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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts 5/6/10 UPDATE! CHANGES GALORE! tiki backdrop on the cheap needed for a photoshoot...
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5/6/10 UPDATE! CHANGES GALORE! tiki backdrop on the cheap needed for a photoshoot...
DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-14 2:59 pm   Permalink

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions regarding how to achieve a tiki-look backdrop of either thatch, split bamboo, or palm trees on the cheap. I need this for a photoshoot and it will be somewhat obscured by various set dressings in the foreground such as plants and moody lighting.

I'm thinking of using a Scene Setter type of wall covering from Party City (or other big box party supply store) which, coincidentally enough, comes in a bamboo pattern. I know that's like heresy on these boards but the backdrop will be barely visible in the finished photo and I just need something there aside from a solid color or the interior of my garage poking through the palm fronds. I also don't need the backdrop to be permanent. If I did, and money were no object, you can bet I'd be building a real split bamboo wall! Sadly, this is only a temporary project.

I'm also toying with the notion of using one of those photo-realistic "palm trees at sunset" vinyl shower curtains instead. However, doing so means I'd have to rethink my lighting plan since the colors of the sky don't really mesh well with the colored lighting I have in mind for the foliage and carved tiki. They're the stars of the photograph I'll be taking so I just want something generally scene appropriate that'll make them stand out.

Any suggestions aside from what I've already mentioned? Has anyone used the "Luau" Scene Setters from Party City to great success?

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-03-23 18:10 ]

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-04-29 13:09 ]

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-05-01 16:54 ]

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-05-02 09:20 ]

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-05-05 09:28 ]

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-05-06 13:45 ]


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4973
Posted: 2010-03-16 10:43 pm   Permalink

I have no suggestions for you but I enjoyed reading your request for help. I'd love to see your photos when they are done. Good Luck, Wendy
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hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2010-03-17 01:10 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-14 14:59, DejaVoodoo wrote:
it will be somewhat obscured by various set dressings in the foreground such as plants and moody lighting.



If you're going with moody lighting, Im guessing that means pretty dark with minimal/strategic use of light to acheive that? How about using some black velvet as the backdrop? Black velvet is the blackest black (thats why velvet painters use it!), and also means the viewers attention is solely fixed on your subject.


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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-17 09:02 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-17 01:10, hewey wrote:
Quote:

On 2010-03-14 14:59, DejaVoodoo wrote:
it will be somewhat obscured by various set dressings in the foreground such as plants and moody lighting.



If you're going with moody lighting, Im guessing that means pretty dark with minimal/strategic use of light to acheive that? How about using some black velvet as the backdrop? Black velvet is the blackest black (thats why velvet painters use it!), and also means the viewers attention is solely fixed on your subject.





That's actually a fantastic idea! I'd planned to keep the background as black as possible without actually going all the way black. I'd like the lighting (and resulting shadows created) to be the "black" in the photo and still have some other kind of natural element besides the wooden tiki. Thatch, reed, and bamboo trimmed walls seem the norm and would read as "hut/bar interior" verses some generic blackness, however those materials are expensive and I'd only need something like a maximum 4 foot by 5 foot span to fill the right side of the composed shot as well as the "holes" between the plant leaves. Does that make sense?

But, because of your post, I'm thinking this whole photo could take on a velvet painting vibe and be totally cool, if not what I'd originally had in mind. Hmmm...


 
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-17 12:57 pm   Permalink

After checking out the myriad of natural fiber and sewn/woven grasscloth wallpapers available, I decided that, at $40 and up a roll, it simply wasn't worth investing all that money for a backdrop that is, essentially, a "2 second" set dressing and may or may not be seen in great detail. Still, I didn't know where to turn.

After the wallpaper store I made my way to my local JoAnn's Fabric & Craft where I found some awesome cotton print Indonesian batiks and some generic "ethnic" block print fabrics that looked a little too African and not enough south seas jungle. I almost settled on a small brown, cream, and orange tapa-esque print however I deemed it too busy and felt that all the textures and patterns in the photograph would compete with each other. So, I started thinking what if I just use plain old burlap as a textured wall behind the tiki. I'd get the woven look I was after and it was dirt cheap at $3 a yard.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized the burlap was just too blah. There were no color variations and I feared it might look too much like the inside of a sack of potatoes. It didn't help that the color of the burlap I chose was IDAHO. Needless to say, I kept looking. I almost settled on a rougher woven tan and cream printed cotton that was the right color, but it just seemed too safe and predictable. And then I hit the jackpot!

In the remnant red tag sale bin, Sandwiched between two larger bolts of fabric, I found a dark tan, jade green, and cream upholstery fabric that was actually made up of long horizontal strands of rather wide chenille sewn together much like the woven grasscloth wallpapers have the little threads holding everything together. When I unrolled the fabric from the bolt, the remnant piece was the perfect size for my photo. It even had little bits of black running through it and if you didn't know it was fabric and NOT grasscloth wallpaper, I doubt you'd ever be able to tell the difference! At $6 a yard, the bolt claimed to contain 2.8 yards so I started doing the math...hmmm almost $18 - that's better than the wallpaper option, but still a bit pricey for what I needed it for. I asked the lady cutting the fabric how much was actually on the roll and turns out it was a few inches over one yard. $6 for this amazing fabric that would work perfectly for my photoshoot? SOLD! Talk about tiki on a budget! Mission accomplished!

