I have been surprised, and very grateful, for the responses I have had about the proposed Fairy Tale Theatre Kit.
This morning I made another theatre, and this time I photographed every stage of the process but, before I go through the steps involved in making it, I am going to say a very few words about print quality and why it can vary so much.
This has nothing to do with the mechanics of putting the theatre together, so – skip this is you are not at all interested !!!
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The image that you see on your computer screen is made up from little dots called pixels. Each little pixel is a spot of colour.
Computer images have to appear in your screen FAST and so they are mostly Low Resolution (not too many pixels) – usually around 72 ppi (ppi = pixels per inch).
However, when you want to print an image you need enough pixels (dots of colour) to get a good print.
This is especially important if you want a crisp, clear image that is small / very small indeed.
Look at what happens to a small image if you reduce the resolution from 300 ppi to 72 ppi – and then print it on ordinary copy paper.
If you copy an image from your computer screen, and it is large in size to begin with (filling the screen from top to bottom), you may well be able to make it smaller and get a fairly acceptable print from it. If you copy a small image and try to manipulate it you will find that you get a very poor quality print.
I work from original source material – not web images – and I use images at are usually 300 ppi. This may be a little bit excessive for the average home printer but, if you are printing at 600 dpi, and want a good quality result, it is the minimum you will need.
[NOTE: dpi = dots per inch – Just to be confusing, ink jet printers print in dpi while images are sized in ppi]
Anyway, enough of the technical stuff this is supposed to be about…
How I Put the Theatre Together
I am going to stress the I here.
Everyone works differently and there is no Universal Law that says you must do what I do, just because I did it – if you have an idea and you want to try it out, then TRY IT OUT
The worst that can happen is that you will need to print another theatre. The best is that your theatre will be BETTER than mine.
First you will need to have some tools:
I used a metal ruler, a very sharp knife, a blunt knife (for scoring creases), some craft glue and a small paintbrush with which to apply the glue
To print the theatre I used our basic Canon Pixma, that cost £29.99 from ASDA, and 140 gsm card, which was 100 sheets for £1 from our local discount shop.
[My Print setting was – plain paper, highest quality print]
This is what I do when I make a prototype to work from.
If I was making this theatre to sell as a finished miniature, I would probably use 200 gsm, cold pressed, very fine water-colour paper, and I would consider getting it printed at the professional printer’s in Derby.
When I was sure the print was dry and would not smudge, I cut it in to 4 parts.
and then I started to cut out the fiddly bits of scenery.
I left all the scenes joined together, as they are easier to handle this way.
I cut away from the corners and towards the centre – turning the card as I worked round each scene.
When I had finished, I cut away the card that I did not need from the outside.
The scenes are lined up so that this can be done with one cut.
Look ! I cut off the little hooks at the side – these are used to hang the scenery in the full-size theatre.
I left them in place in case anyone wants to try using them – some people prize authenticity!
[The orange colour is underneath, so that you can see my recklessness clearly]
When I had removed all the excess card, I was left with these
Then I cut some strips of card – about 16th of an inch (2mm) wide
and I stuck these to the back of the scenes – at the top
When I stick paper to paper, and I want a neat finish, I very often put some glue on ONE surface first and let it dry, and then put glue on the other surface and then position the two parts together.
I find this saves pieces slipping about – the downside is that instant contact adhesion is not always a good thing.
When I was sure that the glue was dry, I trimmed the hangers so that about 1/8th inch in length (4mm) stuck out at either side
Then I had to trim away some of the hanger that was showing on the scene for Puss in Boots.
The hangers reinforce the scenes – the one for Puss in Boots is very flimsy without its hanger.
Then I moved on to the background scenery.
This needs to be folded in places and so I used the ruler and the blunt knife
As I have only one pair of hands I can’t show you this bit – only the result
When the fold lines were in place I cut round the back-to-front C shapes.
These are going to hold the curtain in place when the theatre is finished.
Then I cut away the excess card.
Then it was time to tackle the curtain and the sides of the proscenium.
Once again, I scored along the fold lines and bent the card before beginning to cut it out.
And this is where I got annoyed with myself
I had lined up the curtain and the sides, so that I could make one clean cut along that edge – and I forgot to do it !
So annoying !!!
To make up for my idiocy – let me show you how to see if something is square – use the end of your ruler to check.
When I had cut out the curtain and sides, I checked that all the folds lines were straight and in the right place
Particularly the tiny tab at the bottom
Then I scored along the fold lines (marked in pink) on the proscenium, cut carefully round the prompter’s box (marked in green) and cut out the excess card from the stage area.
WHAT IMPORTANT THING HAVE I FORGOTTEN?
If I had left myself some card attached, folding the tiny folds would have been MUCH EASIER !
And I could have flattened the proscenium out and cut the card away when I was happy the folds were all in the right place and then refolded it.
I will remember next time – these are a bit tricky without the extra card.
Next I attached the sides of the proscenium to the front.
I put a little bit of glue on the line marked by the pink dots and let it dry
and then I folded the flaps on the side pieces right back, applied a little bit of glue and stuck them in place
The bottom of the flap needs to be level with the base of the proscenium and the top needs to be level with the top fold.
This is so the small side flat can be folded down, over the side and glued in to place.
The part of the side that represents the curtain is then folded across and glued in to place.
When I was happy that the top was firmly stuck. I glued the small flaps at the bottom up – to support the stage.
The proscenium was then completed and could stand up, unsupported
Next I gently curved the background scenery – around the handle of the blunt knife
before gluing it into place
This is where I cheated.
The original full-size, theatre is large enough to allow the background scenery to be attached like this
In miniature it is much, much neater like this – without the inward fold
and there it was – completed.