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DIY silks


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So I'm looking to build a couple of home-made butterfly frames and silks and I'm balking at paying hundreds of pounds for the fabric just because it comes from a grip supplies company. I'm sure it must be available from a standard fabric shop for much less - but I haven't been able to find out exactly what sort/weight of silk (or more likely rayon) I should look for. Does the EOSHD hive mind have any pointers please?

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The saga so far has seen me order 3 different fabrics. A white ripstop parachute nylon (suggested by the estimable Phil Rhodes), a classic sailcloth and some 'bridal' tulle. Picked up a length of muslin while I was there! Frame-wise I was pricing stuff up and it works out that just buying a couple of Manfrotto Lastolite 2mx2m frames will be cheaper than trying to build my own. I'll keep the board posted as to my progress.

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A progress report:

The Lastolite 2m square frame arrived. Gosh! 2m is actually quite big, isn't it! Anyway - the fabric samples also arrived and to my eye there are 3 types worth pursuing. The bridal tulle will, I think, work very well for diffusing daylight with very little loss of luminance. The ripstop parachute nylon looks like an excellent choice to diffuse a lighting instrument (I have a 2.5k tungsten fixture I picked up on eBay arriving soon) and, lastly, plain old white muslin looks like a good in-between choice (and obviously makes for an excellent bounce as well).

So I now just have to find these fabrics in 2m wide rolls and order sufficient to make the panels - I'm thinking iron-on velcro will be the best (and easiest) solution for fixing to the frame.

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8 hours ago, noone said:

Maybe visit charity clothing shops and see if there are any old large bridal gowns being put into rags out the back?

To be honest, fabric bought from generic suppliers is so cheap it wouldn't make any sense to spend the time (although Hove, where I live, is the charity shop Mecca of Sussex!).

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If you frequently will be shooting outdoors, you might consider using rags that breathe, as ripstop nylon and sail cloth can turn your "6-by" (2mx2m frame) into a powerful sail/kite.  When I used to build frames out of PVC, I would mostly use cheap, white bed sheets as a silk.

 

Also, it might be good to use "grommets and ties" to attach the rags to the frame, as they are secure and easy to use, and they can be readily adapted to fly the rags in other ways, without the frame.

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