Artificial Mica Lampshades for theater

Hi guys,
I am building some props for a show and the setting needs a couple of Arts and Crafts style table lamps. I have no trouble making some convincing props, but I would like to make some mica-like shades for them. I've thought of using some heavy paper and tinting it, but are there other inexpensive options that would be more convincing?
Thanks, Richard
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I've got a couple of inexpensive Tensor lamps that use some colored acrylic pieces in a plastic frame, surrounded by what looks like some kind of art paper backed with what appears to be thin white styrene sheeting (the kind you get at hobby shops)--the result is far better than it sounds.
If you google "imitation stained glass" you'll find some other techniques that might be useful.
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You might try experimenting with plexiglass and acrylic paints. You could thin down the acrylics with water and then use a sponge to apply it in layers to try to recreate the coloring of mica. A light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper on the plexi before painting will make it more opaque and also give it some tooth. Good luck.

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Glass, then paint.
Anything else is a heat hazard. Acrylic and most common plastics certainly are.
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On Tue, 27 Feb 2007 01:12:52 +0000, Andy Dingley

That depends on the distance from the bulbs and their wattage. Most lamp shades are paper or cloth.
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Distance is fixed by design and the brightness may need to be unrealistically high so as to still be visible on stage. You'll also have to OK anything you use with the fire marshal, and I doubt if they'll accept any plastic. It might be OK, but it's not _provably_ OK.
In particular, lighting gels are well-known as a theatrical fire hazard, if used close to a bare bulb. They're flexible and can easily be distorted so as to end up closer than you expected.
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wrote:

So according to you it's not possible to have a lamp on the stage with a shade.
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I was assuming that the lamps would be a low wattage household type bulb and not an intense theater light. For short term temporary use with a household type bulb and the standard bulb to shade distance, I don't think the plexiglass would be hazardous, however I would err on the side of caution.

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Yes, the lights will be just regular low wattage bulbs, probably 60 or 75 watt. They are not intended to be used for any practical lighting, just ambiance during scene changes. The theater is small and we are not using a curtain, so the lights just dim during scene changes and the lamps will give off an amber glow.
Thanks for all the help! Richard
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Get your lighting people to cough up some gels.
J
Richard wrote:

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multiple coats of amber shellac did a fine representation of mica for me on a couple of lamps. Dries fast so you can put on several coats in an hour or so until it gets to the shade you want. I applied it to an off white plastic material but if heat is going to be a problem in the theatre I'd use glass as another poster suggested. Amber shellac is available at Lowes or Home Depot.

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There is a glass paint that's available in small bottle quantities from craft stores (A C Moore) that's intended for making look-a-like stained glass. The one that I'm thinking of is called Gallery Glass and it's available in many colors. In it's wet state it is creamy and opaque but it dries to a wavy clear tint. I've had excellent success making simulated arts & craft lamp shades by painting clear glass with it.
Go to this website for information www.plaidonline.com/apGG.asp
--
Charley


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Richard wrote:

I made a shade using Thai art paper on lexan sheets, varnished with semigloss poly, that resembles silver mica.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7133961@N04/404230789 /
I'm sure you can find a more amber-tinted paper if you want the traditional mica look. Long-life low-wattage bulbs (I used two appliance bulbs) will enhance the effect.
Will
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If plastic or art paper such as oriental rice papers cannot be used, I would look for a good stained glass store. They have a multitude of tones and colours, it would be easy to find a sheet of glass that looks like mica. If no stained glass stores are available, I would look into using "glass stains" to tint and make a milky appearance on window glass.

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