Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bamboo or is It?

I recently had the opportunity to do a fun job....

Turn PVC into BAMBOO.

As a set designer and scenic artist, I have used PVC for many
projects. One of them was to make it look like bamboo, 
but when the use is for the stage just painting the sticks was enough.

This project was for the bamboo to be very realistic. So first I did a little
web research and found a few ways to create that bamboo look.

The one that was right for me was to score and heat the growth joints
of the stalk. I found that using an electric barbecue charcoal starter was
perfect for scoring and heating the plastic.

After scoring and heating, squeeze the pipe to get that realistic look.
This project required 2 inch PVC. The smaller the size of the pipe, the easier it
is to press and get that growth bump.

Then it was time to prime and paint after you have used acetone to clean the 
writing off the pipe and light sanding for the pant to stick better.

The paint I decided to use was an acrylic enamel. Bamboo has many looks, with 
a variety of natural colors. Deeper tones is the way I wanted to go. Starting with 
some bright yellows, oranges and greens as my first under layer. 

Using red, black, yellow, orange and white I created different tones of browns.
Each being painted on with a chip brush. These brushes are inexpensive and 
the bristles give that textured wood grain look. 

After the body of the stalk was painted then the I enhanced the growth
joints with a little black and white. Real bamboo also has a sheen. With
that in mind, adding a clear polyurethane coat also adds protection to the paint. 

These finished Faux Bamboo sticks will be used for an upcoming event down in Miami. They will be placed over metal piping, used to light several tables. Then they will be available again for rent. 

If you have an event that needs specialty lighting and decor please go to

Photos from upcoming event using these bamboo sticks will be added later this month.

If you would like specialty items made, faux finishing, murals or fine art contact