There is one VERY IMPORTANT detail to covering flats: you must use FULL STRENGTH Elmer’s white glue. Use a brush or small roller to apply it to the perimeter of the frame, then put the muslin on quickly before it starts to set. Smooth the muslin over the glue lightly. Finally, take a small pail of water and some muslin rags and work the muslin firmly into the glue with the wet rag. If you do this properly you'll get great results. Unfortunately many people like to water down the glue. If you do that then the muslin will shrink back from the edge when it's sized. As for sizing, we just used a very watery coat of white latex with a little pigment added. I would NOT use the other technique you describe of wrapping the flats. Our scenery goes in and out of a lot of trucks, and wrapped edges get torn and frayed. They also make lousy joints when they meet adjacent pieces.
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Burlap or a rough canvas work well for texture as does old hemp rope if twisted apart and used near the base as roots and what not. --- Chicken wire covered with muslin stiffened with starch. Keep it
By Erin Viker, STAGE DIRECTIONS, February 2004 Small professional theater companies and up-and-coming civic theaters eventually reach the point where a few painted flats onstage no longer adequately s