Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by Greypawn, on 2005-04-26 19:39:23

Will cardboard present a problem for set construction?

Infect people with creativity and let the epidemic reign! I am about to build a minature set of a small town. It's basically just for some establishing shots. I'm curious if anyone uses cardboard and what problems I might face. I know there are probably better matierials out there however cardboard is free and I won't have to limit the project due to money! Thankyou

Posted by Strider, on 2005-04-26 21:38:53

Hey Greypawn- Wazzup! :P I'd say go for it. Yeah, there are some potential problems... that's true of just about any material... but with cardboard if it gets wet or excessively damp it could warp or collapse. But especially early in the learning process, experiment with lots of materials. You mihgt get frustrated a few days in and decide to switch to foamcore or basswood or something, but every bit of experience helps. Just keep in mind that cardboard will most likely end up looking like cardboard. I've thought about using cardboard boxes for forms and then dressing them up with other materials like construction foam.

Posted by Lima, on 2005-07-05 05:26:34

I'm using styrofoam for my buildings. I cut the windows and the doors out, and then I coat it with plaster. I like styrofoam because it is easy to cut and it is cheap. Of course you have to use paint that is washable with water, or else it will "eat" the styrofoam. I've never used cardboard though, so I can't help you in that matter.

Posted by Greypawn, on 2005-04-27 10:38:20

Hey Mike guess what?....Already switched to foam core. Yeah you were right, cardboard does start to warp when painted. That wasn't really the problem though. Remember that message at the end of "Street of Crocodiles"....How they used bits of trash and newspaper for thier set?...Well if I could get that look out of my set, I'd be happy! The problem is that cardboard is a pain in the "seating muscles" to cut and shape. It also frays way too much. It really isn't a bad medium for plain background shapes though (i.e. landscapes)but I needed detail! Also, are there any good sights that you know of for mini sets in live action film?

Posted by Strider, on 2005-04-28 00:29:08

I haven't really made any big setpieces yet, but for small ones like the brick wall behind my forge, I'm using construction foambord from the hardware store. It's like foamcore, but a lot thicker. You can peel off one facing and expose the foam, which can be carved, but not real easily... not like insulation foam, which carves like a dream. This stuff is a little springy, and kind of hard to cut. I should reword that... you can't really carve it so much as cut into it. But for good solid forms, you really should use some thin plywood or maybe some basswood. Get some aluminum angle stock... you can drill holes in it and use pieces of it like corner braces to screw into the wood, or maybe just glue it on. If you want cardboard, you could glue it on the surface of a wooden set and then it won't warp (unless you soak it down too much with the glue). Set construction is something I haven't really tackled yet. But have a look at Nick Hilligoss' site... he does great set work:

Posted by slothpaladin, on 2005-04-27 13:19:37

If you haven't you may want to check out, it is ment for Warhammer so the scale is a bit smaller but they have great ideas that can be adapted if you look around I made this shop out of cardboard and coverd it with some stuff they sugested and it came out looking like this: that is the link I found the info at... It was only a background shop and I don't even thing most people saw it in my film but it looks pretty good.

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-04-28 03:07:42

I often use Triwall, which is a corugated cardboard that's 18mm thick (3/4 inches). It has the same problems with dampness, but because it's thick it doesn't usually warp. When I've used thin card for small 1:24 scale houses (only about 10" wide x 8" high) its worked ok, but for bigger walls it does tend to warp over time. You need something rigid that stays put. You can use a lot of framing to support it, but then it's more work, so it's easier to use thicker stuff that doesn't need framing. MDF is good, it comes in many thicknesses. Foamcore is good too, with the advantage that you can cut it with a Stanley knife if you don't have a saw.

Posted by jamesride101, on 2005-04-30 15:30:13

Styrene (plastic) is good too. Abit flat and too perfect looking for some stuff, but it's easy to cut and sand (it snaps if you score it with a knife). It's the stuff model kits are made of and it welds with methyl or glues with cyanocrilate or hot glue (etc). Stock styrene strips at hobby shops are also a good thing and welding them on the sheet styrene is a snap. But don't buy the sheets at a hobby shop (too small and expensive for nothing). look in the yellow pages for plastics and call to find out if they sell 4'x8' sheets of styrene. Stirene comes in a multitude of thincknesses; thin as paper or thick, up to 1/4" I think. The 1/6"-3/32" thicknesses are brobably your best bet (easy to cut and not too heavy). I usualy attatch flat pieces of styrene by putting a couple of blobs or tacks of cyanocrilate glue(crazy glue) with some accelerator and then weld the pieces with methyl. Another nice thing about styrene is that you can get some nice smooth curves with it very easy. When weight and adaptability is a big factor I go with foamcore and T-pins. Putting something together and taking it apart is a brease this way.