Costume Crafts


Spring, 2011

Pre-requisites/co-requisites: THE122, Stagecrafts I and THE123, Stagecrafts II

INSTRUCTOR: Deborah Bell, 12A Taylor Building, Office Hours: MWF 2-3pm

Phone: 299-3409 for individual appointments outside office hours—24 hours advanced arrangement


Web page:

OFFICE HOURS: Tues/Thur. 9:30-11am or by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introduction to craft materials for costume and stage properties. Craft materials will include leather, thermoplastic, industrial felts, oil-based clay, adhesives, fabric paints, fabric dyes, silk, muslin, and limited introduction to leather and Foss/Wonderflex/felt.


1. To explore a variety of craft materials and their potential use for performance design, particularly for implementation in costumes and stage properties. Craft materials will include thermoplastic, latexes, adhesives, fabric paints and fabric dyes, silk, muslin, and limited introduction to leather and Foss felt.

2. To understand and use safe practices when using these products.

3. To experiment with techniques using these materials and to create projects appropriate for a realized production and consequently for photographic documentation in a portfolio.


Projects will evaluate skill level, effort, and occasional experimentation beyond “traditional “technique. This is not a design class. While projects can and should be aesthetically pleasing, criteria will emphasize effective functional aspects of the project. If the project is used in a current production, the project’s design must follow the designer’s demands. The ultimate goal is to have a project worthy for inclusion in one’s portfolio reflecting a high level of skill. This class requires outside time as well as class time to complete the projects—probably averaging four to seven additional hours per week.

REQUIRED TEXTS: There are no required texts. However several highly recommended texts are available:

At Addams Bookstore and the UNCG Bookstore:

The Costume Technician’s Handbook, Rosemary Ingham

Fabric Painting and Dyeing, Deborah Dryden

Costume Crafts on a Budget, Huainxiang Tan

Mask Makers and Their Craft: An Illustrated Worldwide Study, Deborah Bell

SUPPLIES NEEDED: $50 total. Supplies are generally provided by the Department, particularly when the project is built for a production. A lab fee of $50 will be required for the silk and rayon scarves, muslin, silk, and a variety of disposable brushes, buckets, etc. The Department will pay this fee if you elect to allow the Department to keep your projects. Any money not spent from lab fees will be returned to each student at the end of the semester. Some additional items might need to be purchased for special personal projects (not used in productions) if particular adhesives, wiring, and/or paint colors desired are not in stock.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is expected and is taken into consideration when determining the overall course grade. Additional lab times will be scheduled as needed for production work. This room is used for several other classes. It is imperative that you clean up your area before you leave. Points will be deducted for anyone who leaves without approval from Deb and confirmation that your clean-up responsibilities are completed appropriately. Store your projects in process where designated.

ACADEMIC HONOR CODE: Each student is required to sign the honor statement on all major work submitted for the course. Refer to UNCG Undergraduate Bulletin.


Tan Huaixiang. Costume Craftwork on a Budget. Focal Press. 2007.

Silvia Moss. Costumes and Chemistry: A Guide to Materials and Application 718 237 0264 $75, ISBN: 0-89676-147-9 Published this year.

Ingham/Covey. The Costume Technician’s Handbook. New York: Heinemann Publishers. 1992. ISBN: 0-435-08610-3, Heinemann Publishers

C.V. Horie. Materials for Conservation: Organic Consolidants, adhesives, and coatings. London and Boston: Butterworth, 1981.

Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada. Shibori. Yokyo/New York: Harper & Row, 1983.

Astrith Deyrup. The Complete Book of Tie-Dyeing. New York: Lancer Books. 1972.

Anne Maile. Tie and Dye. New York: Ballantine Books. 1962.

Tuckman and Janas. The Complete Book of Silk Painting. Cincinnati: North Light Books, 1992.

Schwebke and Krohn. How to Sew Leather, Suede, Fur. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1966.

Iatsuya Hongu. New Fibers. New York: Ellis Horwood, 1990.

Arline M. Fishch. Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Sculptors, and Textile Artists. New York: Van Nostrand Reindhold, 1975.

A.J. Wilson. Foams: Physics, Chemistry, and Structure. New York: Lengland, 1989.


Jan. 11-13: course intro. Leather lecture

Jan. 18-20: plaster mold demo using alginate

Friday, January 21: Other plaster molds using plaster bandages as needed

Jan. 25-27: plaster molds

Friday, January 28: Other plaster molds as needed

Feb 1-3: clay molds for papier-mâché masks

Feb. 8-10: creating papier-mâché masks

Feb. 15-17: clay molds for large thermoplastic crowns/masks (for Angels in Hansel and Gretel?)

Feb. 22-24: papier-mâché masks due, thermoplastic demonstration, and mid-term exam

March 1-3: mid-term exam and thermoplastic experimentation, SETC (March 2-5)


March 15-17: thermoplastic crowns/masks due. Introduce fabric paints and dyes/studio experimentation

March 22-24: studio experimentation, dye experimentation with color

silk painting and resists, salts

March 29-31: introduction to shibori/tie dye dyeing experimentation, and air-brushing techniques

April 5-7: rayon scarves due April 14 (three)

April 12-14: rayon scarves dyeing and painting

April 19-21: silk scarves dyeing and painting, due May 9 at Final Exam (four)

April 26: discussion Foss/Wonderflex felt. Course evaluation

April 27, Wednesday: READING DAY

Final exam, May 9, Saturday, 12-3: take home final exam and silk scarves due and photographs of projects for portfolio


10pts plaster head mold

10pts clay mold

15pts papier-mâché mask project

10pts thermoplastic crown/mask project

5pts fabric dyeing experimentation

5pts fabric tie dyeing experimentation

5pts fabric painting experimentation

30pts scarf projects (three rayon using procion dyes, three silk using jacquard dyes/dye-na-flow paints, and one silk stripe)

05 pts mid-term exam

05 pts final take-home exam and portfolio photos

100pts total points