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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Swigart


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There are some products in the theatrical community that have reached cult status. Sculpt or Coat is one of them. It is ideal for...Scenery, Costumes, Props, Puppets, Sculpture, Arts & Crafts and more. Here are some of its uses:

Tough Coating. Use on polystyrene scenery, props, glass and ceramics or foam rubber puppets, masks, costume and make-up pieces. (Great for walkables, sitables displays, exhibits and touring pieces.)

Texturing - Sculpt or Coat can be used to create a wide variety of textures : Raised, Adobe, Tree Bark, Negative Effects, etc.

Foam Coating - Sculpt or Coat creates a protective tough coating that stops breakage, keeps pieces from drying out and prevents solvent based paints & spray paints from eating away foam. See Directions.

Adhesive - Sculpt or Coat is more durable then Hot melt or Vinyl glues. Adheres to woods, fabrics, ceramics, masonry, papers, foams, metals, glass, non- slick plastics and oil free organics.

Weave Filler to construct trees, armor, puppets, masks, special ogee archways, compound curved scenic elements and large organic settings. Create simulated fabric textures like leather, vinyl, reptile skin and tree bark.

Binds mulch, glitter, gravel, sands, cedar chips, etc. to texture scenery and costumes. Adhesive quality binds it to practically anything: Wood, Metal, Plexiglass, Glass, Paper, Foam, Urethane Cement, Plaster, Plastic, P.V.C., etc.

A Glaze for walls or plexiglass, it has been used to simulate polished marble, metal, cracked or frosted glass You can also combine Sculpt or Coat with ModPodge for even more unique results.

Our sets are built to last for extensive rentals to other companies as well as our own rep. However, in my years of experience with Sculpt or Coat I have never found it to be "flexible and pliable". Once cured it's very hard. In fact, that's what makes it ill suited for coating styrofoam. When the styrofoam gives the Sculpt or Coat just cracks and chips off.

But we just used a lot of it to texture a deck that consists of an intricate cutout pattern of 1/8" lauan applied over plywood. It has been very durable for this. We used it on another deck for an opera built nearly 8 years ago. In this case, we soaked tobacco cloth rags in Sculpt or

Coat, applied to the platforms, then coated over everything. The entire set got this treatment which was then painted with gold metallic paint to give it sort of a cast bronze look. It has proved very durable, although it literally took a couple years to totally cure. When using Sculpt or Coat be careful not to build up too much texture. If it gets too thick the material in the center may not dry and will continue to ooze out for years!

We've been using a product called "Jaxsan 600" for about 7 years now as an alternative, especially for coating styrofoam. It's a roofing product that dries with a very flexible, heavy, rubbery finish. If you put it on heavily enough, one coat can protect styrofoam. It also makes a great texture medium - try it with some styrofoam dust mixed in for a heavy stucco effect. It's also cheaper than Sculpt or Coat - we paid around $90 for a 5 gallon bucket IIRC. Contact Plastic Coatings Corp at 304 755-9151 for more info.

The only thing we don't like it for is platforming and decks. The rubbery coating is a bit soft for the abuse of dragging around furniture and scenic units.

As for cheap alternatives, people tell me about "secret recipes" made from drywall joint compound and Elmer’s glue, but I haven't tried them. Joint compound by itself might be a low budget solution, but it's very fragile and can chip off easily. If you go this route I suggest you mix some paint pigment in the joint compound to bring it close to the final paint color. Then if it chips or scrapes off you won't see the pure white drywall compound underneath. We find this is also a good idea with both the Jaxsan and Sculpt or Coat products as well.

If you are using foam as a major component of the set, I've found that various brands of "elastometric roofing polymer" works almost as well as Rosco foam coat, and costs about 1/3 the price. It's essentially a plastic roofing sealer, and does the job quite well.

One cheap alternative is a mix called "monster mud" by those in the haunt industry. It's a mix of drywall compound, thinned plaster, and paint. Yes, it's cheap, and spread over a wire mesh, it can produce remarkable results. Unfortunately, the finished set pieces also weigh a


Drywall mud mixed with 25% - 40% white or yellow glue makes a really tough coating that resists chipping. Not flexible. It does not seem to crack as readily as drywall mud alone when applied thickly. Water based adhesive (FRP) by Liquid Nails makes a good rubbery coating at a cheaper price than elastometric roof coatings.

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May 08, 2023

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