Hot Burning Coals
The Hot Burning Coals prop is a dramatic effect that is fairly simple to build. The “coals” can be placed under a cauldron, in an open fire pit, or just about anywhere you need to have fire in your haunt without the heat.
- 1 string of 50 orange LED Christmas lights
- 1 can expanding spray foam
- 1 12 inch square piece of wood or plastic
- 1 can black spray paint
- masking tape
- assorted plastic bottle tops and/or bottoms
- box cutter or scissors
Start out by gathering up some small plastic bottles and cutting the tops and/or bottoms off of them. Using the masking tape, attach the bottle parts to the square. Then, unwind the lights and “drape” them over the square. Try shoving some of the lights up under the bottle parts for a more interesting effect.
The next step is to coat the entire prop in expanding spray foam. Before you do this, it is very important that you double-check the lights to make certain they work. Once the lights have been sprayed with foam, it will be impossible to access the bulbs. It is also important to stick the power plug off to one side. This view of the underside of the prop gives you an idea of how things look "inside".
Go easy on the foam, spraying a little bit at a time. If you’ve never worked with expanding foam before, take some time to get used to how quickly it grows. You want to have the lights coated, not buried. The goal is to create coal-like lumps in the foam. Whatever you do, do not touch the foam with your fingers until it is totally dry. The prop will need to sit overnight to dry all of the way through.
Once everything has dried, go ahead and plug in the lights to get a look at the coals. If you’re happy with the shape of the “lumps”, spray everything with a light dusting of spray paint. The paint will help to disguise the foam when it is out in the daylight or if it is hit with any of the other effect lighting in your haunt.
The final step is to find a spot to display your prop. In our haunt, we have a small pile of coals underneath our seeping smoke cauldron, but you could place your coals just about anywhere. Using more lights and more foam, you can create a larger scale prop to make a lake of fire, a lava-spewing volcano, or even a pit to burn someone at the stake. The only limit is your own imagination.
As a side note. I used plexiglass just because I had it laying around. plywood would do as well. When the foam dried, the ends did warp a tiny bit. Probably from the heat of the foam.
Also, at the end of the Halloween season, Big Lots has a 50 to 90 percent sale off there halloween lights. Run don't walk. I like using LEDs instand of old style lights because of saftey and longevity. LEDs don't get hot like conventional bulbs.(other then the resisiter getting warm.) So the risk of a fire is greatly reduced and after 3 years of using LEDs I have yet to replace a single bulb and considering this prop is encased in foam, theres no chance to replace the bulb.
This year I will be adding blue LEDs to the center of the lights. I will post pics when I'm Done.
I LOVE this site. EVERYTHING I built I got the idea from this site. Have fun !