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dpe666
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I understand that some illusions' method depends on paint. But what about those that do not? Do you paint them gay colors anyway, stain the wood, or leave it naked?

:devilish:
ClintonMagus
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Even if you want to leave the wood natural, several coats of high-quality varnish or tung oil will prevent splinters and will help to keep the prop clean. The finish of a prop or illusion should typically tie in to the theme or feel of the rest of your show. For example, oriental dragons and characters would be out of place in most bizarre or modern acts.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Michael Baker
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The answer to your question really depends on the illusion. A packing crate should look different than a museum piece. Credibility is probably key. Make it look consistent with what you want to project.

The look can set the tone of the act. A guillotine from 18th century France would have a specific look, appropriate to the era, but one that looked like you made it in your basement out of crappy 2x4s, and may not work correctly, could scare the daylights out of an audience volunteer, based solely on its shoddy, unfinished appearance. I can see good applications for either one.

Amos' suggestion to finish natural wood with a clear sealer coat has advantages, especially when you troupe with the props. You can get flat finishes, if you want it to still look unfinished.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Steven True
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I have used blues,reds,yellows,whites,and many others but I have never used the color gay. Just wanted to post. Sorry guys.

Steven
sepaternoster
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Quote:
On 2006-05-17 21:43, Michael Baker wrote:

The look can set the tone of the act. A guillotine from 18th century France would have a specific look, appropriate to the era, but one that looked like you made it in your basement out of crappy 2x4s, and may not work correctly, could scare the daylights out of an audience volunteer, based solely on its shoddy, unfinished appearance. I can see good applications for either one.


LOL Smile

I still can't decide if I think it's ever a good idea to do a guillotine routine (I wish that didn't rhyme). I admit to having laughed, sometimes uncontrollably (especilly if there's a fake head already in the basket), every time I've seen it done. However, I always feel guilty afterward for having laughed. I feel like maybe I was laughing at the vict..er..volunteer, and I wonder if you could shock a person into some kind of medical condition. Also, how is the insurance policy worded? "In the case of accidental decapitation..." Maybe it's just me...

Seth
Seth E. Paternoster
sepaternoster
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I almost forgot; I do have something to say about the topic of PAINT. Back when I was in the Navy, our Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate showed me a way to get a professional looking finish out of a spray can. It did take one can's worth of practice on a piece of plywood to perfect, but I've used his method ever since.

He said to ignore the directions on the can; the sweeping back and forth method is really meant for working with a spray gun. Here's the basics of his method, which I will follow with more detail. When painting with a can, use more of a squirt-squirt-squirt... technique. Shoot out little blasts of paint in a continuous rhythm at a rate of about 2 per second. Each blast should produce a small, circular-ish spot of paint on the surface. The idea is to "connect the dots" to produce a fully covered, uniform, finish. Start in one corner, and work your way out, keeping a wet edge.

Now, here's a little more detail. The spots are not really very circular; they are more like short lines of paint. Each time you depress the spray nozzle, bend at the wrist so the paint is spread a bit on the surface; your hand has a motion similar to dribbling a ball. Because your hand rotates, distance to the work surface changes with the stroke; the center of the rotation is closest to the work. To avoid runs, you want to adjust your distance so that only the center region is close enough to really wet the surface.

With a little practice, you'll get the rhythm and find that it is very easy to control the application using this technique. Because this method is slower, you have more time to monitor the progress. It's important to have good light that you can view reflected in the new paint job. Watch the paint building up; you'll see it come together as a single, glossy surface. Move on before it runs (you can always add another coat latter).

If you're painting a large surface, don't be surprised if your forearm starts to ache. When I have this problem, I just switch hands. I've found that I can do just as well with either hand using this technique.

Other Tips:

  • Ventilation.
  • Ideally, the surface to be painted will be horizontal, about waist high.
  • Watch for the nozzle itself to become wet. Sometime a drop will form on the nozzle. Wipe it off with a rag before it falls onto your work.
  • Dust free.
  • Insects.


Hope it works for you (it works for me). Has anyone else heard of/used this technique?

