Rose Brand Know-How Blog

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3 Common Uses for Masking Fabrics

Masking fabrics can be used for a variety of purposes and projects. They are the versatile element that we see our customers using in almost infinite ways. Masking fabrics can be used to frame a theatrical set by using plush velour, such as Rose Brand 25oz Charisma Velour, in interesting colors with pleated fullness. Heavyweight fabric can be hung in fullness to absorb sound and deliver a better listening experience for viewers. Colorful drapes can be used to define the stage space while hiding the offstage activity of the cast and crew. In all of the scenarios it is important that the fabric be opaque to hide the people and equipment that are being masked. 

Manipulating Fixed Seating

If a theatre has fixed seating areas that are not being used for a particular production, masking can be used to cordon off the area. Fabric panels can be hung from suspended pipes or tracks that are hung in front of the seats to be hidden. Pipe and Base 2.0 systems are also available and allow for very versatile placement of the masking. The Pipe and Base system is ground supported and can be set up and moved as needed. 


Managing Sound*

Frequently, black box theatres are reverberant b

Some people prefer the look of flat masking. In that case it is very important to use at least two layers of heavy fabric with several inches of space in between. The air space in between serves to trap the sound that goes through the fabric. ecause the walls are flat, hard and parallel to each other. Sound waves just bounce back and forth. The energy of the sound needs to be dissipated and absorbed to reduce the reverberation. Historically, heavyweight fabric, such as Rose Brand 25oz Memorable Velour, is hung in fullness in front of the walls. The irregular folds in the fabric disperse the sound waves and the mass of the material absorbs some of the energy. 

Both of these solutions can be accomplished easily by tying the fabric to pipes mounted from the ceiling or installing the fabric on a pair of parallel traveler tracks suspended in front of the walls of the theatre.  Traveler tracks allow for adjustment and provide possible storage positions when the masking is not in use.

* Rose Brand recently tested the acoustical performance of eight of our most popular masking fabrics. Results for the medium weight 12oz Brava up to the heavy 32oz Royale are available in the Rose Brand Catalog and on the website.


Transforming Theatre Space

An ordinary black box space can be reconfigured to a theater in the round space with the use of masking fabrics. Let’s consider a rectangular black box space with galleries around the perimeter. When configured in the round, masking is generally used to cover the walls of the theatre and to provide passages for actors and crew. This can be done by tying the masking to the railing of the galleries or the masking can be hung from traveler tracks on the galleries. The traveler option provides more immediate flexibility when changing the space from a proscenium or thrust configuration to a round setup.


A Selection of Masking Fabrics Available from Rose Brand

Most Requested: 22oz Encore IFR

Broadest Color Selection: 21oz Marvel FR

Best Overall Sound Absorption: 25oz Memorable FR

Most Economical Solutions: Commando Cloth FR and Duvetyn FR

Durability for Long Term Installations: 30oz Wool Serge IFR


Complementary Products

Heat Borders


Pipe and Base 2.0