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Cutting out scenery and figures


Preparing Scenery:

Do not cut out the pieces before mounting to cardboard! Cut them apart, but leave extra paper around the edges, where possible.

When mounting backdrops, use a piece of single thickness cardboard (sometimes called chipboard in art stores) that is several inches wider than the actual printed area, so that there is something to clip to supports and also to help keep the viewing audience from seeing into the sides of the stage. The bottom of the scenery should be mounted evenly with the bottom of the cardboard, or cut to be a straight edge after mounting, so that it sits evenly on the stage floor. Be sure to use a low moisture, low wrinkling paste! Paste a similar weight plain paper on the opposite side of the cardboard to prevent curling.* Press them with weights to dry.

Prepare “wings” and “middle drops” with extra cardboard extending to each side, also, so they can be easily clipped to supports and also help to keep the view hidden on the sides. The shaped edges need to be cut with a sharp craft knife, and the bottom edge should be straight along the printed edge, so that it sits evenly on the floor.

If very detailed scenery needs to be cut, such as tree leaves, it is possible to mount the printed pieces on poster board, cut the detailed edges, and then mount the pieces on slightly smaller but similarly shaped pieces of heavier cardboard. This makes it easier to cut the fine details, but gives the support required. Handle the pieces gently to preserve the fine edges.

Preparing Figures: 

Do not cut out the figures before mounting to cardboard! Cut them apart, but leave extra paper around the edges, where possible.

Figures should be prepared in a similar manner to scenery. Large size figures should be pasted to single thickness cardboard, and then cut out with a sharp craft knife. Small size figures can be mounted on poster board and sometimes can be cut with small sharp scissors. As usual, they may require pasting plain paper on the opposite side to prevent curling.* Be sure to leave the “base” of the figures, so there is something to set them into (or attach them) when using sticks to move them.

 Tip: It is a very good idea to keep and carefully cut out the title of each figure that is printed on the paper, and paste it on the back side of the cut out figure! This helps to remember which figure is which!

* Some cardboard is laminated and may help to prevent curling without pasting another layer on the reverse side. Check with your art or craft supplier to see what types of cardboard they have available for pasting paper up without curling. If you use a laminated cardboard, be sure to paste the printed paper on the side that is NOT the laminated side! Do not use double thickness cardboard if you have to do fine cutting!


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