberglass stuff to construct things like hills and caves for sets, and since we have a giant roll of that stuff, I assumed that's what we were going to use.
But we got this guy from a local college to help, and he said he didn't like the fiberglass and wanted to use papier mache. Fine. So, way back before Christmas, he's tearing up newpapers and dipping it in the glue and all that, when suddenly the guy vanishes for at least two weeks. There is basically only me and Ed working on this huge project, so we don't have time to papier mache. And he did less than a quarter of the set. So no progress on that for weeks.
Then the guy calls Ed and says he's been sick, but then comes in for one day and does practically nothing. Finally we talk to the director, who asks the cast to come in on a Saturday for a papier mache party. They get most of it done, with me and Ed finishing the rest. That dries, and then we put on the flat paint that came out glossy, which led me to this forum. A couple days later, last Saturday, the cast came in again, and they put the fiberglass stuff over the papier mache and then re-painted it. This time the paint came out flat, and I painted the hillside over it, and it looks awesome.
So in the end, we used the fiberglass, which I had suggested at the beginning. Hopefully nobody will ever call this college guy again.
So, thank you to everyone who responded with advice. I don't know why the flat paint turned out glossy, but with all the lights used in a play, that's just something we can't have. So I don't know if we will ever use papier mache again, but if we do, I'm going to refer back to this advice. As an artist I find it useful, and I may just do some papier mache for my own personal projects. So thank you everyone, very much.
Yeah, it amazed me how one person could cause so many problems with a production.
Like I said about idiots.....
Well, the play is in its second week, and people are loving it. Is there any way to post photos here?
It'd be great to see the photos. Adding to a forum post isn't the easiest but...
You can upload them to a site like http://imgur.com and then include them in the forum like this:
Hope that helps.
What about Photobucket?
Yup - anywhere is fine. So long as you include the actual image URL in the img tag, it should work find. You can "preview" your post first to make sure it's pulling in the image.
I use Photobucket all the time here and it works fine for me, Galactus. Photobucket even gives you "copy and paste" image links, with the tags already attached to the address, for forums like this.