Inlay Wood Floor – without the sawdust!

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Guest Author Nicole Deibert

Nicole is the Head Scenic Artist at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton Canada and is sharing her easy steps for creating a stunning wood floor:

Designer Megan Koshka  designed a beautiful in-laid wood compass detail that dominated the thrust floor design for our production of  “Peter and the Star Catcher.”

As with all things, proper lay out is key.

Since our stage is “mostly” symmetrical, we had to designate a center mark from which all the points could radiate from. Once we picked our middle mark, we could start the radiating lines outwards from that point. We also snapped lines every 3 feet horizontally against the radiating lines so that we could have guides to line up to for the planks.

After we masked off every other wedge, we were able to start the coarse wood grain. We sprayed a fairly coarse spray of water, and with a wide (6”) brush and thick paint in a caramel color with no glaze, we dragged the paint through the spray of water. What happens is that some of the paint catches, and some slicks over the water, creating a coarse looking streak. If your spray is too heavy, you just get a wash of paint, but if you find that Goldilocks Zone, it creates magic! Once that’s dry, we repeated the planks with Rosco’s Earth Umber. Again, following the same procedure with the coarse water and painting on thick paint with a wide brush. Last coat was to do a toning so we sprayed water, and then applied Rosco’s Van Dyke Brown in a glaze with a brush in the direction of the plank. Now that first set of wedges were done, we changed the masking to do the next set of wedges along with the stair. After all the wedges were done, we could line the planks with our lining sticks and with a Paynes Grey suspended in glaze.

 

 

Once the whole floor was done, we could finally layout the compass. We masked it off using Frog Tape (it worked SO well), and then used the beige colored base coat to paint everything out.

 

 

 

 

From there, we could tape off all of the sections and start to paint bit by bit. Within the design of the compass, spires were creating an over/under dance within the circles. It was just about taking the time to mask things off properly and do it right.

The wood grain process on the compass was a little different. We did the Van Dyke Brown glaze over the basecoat, and then added glazes over top so it buried the intense grain of the dark brown, but was still prominent enough to see.

After everything was painted, we outlined every shape of the compass using a 4mm Molotow Marker with Golden High Flow black paint. It chewed up our nibs quite quickly, so we ended up wadding a bit of paper towel under the nib to push it out a little more.

The final touch was to add a shadow in the compass area. Brushing on some water, then brushing on the Paynes Grey glaze and letting it bleed and fade out so that it was not a harsh transition. Last touch – glaze. I do a 1:1 mixture of Benjamin Moore Stays Clear Low Luster and water. I put that into a sprayer and broomed through. It extends the paint and does a gentle augmentation of the floor. I always do 2 coats, a couple days apart.

All in all, this floor took me and my amazing crew, Amy Sanders and Kim North,  a week to paint (150 hours total). Watch our progress below!

Nicole Deibert is the Head Scenic Artist for the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Citadel is one of the largest Not-for-Profit theatres in North America. Nicole has been painting for roughly 20 years, is member of IATSE Local 210, and has spent most of her professional career at the Citadel, with a short stint at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Her other interests lie in photography and cooking. Instagram: @nixpaints

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