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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welcome to my tutorial on the coffin bar I made last year. I will do my best to try and explain how I made it. I did not write down directions at the time and a lot of this I had to figure out on the way. I will do my best and if you have questions please ask. One change that may be worth considering is the height of the coffin sides. I went with 1X12's and while it works great for most things certain types of liquor bottles are to tall for it and hits the lid when closed.

Start off making the base for it. This is for hiding the fog machine and plumbing and also to store extra beer and drink supplies. I used 4X4's for the corners and 2X4's for the frame. I got all the brackets and lumber at Home Depot. What I wanted was the top of the coffin to be a height that keeps it easy to lift the lid and at a comfortable height for people to make their drinks. The 4X4 legs are 18" and I bought 4 locking 3" caster wheels.

I stopped the shelf part way so I could fit any taller items under it if needed. The top plywood is about 32"X 86"

I started the coffin by first drawing the size I wanted out on a piece of plywood and cutting that out. I made mine about 7'. Cutting the boards for the coffin was a little challenging for me. This was my first time really building anything from wood. I cut the lenghts needed from the 1X12. 55" for the bottom sides 31 1/2" for the top sides and 19 1/2" for the top and bottom. Remember that these are not cut be a professional and may vary a little bit. To get the proper angles I just used a protractor and got as close as I could. I told my wife that I just "Had to have" a miter saw to get this done. Hehe I got one, woo hoo, I love it.

After all the plywood base is cut and the side 1 X 12's are cut I places the sides of the coffin on the plywood base and marked off where they are sitting properly. I cut 1 X 2 peices and screwed them into the plywood base to give the 1 X 12's something that I could attach to. I put the side boards on top of the plywood so I could get as much height as I could from the bottom of the plywood to the lid. That gives as much room as possible for the liquor bottles.

After the coffin is complete I put decoritive molding on the top and bottom of the sides. This will hide the screws you use to attach the sides to the 1x2 that is secured to the plywood base.

Next you need to attach 1x2's at the tops of the side boards. This is what the top peice of plywood is going to be mounted to. The depth of this is going to depend on what thickness board you use for the top of the inside of the coffin and what thickness rope light you use. The top board is going to be cut so it sits inside the coffin on top of these 1x2's.

Leave room on the back side of the coffin for the hinges to fit in spaces in the 1x2's. You can see at the top where the head would go that I left a spce there too. That one is for the wiring that will need to pass through to light the cross that is mounted to the top of the lid. I would also leave a small opening at the front part of the head side. That would allow the wiring and plug for the rope light to come through. I had to cut it out later.

The top peice I used is a very thin peice of plywood with like a vineer top. Just pick one that you like. I think mine is redwood, not sure though. Remember that this is what they will see when the open the lid so just make it nice. Remeber too that this will get a little wet from people making drinks and stuff.

Next I cut paper templates of how I wanted everything laid out. I found some holders for the piquor bottles at The Container Store. They are about 4x4x10. Whatever your going to use just make the templates accordingly. This is also when I decided what sizes I was going to make the ice chests. If you want to use premade ice chests it would be a LOT cheaper and easier. I custom made mine because I wanted a certain look for it.

At the same time place the coffin on the base centered and screw it down into place.

I made the ice chests from PVC, cardboard and fiber glass. When you lay out tyour paper templates you will be able to see what size and shape works best for you. The smaller ice chest is for frinking ice and the larger for beer and soda. This part of the build was the hardest, dirtiest, and most expensive part.

Start by making a PVC skeleton in the shpe of the ice chests you want. remember if your doing this yourself that when your calculating the height if them that you have to add in the thickness of the fiberglass for the overall height. This was a mistake that I made, I was a little to tall about 1/8th in. You want to measure from the top of the 1x2 that was screwed in at the top of the sides of the coffin to the plywood.

Next take cardboad and cut peices to fit aroung the bot sides of the pvc skeleton. This works as an insulator. I was even going to use Great Foam and spray it inside but decided to skip it.


· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I put on three layers of fiber glass, sanding between each layer. VERY messy....make sure to use clothes you don't want to keep and get PLENTY of latex gloves. I would also recommend a mask when sanding.

I secured the ice chests using some of the 1x2 I had, just screw a piece on each side so that it is a snug fit.

I wanted the melted ice to drain from the chests so I put in a pvc drain system. Look at Home Depot or whatever you have for some type of PVC drain that you can put in. The one I used had a real small lip on it so when I slid it through the hole I cut in the fiberglass it held but didn't have much room for gluing. I eventually had to use more fiber glass and try to seal them in that way. Try to make sure that wahtever you use is water tight. I had a small leak in mine because of the fittings I used in the ice chest.

How I did it was to line the fittings in the two ice chests so they would be in a straight line. Drill one hole through the ice chest and then through the plywood bottom going through the base as well. This way after you mount the ice chests you can put the fittings through the ice chests and they will come out in the base. I had the pvc start at the small ice chest, go down to the second Ice chest where I had another fitting comming down ran a tee connector, continued the pvc to the end of the base down the back leg and put in a drain valve. Because of the fitting I used with the small lip on them if I leave the drain closed they leak a little bit, so I just put a cut hose into the drain and I leave them open and it drains out the hose and into the yard...no leaks.