Seth
Seth E. Paternoster
billappleton
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I'm finishing up some Bunny Boxes made out of thin birch plywood. My props tend to end up painted red, gold, and black with an oriental theme.

How can I do a BETTER job of painting this time? I want a smoother, glossy finish. Is there a recommended primer for wood? In the past I used latex paint and then acrylic for gloss.

What do you guys like?
Regan
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A good primer or sanding sealer on bare wood prior to painting is a must in my book. Lacquer paint will sink into the grain so it is absolutely mandatory if you are using lacquer. I always use something under the topcoat.

For me, the type I use depends on what kind of wood I am using and what the final finish will be. For example, if I am using lacquer paint I have to use a sanding sealer that works with lacquer. When I refinish a guitar (I only use lacquer for guitar refinishing) I use a sanding sealer first and then a primer before I apply the paint.

Guitars aside, I have used different paint/primer/sealer combinations for different things. Softer wood will soak up more so sometimes I use a different primer for those projects with 'sponge-like' wood. I have found that the KILZ primer works well in some of these situations. The BIN primer works ok too, but I have had a few issues with it when using certain types of paint on top.

I would suggest testing what ever combos you decide to use.
Mister Mystery
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I get good results with 8 coats of spray enamel flat that home depot has for less than $1. You can put all coats on one after the other. let it dry for a day then sand with a fine sanding sponge. Clean the surface with a tack cloth and finish with Krylon indoor outdoor. I put 8 coats of that on lightly one after the other. To deal with overspray I use a big fan behind the work that blows away. There are many more difficult ways to go but this will give you a nice finish. I do use a satin finish but I bet the gloss would turn out good too.
billappleton
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So this is a baltic birch wood, pretty soft.

I have to match my existing props, so the last coat would be a latex red or gold, with maybe some gloss over that.

So should I try a sanding sealer or a primer before painting? At the risk of sounding stupider than normal, what is the purpose of these?
Michael Baker
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Why latex? Are you brushing on the finish?

Sanding sealer does just that, seals sanded wood. This prevents the paint from penetrating the wood. I use a varnish sanding sealer, and apply with a brush. You can even use foam brushes, but chances are, the sanding sealer will eventually eat the brush, so have some extras on hand. It takes a couple hours to dry good. At least two coats are recommended, and you should sand between coats. You will find it an easier job if you apply the sanding sealer very thinly, and do as many coats as necessary. Sanding sealer applied heavily will tend to gum up your sandpaper quickly, and it becomes very difficult to get a good finish without a lot of effort.

Your first coat of sanding sealer will raise the wood grain quite a bit, so the first sanding will be the most time consuming, but the efforts will be worth it in the end.

Pay particular attention to edge and end grains.

For the record, you can also use a lacquer sanding sealer, which dries quickly, but the fumes will knock you down. Don't use foam brushes with this stuff.

Also, I have used water-based sanding sealers, and hate them. Your mileage may vary.

From this point forward, I am describing my techniques with rattle cans, most of which are enamels these days.

Primer also seals the wood, but not as thoroughly as sanding sealer, unless you use several coats. Even so, edge and end grains may not seal well enough with primer alone. It's possible, but your color coats will tell you the reality very quickly.

Primer is designed to adhere to many surfaces, and later be top coated. Primer will also fill tiny pores. This will often take several coats, which should be sanded between coats. What happens is that the primer is filling the hollows. Each time you apply primer and then sand, the areas sanded are the high points, so eventually, the hollows are flush with the surface. Of course on deeper voids, you should use a filler, sand, and then prime.

Sand your primer with a 220 grit and wipe to remove all traces of dust before starting your color coats. You can use a tack cloth or a cloth rag. Sometimes, a damp paper towel does a good job. Just be sure it isn't so wet that you risk raising the grain, or you'll be back to sanding bare wood again.

Your first color coat should be a light mist over the entire area. This is known as a tack coat. the purpose of this is to allow the paint to adhere to the primer, without forming a film, which may later lift, especially if you are going to be doing any masking for color layers. Regardless, it's a good habit to get into.

