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Art Department is hard, stressful and wasteful.  Join ArtCube in one or all 31 cities to get gigs, crew up, get free stuff, keep materials out of landfills in minutes... you don't need to spend hours checking availability to work or fabricate.  Let them come to you and solve it.

 Tricks of the Trade

ArtCube postings have had some pretty sage advice over the years.   We are adding them as fast as we can here for our members in an easily searchable page! Have a tip we're missing?  Contact us!


Rainbow Brand : Cement Tint, Color: Rotten Stone
• Lactose Powder (Creamer) with Food Coloring
Thinset or Portland Cement Mix (available at home depot)
• spray paint flour and let it dry overnight
• fine cat litter.
ovaltine - chocolate malt- mixed with a little powdered milk. (dry)
Faux Cocaine
Safe to snort:
• Glucose Powder
• Cornstarch
• Crushed vitamin B-12 pills
• Baby Laxative
• Ibutol
Faux Concrete
• Joint compound with sand mixed in paint treatment
Faux Crystal Meth
• White/clear and pink rock candy
Faux Poo
• No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies ( here is one recipe- there are many variations)
• Hair dryer will take sheen off of pudding (for smears)
• boxed brownie mix
Faux Semen
• Vanilla Frosting and water
• egg whites with a bit of  half and half
• handsoap
• Prell brand conditioner and water
Faux Sweat
• Glycerin+water - the more water, the more sweat runs down the face. Dab or spray. Adding green tint creates a lovely shadow to contrast skin tone!
Faux Vomit
• hot vegetable soup and plain instant oatmeal. Stir it together and let it thicken and cool.
Faux Weed (Cannabis)
• clumped up moss from the flower district
• Regular oregano looks the same as shake on camera. I have always made my own buds with moss, coriander seeds and a few rosemary twigs for stems. If you can find hops, they look good for fresh buds too.
• Best fake weed recipe. Moss from a hobby store michaels etc. , green, brown and orangeish. Form buds using maple syrup, smush togethet and put into microwave for 20 seconds or so, then roll in shake for  realism. The best fake weed ever courtesy of anna butwell. Impresses  everytime 
• catnip buds (ps9  petstore in williamsburg sells) looks eerily  like it too. 
Timothy Hay - chopped up and then sparyed with a spritzer with containing watered down green latex paint.
• I have made nugs with halved walnuts, covering them in hot glue and rolling em around in some basil & oregano.. The walnuts shape works pretty well and if done right they look pretty believable in the plastic bags
•fake buds that they sell in the back of High Times magazine

Glaze a Canvas
1) Secure canvas tightly to stretcher or stapled to floor or board on wall.
2)Prime with a mixture of 1 part white house paint 4 parts water.
3) Use regular glazing technique with housepaint.
4)Spray finished canvas with latex for sheen (optional).
How to dull a neon sign
• Streaks and Tips (black)  Neon will still show throw, but ND'd down
• Movie Paints dulling spray .  (removable)
• Get a neon dimmer. You should be able to rent from light bright or let there be neon.
very lightly spray a little "dust age" (like a light ochre color) over the top of it. Care not to go too heavy!
Ice Cream
• 1 lb. Powdered Sugar
•1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
•1/2 Cup Shortening
-Mix corn syrup and shortening until smooth. Gradually add 3/4 of the powdered sugar until mixture is like a thick frosting. Knead in additional powdered sugar as needed. Mixture should be mold-able but not sticky.
-You can scoop straight from the bowl or ‘pack it’ in a different container. It scoops best when it is chilled. Choose your scooper of choice and dig in. You can use a regular anti-freeze scoop or squeeze style dipper. The latter is nice as they are available in many different sizes. You may want to remove the squeeze bar for best results as it often smooths the texture of the ice cream as it is released.
Your goal is to get ridges showing the ice cream texture. This is called barking.
Additional Tips:
Strawberry ice cream can be made by kneading in pink gel food coloring until you achieve a smooth uniform looking color. For chocolate ice cream knead in 1/8-1/4 cup cocoa. After working this you will need to refrigerate until the ice cream is cool. For french vanilla use butter flavored shortening instead of regular.
Mold (bathroom)
• On the grout various versions of chocolate pudding or jello with different consistencies, some mixed with vaseline. Under which is a layer of molasses that stays there when the water is running. Also have a spray bottle with watered cocoa to mist around and streaks and tips to make it a little more secure...
Washable Graffiti
• Spray hairspray on surface then use sprayable chalk . Washes right off with soap and water!
Weed-like plants

