Author Topic: Painting A Scrim  (Read 4423 times)

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Painting A Scrim
« on: Jan 29, 2007, 04:08 pm »
My high school is putting on Once Upon A Mattress, and we wanted to paint the scrim with the logo. We also want to have the beginning ballet (if any of you know the show) behind the scrim lit from behind, so it is in silhouette. We currently have a shark-tooth scrim, and I was wondering what would be the best paint to use for that purpose. It would also be nice if it wasn't permanent, but that's not a necessity.

Mac Calder

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Re: Painting A Scrim
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 2007, 04:33 pm »
If it is a cotton scrim, then use dye not paint - paint is a dye with a binding agent, and the binding agent will block the holes in the scrim, making it loose it's transparency, where as dye will just be absorbed by the cotton, colouring the fibres.

If it is a synthetic scrim, dilute acryllic paint at about 1:4 and test on a small square to make sure it is still transparent. If not, dilute further. If you dilute too much, the paint will not stick to the synthetic, and if you don't dilute enough, the binding agent will block the holes.

You can get some dyes that wash out - I have never tried them though, so I cannot comment on how good they are.

I cannot remember the exact proceedure for painting a scrim - but from memory, it is usually to prepare a full sized drawing of the design, lay the scrim over it and stretch it downwards slightly - to compensate for the load on the bottom when hung, then carefully paint - start from one side and work across, until finished. Allow to dry then carefully peel off the drawing behind it and hang. Set design is not my strong point, so hopefully someone else will be able to provide a better answer.
« Last Edit: Jan 29, 2007, 04:38 pm by Mac Calder »


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Re: Painting A Scrim
« Reply #2 on: Jan 29, 2007, 07:11 pm »
Scrim can be a bit tricky because it stretches when it gets painted.  My high school is very low tech and doesn't have a shop, so we had to get resourceful when painting our scrim.  We used Rosco Supersaturated paint, which is painfully expensive.  However, it can be diluted up to 10 to 1 and it works incredibly well under bright lights.  Plus, it works well with fabrics - it's fairly pliable and doesn't flake.  We had to paint the scrim in sections, so did our best to spread it evenly on the floor, keeping its shape.  We had a grid underneath, but because we had to move the scrim, it couldn't have the finished painting, so we had a painter's elevation on a separate chart and had to more or less freehand the design onto the scrim.  We assigned someone with a blow dryer to each painter so they could make sure the paint was being blown through the holes as the scrim was painted.  Also, they had to make sure paint wasn't pooling on the bogus underneath, or it would soak through and ruin the work that was being done.  In an ideal world with a fancy shop there would be framing and spray guns involved, but my school can't afford them. 

You may want to contact a couple vendors for advice.  The folks at Rosco are always helpful as are the people at Rosebrand.  Also, if you research a local rental house that provides scrims and explain your situation you may find someone who will give you some good advice.

Best of luck!