How to Make a Hollywood Backdrop

Written by patrice lesco
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How to Make a Hollywood Backdrop
(Mike Powell/Lifesize/Getty Images)

In theatre, muslin is used for flats or stage walls and stage backdrops because it is a sturdy material that you can paint over repeatedly and stiffen or size with water and glue. Making a Hollywood backdrop with muslin, therefore, offers you the opportunity to make a long-lasting backdrop that you can reuse or paint over when you are ready to create a scene for another event or different decor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic
  • Muslin
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Paint brush
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Paint

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    Prepare Your Backdrop

  1. 1

    Spread plastic on the floor or on the ground outside. Lay your muslin on top of the plastic and smooth it out.

  2. 2

    Mix one part white glue to one part water in a bucket. The larger your piece of muslin, the more water and glue you will need.

  3. 3

    Paint the muslin with the water and glue mixture and a paint brush. Coat the entire material with the water and glue. Apply three coats of the mixture to the muslin, and then allow the muslin to completely dry.

  4. 4

    Sew the edges of your muslin with a sewing machine and thread, turning the edges over 1/2 inch all the way around.

    Create Your Backdrop

  1. 1

    Draw out your Hollywood design on paper, using a pencil. If you need ideas for your backdrop, look through magazines or books for Hollywood photos.

  2. 2

    Transfer your Hollywood design to the muslin backdrop, drawing on the muslin with your pencil.

  3. 3

    Paint your design with acrylic paints and a paint brush. Paint your background colours first and your featured colours last so that the most significant elements of your backdrop will stand out.

Tips and warnings

  • Water and glue serves to size your muslin, making it stiffen and slightly shrink and giving it a canvas texture.
  • Never use oil paint on a muslin backdrop, as the oil paint will smear on the material when you store it and does not always completely dry on muslin.

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