Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Plastic Champagne Flutes

In Hamlet at Notre Dame Shakespeare this past summer we needed a large number of champagne flutes for a party scene. I didn't have much money to spend on the prop, and had previously decided with the director that we would do our best to avoid putting any glass onstage in this show (there was so much stage combat that anything glass was guaranteed to break). We found a selection of plastic flutes that fit our look at Party City, quickly discovered that the cheap plastic was far too light. When the actors were holding the flutes in their hands we had no problems, but sitting on a table or on a waiter's tray it only took a slight breeze to send them all tumbling. 
To solve the problem of glassing falling (and then breaking), we needed to weight the bases of each glass. I had my assistant fill the small cavity at the bottom of each glass with silicone caulk. We pressed a large heavy washer into the caulk and then filled the base the rest of the way. We smoothed out the caulk so that the glass would sit flat on a surface and let it dry. 
You can see here that the inner layer of caulk stayed cloudy long after the outer layer had dried and become transparent. Fortunately this wasn't a problem for my purposes. 
 We carefully taped over the bottom bit of the bell of the glass, and then spray painted the stem silver. 
 Then repeated several dozen times
 Once the tape was removed we had a set of silver stemmed champagne flutes that were safely plastic, light to carry on a large tray, nicely weighted to not tip over, and less than $1 each. 

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