Common Issues

• Art
○ what's the real deal with cleared art on commercials?  This is the biggest headache of all.
○ Companies like Knoll and Herman Miller and Maharam are even starting to crack down on use of copyrighted furniture and textile design.
○ One thing you can do is to take a photo and tweak it in photoshop--make it grainy and black and white, or render it like a charcoal drawing--this also works well if you take an extreme closeup ofsomething with a lot of texture.
○ Art Rogers, a photographer,successfully sued Jeff Koons and the Sonnabend Gallery for taking one of hisphotographs and turning it into a sculpture.  Even greeking art gets into a grey dicey area. I hear that on films, clearance people are  not only scrutinizing all art and signage  ( no thrift shop art allowed if not clearable) but also, if a  scenic paints a painting, they want to know what is his influence. In other words, you can't just knock off a Rothko and think it is cleared. I think that it is great to create a database of newartists, but let's not forget our friends at  Art for Media and Available Art who have been plugging away  and providing art for film for years.
• Art
Getting someone who can “Air Brush” was the key. Some of this has to do with how close you will see the balls Dyes spotty messy, Spray paint little goopy or made flat spots sometimes the little balls that attached to the fibers fell off. And of course left marks on the court (or white Cyc) Pick points for spraying a pain. Method I used worked Took a needle and thread. Pass threw the fibers give your self 10+” and run needle threw cardboard etc. Grab cardboard stapled to baton with cardellini clamps and stands so they hang. Over spray can be your friend if there the same color. Then Air brush. Labor intensive set up But worked well and got faster as we moved forward ====== If you are having issues with the paint bleeding/clumping/sitting on top of the fuzzy surface you could look into spraying/painting a coat of starch.
• Looking for generic aluminum soda cans without graphics
silver contact paper  or vinyl over existing labels. The cans are anodized and really hard to clean up with chemicals or abrasives. A good silver sticker over the can would be the cheapest way I could think of, given the time factor, and if you can live with the seam.
•To remove logo... 1) Buy item with minimal logo
2) belt sand and paint it off
3) Greek it
4) cover with a sticker/wrap
• Waxed Floor
○ Q: Recently I tried to paint stripes on a concrete floor. Unbeknownst to me the floor was coated beforehand with Thompson water seal.   I gave up on stripes, painted it black. Still looks horrible.  What to do?
○ A: The Thompson's WS used for decks is paraffin based (wax) thinned down with solvents. Assuming the Thompson's WS for concrete is the same thing you'd have to strip it somehow. Is this for a commercial location?  Based on the limited information, there sounds like only two solutions to strip the water-seal off the surface; either mechanically (by sanding/scrubbing) or chemically by using a wax remover (possibly something automotive grade). Of course doing it chemically is not recommended, but there aren't a lot of options for drawing the wax-based sealer out of a porous concrete surface
• Foamcore
○ Prime the foamcore with the red binz shellac base primer it won't warp. Or use gator foam.
Shipping Large Objects
• Internationally
○ FedEx Freight has been the most painless way to go. I've shipped large crates of equipment to the UK before, the worst parts about it are you may need to arrange for the party on the receiving end to pick up your items at a FedEx hub in their country, and the other annoying part is creating the necessary international shipping documents such as bills of lading, and coming up with "harmonized codes". The FedEx website should be able to guide you through all of it.
• So it can be removed:
○ Vinyl Transfer Paper or Tough Mask, tufbak (tuffmask) .   It comes on rolls of varying widths and is applied like masking tape.. You can paint or wallpaper on top of it then when your done with the shoot you peel it off, (like blue Tape) leaves very little residue behind and what it does can be cleaned easily.
○ Mount it to a substrate first (foamcore/cardboard ) then blue tape the wall and double stick on the blue tape.
○ I would use gator board instead of foam core...more rigid and won't warp.
○ if you have some lead can find some really awesome contact paper  online. If your wall is fairly clean you could do that. Left over adhesive should come off with warm water and the soft side of a sponge.
Tuffmask (tufbak) then the wallpaper.  Be very careful with the woods finish. Most adhesive backed materials will pull the finish off of the wood
○ If you have the time, fabric (make sure you wash it first so it doesn't bleed) and starch works just like removable wall paper.   substrate and ZipWall tape

Definitions... and good to know!

Lexan: Fireproof plexi-glass and available at Emco Plastics

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