Friday Arts & Crafts Day Update: April 29, 2022

Been a while, but then I’ve been working on this stuff for at least 2 weeks and nothing else to report on this month… so… it’s all about the strippers’ changeroom set for The Nick White Show.

Let’s have a shot of the whole set first, ready to shoot tonight, and then I’ll go through it all:

First up, the walls.

Now, I know actual strip club changerooms are plain, but that’s no fun and the show is fictional. Also, my motto is twofold: 1. I only have to build it once but will use it many times. 2. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. So….

I had been going to use a set of plain canvases I’d painted hot/neon pink for other sets, but then saw this fabulous glittery leopard print pink wrapping paper at Homesense and grabbed it, taping the sheets of paper to 3 large sheets of foamcore.

I will also use these walls when I eventually require an office for Betty, the strip club manager.

Normally I only do 2 walls for sets, but since I used real mirrors in the vanities, I had to make a 3rd wall and I’ll be more restricted in my camera angles, otherwise I’ll be in the shots.

Each wall is simply propped up with some thing large/heavy behind it to stop it falling over.

Moving forward, I think most of the set walls will be done this way as I find appropriate wrapping paper to use. I do have 4 sets of “walls” that are big canvases in grey, black, lime green, and hot pink (1 large and wide and one tall and narrow to make a corner of a 2-sided set) but I can store way more pieces of wrapped foamcore in a smaller space than to keep using canvas, and also I might be starting to paint again soon and will want to reclaim those big canvases. I’m not in a rush to replace the existing canvas “walls,” though – just as I find suitable replacements.

Next, let’s talk about the vanities.

They are made from old locker mirrors that I took apart and hot-glued onto a foamcore backing that I’d painted with gold calligraphy ink. Then I hot-glued a strand of battery-powered fairy lights around the mirror and glued on the desk part and sides.

They’re too deep for actual theatre/dressing room desks, which are usually more like a skinny counter, but meh, it’s fiction so there’s that.

I looked at a lot of pics of theatre dressing rooms, including the fancy ones on Broadway where established stars in long-running plays basically get their own office/living room/etc. and noticed they all had drawer units and more storage. Plus I wanted to hide the pesky battery packs (should have just run the cords under the backs of the vanities and the walls, but meh, next time).

So I made some little foamcore drawer units. Rather than paint them, I used rubber cement to wrap them with bits of Japanese origami paper I had in my stash, then hot-glued them together:

I left the backs open in case I need to hide things back there.

I still have to do the final positioning once I turn on the battery lights and hide the battery packs, but here’s an idea of what they look like in the set:

The red scale comes from a My Life As doll playset and is meant to be a produce scale… the character in question, Atlanta, is a weed dealer, so she needs a scale, and this one is ridiculously oversized but that makes it fun for now until I either find a more appropriately scaled fake electronic one or make a mini balance beam one for her or whatever.

At the same time, lockers are needed. Now, the YouTube video I watched where a stripper gives a tour of the club and shows the changeroom shows long banks of grey lockers and a couple of them have stickers on them, but naturally, I wasn’t gonna let a little thing like reality mess with my ideal set.

So I only made 4 lockers (but we can imagine there’s more beyond the edge of the desk), and I did make them highly decorated and individualized).

They are made from foamcore and hot glue, and were painted drab grey first, then dry-brushed with silver paint to make them more glam (or, if you prefer, more distressed where the grey paint has worn off exposing the plain steel below?) and then used stickers and paint pens to dress them up:

More close-up details:

Paris, our resident gold-digging hooker stripper, has the gold glitter swirls. Atlanta, our hippie weed dealing stripper, has the vines and bees.

The other two aren’t assigned as Paris and Atlanta are the main stripper characters, but probably the roses belong to Lin, who we’ve seen but not heard from in the “Paddy’s Day” skit. And I’ll decide who the 4th one is some other time.

On top of the lockers on-set we see a tangle of “feather” boas. It used to be that Michael’s had a whole half-aisle of feathers, feather boas, etc. including skinny marabou boas, but I couldn’t find any this week so I guess that got discontinued or whatever.

I did, however, find a bunch of chenille yarns on clearance, and those did the trick… with a ton leftover that I’ll have to put to use as knit blankets or something for the show.

But in the meantime, we can see that the yarns do scale correctly for the dolls, as modelled by Paris and Atlanta:

Granted that I think feather boas are more of a burlesque thing than a stripper thing nowadays, but still.

Let’s move on to the clutter on the vanities. First up, Atlanta’s vanity:

So, let’s see here… I didn’t make any of the plants, they all were bought at Michael’s in the miniatures section, ditto the teacup and saucer. The water bottle came with some Barbie, and the silver compact is also a Barbie prop, ditto the pink tote. The money and the berries came in a My Life As playset that I got at Walmart… technically too big for Barbie scale but some stuff works anyway. The crystal is from the bead section at Michael’s.

That leaves what I did make: the make-up brushes (made from cheap kids’ paint brushes), the ashtray, the straightening iron, the gold compact/face powder tin, and the black and green eyeshadow cake (all made from polymer clay).

First up, the brushes. Pretty simple: I twisted the tips off the plastic handles and used pliers to crush the metal parts to make them more compact and textured like some make-up brushes are. Then I cut the bristles to make different shapes of brushes.

As for the polymer clay props, they were made with Craft Smart premium polymer clay, which I honestly kinda hate because it’s crumbly and hard, but I want to use it all up before I dig into my stash of the good stuff (Super Sculpey) which I kinda want to use more for making actual sculptures than for small show props. Anyway, they were all painted after the fact with Folk Art matte acrylics.

I didn’t really bother to get up-close shots of the props as I was making them, but whatever, you can see the end results.

I also made Atlanta’s blunt that she’s holding, but that was back before the first video, “The Smoke Pit.”

Onto Paris’ vanity, which is more cluttered, just like Paris’ pea-brain mind, so we’ll take a couple angles:

Stuff I didn’t make: the money is again from the My Life As playset, and the giant cupcake is from a different My Life As playset. The teacup/saucer and plate of cookies are from Michael’s miniature section. The hairbrush, silver hand mirror, silver/black powder container, and small pink plastic perfume bottle are Barbie props from my stash.

So, stuff I made: make-up brushes as above and the rest is polymer clay: rouge container, blue perfume bottle, convex make-up mirror (not too happy with it, but I’ll try to make a better one later), 5 nail polish bottles, blowdryer, large pink bottle of perfume (the focus of this next week’s skit) and the curling iron.

Lastly, after I set everything up, I thought the room needed a coffee table between the chaise and the chair, so I whipped this up from a small wood plaque, peg/dowel “people” shapes as legs, hot glue, and Folk Art matte acrylic paint:

I might reuse this in Nick’s office or I might make him his own. We’ll see.

I’d been going to make some little vases with mini-bouquets and I know I have some tiny roses but I can’t remember where the Hell I put them. Just like I tried to make a polymer clay coat rack with a wire armature but it just wasn’t working.

Sigh… But I think there’s enough clutter for now.