Wednesday, May 5, 2010

vines, and Sleeping Beauty's bed

This is a very overdue post about the bed from Sleeping Beauty. The show wanted to be very natural and yet magical, the director talked about it having a "Narnia" or "Midsummer Night's Dream" feel.
I needed to build some sort of bed for sleeping beauty to be laying in when she is woken by the kiss and I decided it would be really cool if it was created out of natural branches and vines. I built the frame for the bed out of oak dowel rods (I didn't trust found branches to be strong enough for this part) and then used found braches for all the cross bracing. None of the cross bracing pieces is incredibly thick (the widest was probably a 2" diameter) but by using so many pieces at so many angles the bed frame became incredibly sturdy. 

The vines were created out of some camo-colored climbing rope I bought at Home Depot. This rope was rated for up to 100 pounds and since I was weaving it so closely together I knew no part of the rope would be taking near that amount of stress. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you are going to do anything like this be sure that the rope you use is rated. If it does not list how much of a load it can handle and you intend it to hold a person, it is not good enough rope. It doesn't matter how short an amount of time the person is on it, or how low to the ground they are, when safety is involved the better rope is ALWAYS worth the investment.
To make the rope look more natural I purchased a tub of liquid latex, tinted it green and painted the rope with it. The latex hid the weave of the rope, and gave the rope a more natural texture. When painting I made a conscious decision not to be particularly careful with how I laid the rope out on the tarp. This worked great because once the rope was dry, and I pulled apart the pieces that had dried stuck together, I was left with some very natural, interesting texture. 
Once the rope was dry I dusted it with brown spray paint (the green I used was far too bright) and wove it around my frame. The latex also helped to create some friction against the frame and allow me to wrap the vines much tighter. The fabric forming the alternate weave is actually some burlap ribbon I picked up at Michaels. I had never seen this stuff before but happened across it while working on this project and it seemed perfect. 
I tied some jute lashing around the joints to hide my screws, wove some dried grass in on the corners and the bed was complete. 
On a side note, this project would have been much easier if I had been able to work on it three weeks later. Good branches are hard to fine when you are wading through snow to get to them. Three weeks later as everything thawed and people started their spring yard work, the branches were everywhere. 

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