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Photography Question 
Carrie C. Brannon
 

How to Make my own Painted Background?


Hi all!
I am trying to figure out how to create my own painted backgrounds similar to the ones called "Old Masters" that I have seen online and on Ebay. I love that look, but they are sooo expensive! I think I could create something similar for way less money. I have found a good source for Canvas by the roll, primed or bare, with reasonable prices. They also sell Muslin by the yard or roll as well. But I don't even know where to begin; which type material would work best, what types of paint to use, any brush techniques, etc. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to do this, not only on what types of paints and material to use, but also how to do the layering so that you can use several blended colors as well without ending up with globs of paint all over the background! I have thought about trying some methods other than just brush painting the canvas, such as Sponge Painting or Ragging it. If anyone has tried any of these techniques on a background please let me know how they turned out. I know I could just Dye Muslin, taking different parts out for periods of time to give it that motteled effect, but I want to do something a little more challenging and visual. I won't be able to do the scenic types of paintings, as I am by no stretch of the imagination THAT artistic, but I think I could blend colors well enough to make a background that would be pleasing to the eye and compliment the photograph. Also, if anyone can find any info on the web that deals with the painting techniques used for studio backgrounds, please pass along the info and/or links to me! I have searched, but came up with nothing. Maybe I am just not using the right search engine or key words!
Thanks so much, I appreciate any help I can get!
Carrie B.


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1/16/2003 7:42:04 PM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   I dyed my own muslin and then, using concentrated dye, I sponged it on to get the effect I wanted. I have a friend who uses watered down paint to get the effect he wants. He used canvas and muslin. I think the canvas may be better for the paint.


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1/16/2003 10:49:27 PM

 
Carrie C. Brannon   Jeff,
Thanks for the very quick response, you must be a night owl like myself!
Do you know or can you find out what type of paints he used? Oil Based, Acrylic, etc? Any idea what he thinned it with? And what do you think of my ideas for the Ragging and Sponging techinques on canvas, think it would turn out good?
Thanks!
Carrie B


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1/16/2003 10:54:24 PM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   I think he just thins with water so the paint must be acrylic. As I said I sponged on concentrated dye and I like the effect. So I think sponging would be a good way to go. If I were you, I'd dye it first and then apply the sponging. You can always practice different methods on a scrap piece of material.


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1/16/2003 10:57:43 PM

 
Carrie C. Brannon   Jeff,
Thank you so much for the suggestions, I will let you know how it turns out, the scrap material was just what I planned! LOL
Carrie B


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1/16/2003 11:39:12 PM

 
  Go to the fabric store and buy 5 yards of 108" muslin, either works. Then buy a bottle of liquid rit dye and a bottle of fray check. Fray check makes the unfinished edges of the fabric not unravel. Find the two unfinished edges of the fabric, and apply the fray check according to package directions. Let it dry. Next, in your kitchen sink run the water until it is as hot as can be only fill it 2/3 of the way full. Add l cup of salt and stir with a black plastic spoon. Then add the dye. Roll your fabric up scrunching it as you go to make a random pattern. Get the fabric wet in the other side of the sink. Place the wet muslin fabric in the dye bath. DO NOT stir it. If you stir it you will not get the two toned effect. Wipe up any spills right away with a wet paper towel. Set a time for 30 minutes for light color, 45 for medium color, and 60 + minutes for a darker color. Put on rubber gloves and drain the sink. Run warm water over the fabric squeezing all the dye out. When the water is clear, or close to it, put the cloth in an old grocery bag and take it to your washer machine. Add detergent to warm water and wash the fabric. Dry and then you will have a professional looking background for around $35.00. I did one for only $14.50 yesterday because muslin was on sale for 1/3 off at Hobby Lobby and I printed a 40% off any one item coupon on their website and used that for the dye.


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8/12/2006 8:26:23 AM

 
Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2004
  Spray paint and sheets. You could also try dry brushing.


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8/12/2006 2:19:47 PM

 
Evan C. Benson   Pat... I saw your picture on the instructions on how to make the back ground... WOW... Today I went to the Salvation Army... Picked up a couple of sets of White sheets and paid only $1.75... Big sheets I had Queen , King And Double... I went to walmart and paid $4 for the Krylon H2O I used red ... I did the scrunching like you said... and OMG!!!! It came Out soooooooooooooo perfect .... it took me probably 15 Minutes to do it... Also 15 minutes for it to dry and then I let it air out for about an hour... It WAS SO EASY!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!


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8/12/2006 4:30:13 PM

 
Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2004
  I am so glad you tried it. I love making them, they are just so easy and quick. I did one using a specialty paint, one to look like granite and one with the marble effect. I am really glad you tried it. Thanks Evan.


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8/13/2006 2:27:32 AM

 
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