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Thread: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

  1. #1
    Momo's Avatar
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    new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    I'm setting up a mini studio in my office for product photography. We just got a nice new 9' x 12' espresso-colored muslin. Should I wash it to get the wrinkles out? Just curious to know if anyone washed theirs. I wouldn't hit it with more than a drop of detergent... if that. And lowest setting in my dryer since I have no interest in buying a new one after I shrink it down to the size of a napkin.

    Thank you...

  2. #2

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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    I believe that you can wash them, but that's likely to give you more wrinkles, not less.

    I just use a steamer on mine -- you can pick them up for next to nothing.

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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    I get many of the wrinkles out by tossing my muslin backgrounds in a clothes dryer along with a couple of sheets of fabric softener and a damp towel. Our dryer has a "touch up" cycle which seems perfect for that use.

    I then hang it and use a steamer like Colin does to eliminate or greatly reduce the wrinkles. I purchased my hand steamer for less than ten U.S. Dollars on eBay.

    The best thing to do is to leave it hanging however, if you must store it compress it into a tote bag - don't fold it. The random wrinkles from the bag are not as evident and can be removed easier than the creases from folds.

    That is the good news. The bad news is that there are some muslins which, no matter what you do; still look like an unmade bed. The only remedy for that type of muslin is either use serious selective focus to blur the background or do what I did: I tore up that background for rags...

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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    The bad news is that there are some muslins which, no matter what you do; still look like an unmade bed.
    I'm thinking of experimenting with a system by which they can be pulled taught inside of a rigid frame - a bit like a trampoline is held taught with strings.

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    Momo's Avatar
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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    All good ideas... thank you. I did some test shots today and I just cringed at the sight of the creases in the background. I couldn't get the product far enough away from the muslin to blur them out. Ack! I like the steam idea.

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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Momo View Post
    All good ideas... thank you. I did some test shots today and I just cringed at the sight of the creases in the background. I couldn't get the product far enough away from the muslin to blur them out. Ack! I like the steam idea.
    Welcome to the real world of product photography, where "Photoshop is your best friend" (especially the Pen tool!)

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    Re: new muslin backdrop - wash/no wash?

    Any new cloth; and muslin is no exception, will be treated with sizing (an industry term for starch) which is applied to help during manufacturing. It will hold the creases quite nicely. If you wash it, muslin is made of cotton and will shrink quite nicely, and will continue to wrinkle.

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