Theatre Thursday

A How-to – Painting a Large Scale Design on a Stage Floor

I’ve had several people ask just how I create what I create… all with kids.  First key ingredient… I have GREAT KIDS to work with.  They learn quickly; they are willing to learn; they work hard.

Last weekend 16 kids (2 of my own kids), and my co-worker, came together to paint the floor for Addams Family the Musical which opens October 26.  I was determined to have the floor done for tech Saturday.  I wanted to be able to spike all the moving pieces.  I designed this show to have several confusing set changes.  They needed plenty of practice at hitting their mark!  In addition, lighting looks so much different on finished costumes and set.

Thus, we got to work!


First, we mapped the floor.  I made a compass using a string and a piece of chalk.  The kids helped and we made giant circles with the chalk compass.  Each circle was 3 feet apart.  Then, we snapped a chalk line.  We started with the mid-line.  Then, we measured 4 inches on the small circle and 3 feet on the largest circle from each line. After that we finished the lines, we added arches where the circle lines and straight lines intersected.

I wanted the floor to look like a giant spider-web.  I see Morticia as a black widow spider and Gomez as her prey.  I wanted her “house” to resemble that.  I also see Wednesday as a black widow spider in training.  This, the spider web look holds symbolism for me. Since Addams Family the Musical is based off of the cartoon that appeared in the New Yorker magazine many years ago, we wanted the whole set to be in shades of black, white and grey.  In fact, the only color would be on the mom of the “boyfriend” and, eventually, Wednesday… a yellow dress.  This holds much symbolism too.

So… we started painting the floor, one piece at a time.  Kids learned to paint in long strokes… and straight (ish) lines.

IMG_1792 (1)

We painted….

… and painted.  I used black, a blue-ish gray and light gray in a pattern.


When all the spaces were painted, I taught the kids how to spatter.  Spattering is not my usual texture of choice, however, it fits this show best.

I love how it turned out!  My theater kids rock!


You might find these other post interesting.

Building Flexible Ship Stairs for Escape Stairs

Stage Fright is Really… But Can Be Controlled

Correcting Corrective

Healing the “Walking Dead”- Tips for Sick Actors

Performing Arts Education Matters!

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