View Full Version : Going dotty

John Coen
02-28-2007, 10:20 AM
I want to make a dot room this year but didn't find any help at Transworld. My big question is this: I know I need a bodysuit with dots on it and walls with the same dots. My concern is that if I paint dots on the wall what do I make the dots on the body suit with? Fabric paint would work on fabric but would the dot on the body end up matching (shade-wise) the non-fabric paint on the walls? Or if the dots on the suit are spandex, how closely does the dots match to painted ones? I saw a "Dot Room Kit" one time but it didn't appear to have much wall curtain with it. I'm thinking to blend in the shades of dots need to match. You've all got dot rooms, what do you do?

Jim Warfield
02-28-2007, 10:33 AM
If my public restroom was the crusty- brown-dot room, I would never have to clean it!
Forgot the Haz-Mat Squad!
In the spring, I could plant it, though!

02-28-2007, 10:57 PM
Hey John,

We made our dot costumes out of a spandex type body suit and cut out round circles, painted them the same colors as the wall dots and glued them onto the suit. It was tedious but looked pretty good. We used stamp bottles with the round sponge on top for the walls. (Staples has them) Just fill the bottles with the paint and press on the walls. Not too hard though.



Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 12:09 AM
Fabric paint is any hobby acrylic, even day glow colors with textile additive added to it. Textile additive is available at most big hobby stores and adds a bit of elasticity that can also be thermo set with a hair dryer or an iron with paper guarding direct contact. Generally you end up with circle templates of one or various sizes but all of the colors will need a white base coat anyhow to show good color on black. Every dot has to be done twice and if it can be sprayed with even a cheap airbrush you have it going on. With fabric an airbrush shoots through the fabric and this is how the paint adheres. On the wall, lower pressure and more distance.

I have seen dot rooms where the actor hid very well spread out on the wall, then moving to show arms and legs animated and then the whole figure moving and all of the uniformly sized dots were white no bigger than 1 1/4 inch dots. Having to contend with seeing things at a distance adds to the effect. You walk in and the figure(s) is/are 12 to 20 feet way.

03-01-2007, 05:12 AM
I hang strips of dotted plastic throughout the room and strobe the UV. :D The actors I place in there can where whatever they want.

Jim Warfield
03-01-2007, 07:19 AM
My actors who hide the best are usually found still at home that night.

John Coen
03-01-2007, 02:40 PM
Greg- Since you mentioned the white base on the fabric, that brings up another question; When you do 3-D UV painting on walls do you paint onto a white base and then blacken around the neon stuff? The 3-D haunts I've been to do not look like they do that, yet their colors look bright. Most fluorescent colors tend to be translucent so it seems like you'd need a white base. Any experience?

Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 05:00 PM
Depending on how sophisticated you want to get, it can be done either way the wall spots do need a white base as well Unless you are ising the $100 per gallon solvent based paint, then it can be several coats of the same.

You can have a white primered wall, then put tape dots and spray the walls black, pull the tape revieling white spots on a black wall and then add colors with a stencil on each dot.

Or you can begin with a black wall and paint on white dots as a prime and then the color once that has cured. Tes, most of these paints that are acrylic are relatively thin and need several coats, some times even over the white base. The solvent based high pigment paints are a "one shot" deal but unless you have other 3 D effects buying large quantities is too expensive. Stewart Smith does sell quarts where as the paint manufactures will not discuss anything under the gallon quantity.

The over all problem is not only expense but hour of being exposed to solvent paint fumes indoors having to wear respirators vs. just using low output air brushes and acrylics being much more safe for personal exposure and requireing a longer time to cure out, giving off residual fumes as it cures.

Way #3 is to begin with white contact paper and paint the various wild colors, cut out the dots and stick them where ever.

The first way is the hippest as there is no white over spray from a stencil to touch up but, it is more preparation than most will tolerate.

The most comon method os stencil on white, allow to cure or even hit them with hair dryers to make sure they are set and then stencil on the wild color.

The super pro version you put a shadow and a fine highlight on every dot to give it a back painting so when the final translucent color goes on they look 3 dimensional even with out special glasses.

A cheap $19 one button model air brush works wonders for this kind of work. Many buy aerosal cans of the florescent colors and aerosol cans of white flat finish for a base.

For the super super pro version the entire mess gets a clear coat over it to reduce fading over years rather than perhaps haveing to redo the work every year to keep the glow going.

Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 05:03 PM
When sparying over white taped dots, this would be an airless sprayer, using a roller tends to have paint crawl under tape especially on rough wood and needs too many touch ups.

Way number 4 is stencil brushes, no fun at all but a way.

John Coen
03-01-2007, 07:05 PM
Wow! Thanks for the tips! It sounds like I may try the stamp bottle from Staples with a white base, dry, and then restamp with colors.
On your super pro back paint shading do you just use non-glow paint and sponge some shadow? Then the light highlight would have to go on top of the color, correct?

Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 07:18 PM
Yes. It can be watered down acrylic and an artist's brush. The drop shadow will be a little dark as it will be under the color. The trick for the best look is that the highlight is very subtle, almost not there so it does not attract specific attention. It might even be some white in the florescent color watered down rather than true white. If highlights are over done it will draw the eye to nothing but all of the highlights.

The other way is that the base color is a light grey with a darker grey drop shadow and a white highlight and then the color stamped over this. It could be sponged on as well so it isn't uniform. You will want to experiment.

A lot of tenchiques involve thinning what ever the paint is to where there is only about 10% paint and the rest water. Any paint seller will not recomend this because it supposedly does not have enough binder but, you will be sealing it when you put the color over it and be considered a genius. Toy just need to make up a descent batch of this tinted water so it all has consistency rather than several batches of trying to make this custome stuff over and over.

I still think in terms of airbrushing as over spay becomes the reflection of the dots or balls on the back board rather than trying to stay in the lines, you use them to your advantage. Staying in the lines costs more.

Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 07:25 PM
If I knew what brand of crap you get hold of I could feel it better. Createx is groovy and available. A small 4 OZ bottle even though it is FOR airbrush doesn not mean you have to use an airbrush in the privacy of your own home. It works great with regular brushes or any transferal method, your whole paint job will cost $4 for the dot part and it is a bit transparent so the under painting becomes put on a coat and see what it looks like once cured and then add more coats untill it is "just right". Beware Goldilox, I last saw her stealing a hummer in a commercial.

John Coen
03-02-2007, 03:54 PM
I'm not sure the breand of crap. It is coming from Digital Light & Sound ($90 Gal) so I'm guessing the smelly solvent stuff.

Greg Chrise
03-02-2007, 05:13 PM
You might not be able to have an under painting with that crap.

John Coen
03-03-2007, 09:43 AM
Maybe I'll stick with spray cans for the underpainted dots then. Thanks for all the pointers.