Your next few coats can be a little heavier, but should still be somewhat light.

You may notice a gritty texture to the dry paint. At this point, you should do a fine sanding. Use a 400 grit or higher automotive wet/dry sand paper. Here's a tip... sand with a little water. This creates a slurry which gives a very smooth surface, much more so than dry sanding will. Just a few drops as you need them. You can tell when things are too dry, or when they are too wet. Have a roll of paper towels handy to wipe up the mess you'll make.

Your last color coats over this should be wet edge coats, so the paint will flow, but not so much that it will sag or drip, or worst of all, wrinkle.

If you want to protect with clear coats (this is a good idea if painted surfaces on props will come into contact with one another), just spray a wet coat or two and check the finish when dry. You can do the wet sanding thing here too, if you like.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Regan
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Great tips Michael! I'll just say, "What Michael said"! He is 'spot on' with everything! The only thing I have to add is that for the dust removal I prefer Naptha instead of water. It evaporates extremely fast, so it disappears right away. However, you have to be careful as it will melt some types of paints and sealers. (It works great with the lacquers I use for guitar refinishing). I also like to use the soft wood putty on the plywood edges (or anywhere filling is needed). It can really help give you super-smooth edges.

I use somewhat different techniques with guitars, which for me always involves using lacquers. For guitars I use an oil-based grain filler, and I use very, very, very, fine wet-sandpaper, and then a polish. After I shoot the final color coat (or final coat of clear if clear coat is used) I begin with #400 wet sandpaper, and proceed in steps with #600, #800, #1000, #1200, #1500, #2000, and then final polish with a swirl remover. (I like 3M "Finesse It II"). Guitars require a lot more work than the average magic prop, but I just thought I'd throw that out there.

And one more thing: Always use a sanding block when sanding flat surfaces!
Mister Mystery
billappleton
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Thanks everyone so much. I will try a sanding sealer and a bit more patience and see how that looks.
billappleton
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Here is the Bunny Box prior to my typical bad paint job:

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/close_box.jpg

You can see the slot in the back for the slate.

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/open_box.jpg

The craftsmanship is questionable, but the design rocks. I love how the box totally opens up and exposes the Bunny, I think this will be very magical...
Michael Baker
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If I was a rabbit, I'd be happy. Box looks great.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Leland Stone
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Quote:
On 2006-05-19 18:00, Steven True wrote:
I have used blues,reds,yellows,whites,and many others but I have never used the color gay. Just wanted to post. Sorry guys.

Steven


Orly? You've never painted ANYTHING this color? http://tinyurl.com/3wo2c6w

Relax, bronies, it's a joke. Smile
Leland
billappleton
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A couple of pictures:

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/bunny01.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/bunny04.jpg

Here is Coco!

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/bunny10.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/bunny11.jpg

what do people think about the last picture?

this is a chalk board that let's me draw the bunny and then pull the finished slate out of the top.

is this worth the trouble, or fooling anyone?
thegreatnippulini
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of Hell because I've made
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Quote:
On 2011-10-22 23:47, Leland Stone wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-19 18:00, Steven True wrote:
I have used blues,reds,yellows,whites,and many others but I have never used the color gay. Just wanted to post. Sorry guys.

Steven

Orly? You've never painted ANYTHING this color? http://tinyurl.com/3wo2c6w

Relax, bronies, it's a joke. Smile
Leland


That is SO gay... BTW, what's a bronie? Do hippies eat them?
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2011-10-31 08:59, thegreatnippulini wrote:
BTW, what's a bronie? Do hippies eat them?


Only those whose can of Alphabet soup isn't quite full. Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
billappleton
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Here is the companion Rabbit Wringer. Also posted in boxes, tubes and bags, for the sake of continuity.

Four doors, six magnets, eight hinges, and a spring loaded removable neoprene roller system.

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/wrangler3.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/wrangler2.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/wrangler4.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/wrangler1.jpg

http://www.dreamfactory.com/magic/wrangler5.jpg
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