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?
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.
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.
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_
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
"Richard" < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
I made a shade using Thai art paper on lexan sheets, varnished with
semigloss poly, that resembles silver mica.
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.
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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