Now I can't wait to actually take the picture. And when all is said and done, I'd be happy to post the final product here for all to see. Thanks for all the great suggestions and encouragement!


 
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-17 8:19 pm   Permalink

In addition to finding my tiki backdrop cloth today, I got to thinking about other props I could/want to include in the photo. I've had Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room on my mind as of late and I'm wondering if a parrot perched on top of, or near, the carved tiki in the photo would be cool? Birds were everywhere in the Enchanted Tiki room so why couldn't they work for my purposes? There are some awesome prop parrots available. Hmmm...

Still, part of me wonders if the parrot would send my photo into Jimmy Buffet, Caribbean Islands territory.

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-03-20 11:49 ]


 
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hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2010-03-20 03:13 am   Permalink

Make sure you share the pics
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-20 11:47 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-20 03:13, hewey wrote:
Make sure you share the pics



Oh I will! You can bet on that!

Well, I had a change of heart and decided against the green chenille upholstery fabric background. It's just too darn plain, as interesting as it is, and I decided that tapa cloth is the way to go, after receiving the Ken Darby & Alfred Newman "Ports Of Paradise" album (the artwork is covered in tapa).

Since I can't find/buy/make some bamboo poles on the cheap in MARCH (if it were closer to summer, I'd just behead a bunch of Tiki torches and be done with it!) I figured, as long as I'm staging a Tiki photo, I might as well have something authentic looking that's without a doubt Polynesian. The brown tapa print bark cloth I found online is awesome!

As it is, the background I'm designing is going to be a mash up of traditional artifacts with a nod towards the more commercial side of Tiki that everyone goes crazy for at backyard BBQs. I'm confident that I've figured out a way to pay homage to both and STILL come up with a final product that is dark, moody, and respectful to the origins of Tiki. We'll see, though. Stay tuned. I'm planning the photoshoot for sometime in April. Until then...

[ This Message was edited by: DejaVoodoo 2010-03-20 11:47 ]


 
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-20 7:37 pm   Permalink

ARGH! So the tapa print cloth I bought online is discontinued and out of stock! Oh well. Now I'm gonna try to paint/draw my own. At least I saved nearly half of what I planned to spend on a commercially available piece of fabric. We'll see how this all turns out.

 
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4WDtiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2004
Posts: 1878
From: Omao, Kauai
Posted: 2010-03-20 7:56 pm   Permalink

There was a REALLY good thread somewhere here where someone made some great looking fake tapa with just butcher paper and watercolor paint.

 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-03-20 8:13 pm   Permalink

My first thought was burlap, landscapers buy boat loads from Lowe's or Home Depot for almost nothing. The next thought was to buy some reed bamboo fencing from Home Depot and then return it after you photograph it. you could also paint a tapa style look on the burlap with any old brown paint or stain. Good Luck!

 
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Polynesiac
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 2079
From: San Pedro, CA
Posted: 2010-03-21 4:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-20 19:56, 4WDtiki wrote:
There was a REALLY good thread somewhere here where someone made some great looking fake tapa with just butcher paper and watercolor paint.



Sure is! TIKIVILLE did a real nice job creating one. Here's the link:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=31694&forum=18&hilite=tapa

Also, Howland made some stamps and created his own tapa cloth as well (scroll down a bit on each link to see the tapa stamps):

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=20343&forum=18&vpost=298281&hilite=tapa

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=20343&forum=18&vpost=332005&hilite=tapa

I don't know what your budget is, but you can get 4x8 lauhala matting pretty cheap

http://www.franksupply.com/tropical_matting.htm#lauhala

Good luck!
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-22 9:02 pm   Permalink

So, here we have the humble beginnings of homemade tapa.

I took ordinary 3M brand brown postal wrapping paper and cut about a five foot length from the roll. Then I brushed both light and dark brown acrylic paint across the surface in wide, sweeping strokes with a rather large brush. The first pass was thinned with water and once that dried, I followed suit with a mixture of paint and glaze in a dark brown color. Next I drew some preliminary guidelines with a pencil and straightedge, such as the band at the bottom and the triangle pattern, and then using an acrylic paint marker, I went to town first freehand tracing the pencil lines I'd made earlier and then adding what little decorations you see in the picture below.



I haven't quite figured out what I want to draw in the rest of the blank areas (any ideas?), but so far, I think this looks pretty good! I think when all the black is finished, I'm going to further age/distress the entire piece with a lighter glaze wash to simulate the woven fibers of fabric. Then again, I might not. It all depends how brave I'm feeling at that point!


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-03-23 6:25 pm   Permalink

Looks great!

 
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DejaVoodoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2008
Posts: 138
From: Woodbridge, NJ
Posted: 2010-03-23 7:31 pm   Permalink

Here's an updated progress shot



Still lookin' good? Sorry for the glare.

Now that the top triangle is finished, I have no clue what I want to do in the blank triangles on the left and right of the design. I'd really like to not repeat a pattern if I don't have to but I'm thinking I might have to.

This is a lot of fun, if a bit time consuming. And I decided I'm definitely gonna wash the whole thing with a dark glaze to decrease the contrast and make it look old. More to come...


 
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