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Cyc alternatives

  • 1.  Cyc alternatives

    Posted 02-03-2020 19:14
    For our little black box, I was going to buy a cyc and paint it sky blue for the back drop to You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, along with some paintings of a tree, bushes, section of white picket fence. But I should really cut that expense (about $300) given how strapped our program is. Should I just paint right on these hideous cinder blocks themselves? I hate the idea because they'll just look like...painted cinder blocks. Is there an alternative to buying the traditional muslin or is that pretty much the cheapest way to create a backdrop? Thanks. 

    Shanda Bonn
    Theatre Teacher
    Simi Valley CA

  • 2.  RE: Cyc alternatives

    Posted 02-04-2020 09:14
    In a pinch, get large solid colored sheets from a thrift store and stretch them as tight as you can; then paint.

    Amy MacCord
    Musical Theatre Teacher
    Hawthorne FL

  • 3.  RE: Cyc alternatives

    Posted 02-04-2020 11:18
    Instead of trying to be literal and creating a "sky," you might want to consider thinking out of the box.

    Peanuts is a comic strip. Each frame in the strip is bounded by a black border to separate it from the next one, and people are used to seeing that. So you can get several flats, enough to cover the area you want, paint them sky blue, and put a black border on each one to simulate the look of the strip. Then you can paint the trees or whatever else right on the panels. Look at a few of the Peanuts strips to get the idea and the style of the artwork.

    I did a show titled Dog Sees God a few years ago, based on the Peanuts characters, and used something along these lines. You can see it at

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 4.  RE: Cyc alternatives

    Posted 02-04-2020 11:24
    Hi Shanda,

    There are some great rental houses where you could probably rent a sky blue drape or painted drop. When we did You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, we used a black drape for the background.  Using colorful set pieces and costumes would accent the comic nature of the look.  Check on-line and see if Grosh, Black Sheep or some other houses have what you need.  It can be a lot cheaper than buying and painting.



    Mack Dugger
    Department of Teaching and Learning
    Pacific Avenue Education Center
    440 W. Lomita Ave., Glendale, CA 91204
    "Totus Mundus agit historionem"
    Bravo award winning Teacher
    Kennedy Center Creative Ticket Award
    Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  • 5.  RE: Cyc alternatives

    Posted 02-04-2020 12:21
    You can get 120" wide muslin for about $8.50 - $9/yd. Seven yards will cost $60-$65. From this you can make two 10x8 panels. Stretch them onto 2x2 wood frames ($80-$85). Total cost for the two panels about $150 plus paint.

    James Van Leishout
    Olympia WA