After all that is done I bought some epoxy paint and painted the inside of both ice chests. This paint is not cheap but works good, won't flake or peal.

Place in your liquor bottles in a way that you like. I got 5 of them, the first two are acually for plastic glasses and the other three are for the liquor. I aranhged them the way I liked and then drew outlines of the tops of tem onto the plywood top that is going to go around them. I was lucky that the containers had a 4" diameter opening and I happen to have a 4" hole cutter. I cut a piece of styrofoam to after the holders were screwed down so that it would go a little over the top of the containers and take up some leftover space. They were a little short of reaching the cover plywood.

You can see in this picture that I also cut a hole in front of the small ice chest so I could run fog up in to the coffin from under it. I just used 2 1/2 in PVC with a tee on it. The for will make it from inside this part of the coffin into the part you see through all the little crevaces and small openings that are left in it. My original idea was to put vent holes along the front of it under the rope light but when I tested it they weren't needed, plent of fog got through. I decided to have the fog come out of the skulls I wanted to attach to the fron too. So I Measured where the skulls would be and drilled one hole for each skull through the front of the coffin.

Next I cut out the top plywood piece using a jigsaw. Cut out both ice chest holes, the condement holder and the holes for the liquor. Cut it but dont nail it down just yet. You want to make sure that all your electric and fog works good first cause once you nail it down you can't get back inside.

Cut the rope light to length. The plug should run through the plywood top and out the bottom into the base. You'll need to cut another hole in the base to do this.

Above the rope light I put a 1x3 board all around it as a cover and ledge. That way the rop light is not very visable and it hides any imperfections you might have from cutting the top plywood peace.

On the end piece of this 1x3, next to the head area, I put in a trigger that would turn on the rope light when the lid is lifted. I had to run the plug through the trigger. I used a plunger type and recessed it into the 1x3. I also had to adjust the hright of it so it would turn off and on at the right time, you want to make sure it turns off when the lid is closed.

Once you make sure that all the electrical is done and fog is working good and everything lines up nice and is all snug then go ahead and nail the top plywood on. You may want to run some silicone around the ice chests and outside edges to seal it up some. Remember that if your going to put LED's under the cross on the lid like I did you need to run those wires too.

After the top plywood is on run the rope light around the edges using the holders that come with the ropelight.

The 1x3 wood I used to cover the light was cut so you can lay it down on top of the sides of the coffin and nail into place....BE CAREFUL you dont want nails comming out the sides of the coffn, make sure you nail straight down into the 1x12.

Here you can see the trigger I used, how the 1x3 covers the light and notice the styrofoam I had to use to get the bottle holders to the right height.

For the lid I bought some boards at Home Depot that are tongue and grooved to fit together. They look like a lot of smaller boards from the top. When you cut the lid remember that you need to leave room in front so that after you mount the trim you can get you fingers under it to lift it up.

For the top of the lid I bought a cross at Hobby Lobby and mounted 3 red LED's under it. I took a 3/4" dowel and cut equal lengths. Glue those to the lid in appropriate palces so they will raise the cross about an inch above the lid. Drill a small hole next to the one furthest to the top for the wire to go through.

The skulls I bought at walgreens for 8 bucks ea. They are hollow and made from some kind of cast. I cut them in half and cut small holes behind the eyes and sides of the jaw for fog to come out of them.

I tried using spring assisted hinges but the weight of the lid was to much for the ones I had. I wanted to have them hidden and make it real easy to open the lid. Time ras running out so I just bought some nice looking hinges and put them on. The first hinges would have stopped the lid automatically when it was open. I had to improvise and I attached some red material I had laying around to the sides so the lid won't fall back. This was done in the last minute, I literally had guests showing up for the party as I was finishing all the trim work and putting the material on for the lid.

For the trim I used 1" on the bottom and 2 1/2" on the top. The trim will hide all the screws from attaching the sides.

I bought a curtain rod and some Halloween material at Walmart and made the curtains for the front.

Then just paint and stain.

I tried to get as much as I could remember into this but if you have questions please PM me, I will do my best to help.

I bought a rubber drink holder and put it in front of the small ice chest

· Registered
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If ya'll are going to build one here's an idea. When I first thought of it I wanted to put a slow moving actuator on the "feet" side to slowly raise the lid when it was activated. I thought that would be really cool. Maybe have some kind of open button someone could press.

· Registered
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's funny a lot of my friends said that I NEEDED to get a patent on it and sell it. My reply is that if everyone did that then none of us would have the Halloween displays that we do.......It's much more fun to share and see other peoples interpretations. Share and Share alike....

· Girl Gone Mad
1,667 Posts
Great Prop and a Great idea....especially for us people who are into the goth flare and can find use for this at every party! Thanks for the tutorial!
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