What to use for backdrop

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by kchronister, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Well, I've been putting it off and off, and now is the moment of truth.. It's time to put the backdrop up.

    It'll be hooked directly to the wall (i.e. doesn't need to have much structural strength itself), and go from layout to ceiling. I'm just not sure what to use:

    Hardboard... Joints tend to crack open, and too stiff to bend to create "radiused" corner, which I'd like.

    Drywall. Easier to hide joints. Definitely not bendy in the corners.

    Paneling, a/k/a thin hardboard. The only thing I found at Home Depot with enough "give" to work around corners was the absolute cheapest "plain white" paneling they had.

    Homasote? Never actually seen the stuff. I hear tell they sell it at a building supply place about an hour away...

    Other?????
  2. shortliner

    shortliner Member

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    You can get MDF (Medium density fibre) board that has kerfs running across the back - used for making "drum" tables and in modern furniture. The kerfs allow the sheet to bend around a reasonable radius without splitting. To bend hardboard (Masonite?? hard smooth surface one side, patterned with impressed small lines on the other) you need to soak it first, I'm told.
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Similar to what Jack said, I used my tablesaw to cut kerfs vertically on the backside of Masonite. Wetting it will also help. Hiding joints is a different problem, variations in humidity can cause problems. But I must say my basement has wide flucuations from winter to summer and my joints are fine. On the first section I did I went to a fabric store and bought some material like canvas. I cemented this to the backdrop, like wallpaper. Then I used artists Gesso (sp?) to fill in the fabrics "texture", and proceded to paint. I haven't done this on the as yet remainder of the unpainted backdrops as I've noticed no cracking problems, over several years.
  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    I got some 1/8" lauan plywood, runs a little bit more than hardboard but the price difference is worth it. I experimented with trying to bend a radius in the corner and it cracked. I then took a piece outside and soaked it with a hose and tried again, sucess. It bent nicely at about a 10" or 12" radius, so I cut a piece of wood to fit into the corner as support and simply jammed the wet lauan into it and a few screws held it in place until it dried. I used acrylic paints to paint a background. I may do the painting over since my painting talants are a bit rusty.:oops: :oops:
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    The other day I saw a "plywood" that was designed to bend. It seems that they have put all the veneer grain running in the same direction. It will not bend in one plane, but is able to form about a 12-14" diameter in the other plane. It was priced about the same as a good quality 1/2" sheet of ply.

    For the record, this was in a Home Depot in Ottawa, Canada.

    Andrew
  6. Voice2

    Voice2 Member

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    Haven't done it myself, but I've read where cheap linoleum has been used. It can be painted and of course it will bend around your corners. Maybe spakle in the seams......
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I used masonite succesfully as noted above by Gary. Joints are fairly well hiden but for one stubborn one I ended up hiding it with a smoke stack and cotton wadding smoke plume. Homosote is a pressed paper product that would break rather than bend. It also has a slight surface texture to it. I don't see any advantage in using it as a baseboard....it makes good road bed, however.
    Ralph
  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    have used linoleum worked well for me if not attached to wall it needs a lot of support the best stuff i have come across (and i'm not shure of the spelling) is melamine a masonite like sheet that use to be used in bathrooms has a smooth side bends well and is quite stiff.
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

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    This shows the backdrop on one of my former layouts...
    It's not linolium, but vinyl flooring...I flipped it over, & used the back of it to paint the "sky" on...
    [​IMG]

    Jim is right...it does require a lot of support, because it is so flimsy...I built this layout as kind of a box, hung on the wall...the back of the box was 1/4" plywood, that I glued the flooring to with vinyl adhesive...the great thing about this kind of backdrop is that you can get it in a roll, that can give you many, many feet of seamless backdrop...the section in the above photo is bent into a 90 degree corner...