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Discussion Starter #1
I started this thread to get ideas for my 2009 Condemned Townhouse Facade. I'm basically trying to make my house look dilapidated and old... Here is a pic of my blank canvas:



... and here is my plan:



The biggest part of this project will be making fake window frames to cover the existing ones. They'll be made of card board, and painted to look like old splintered and peeling wood. I might even make a fake door to cover my glass storm door... I'm hoping that will be enough to fool anyone looking at the house at night. My back up plan is to just board up the windows if the frames don't work out. Here are some of my favorite "old haunted house" facades that inspired me:




Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Smitty
 

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Whoa! What's that one that's all red? Never seen that one! I love this idea and hope to do this one day to my house as well. Good luck, it looks like quite the undertaking!:eek:

As if Northern Virginia isn't scary enough! :D (I lived there for 6 years...barely escaped with my sanity! ;))
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, the first facade is a Fright Gallery Project. They do some awesome work; I actually think they are set designers or something... they live in California. I only wish I had the resources to make something that spectactular. For now, I'm sticking to windows!
 

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You could use plexiglass (or real glass if you like living dangerously) and cut out pieces to give the appearance of a broken window. You could add scrim, lighting and a scare. Turn on the lighting at the right time to reveal the scare to people outside.

Have you considered using foam board instead of wood to reduce the weight and chance of injuring someone if it falls?

I guess your HOA will not let the grass get tall to add to the look.

By the way, what part of NOVA? I'm in Reston.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You could use plexiglass (or real glass if you like living dangerously) and cut out pieces to give the appearance of a broken window. You could add scrim, lighting and a scare. Turn on the lighting at the right time to reveal the scare to people outside.

Have you considered using foam board instead of wood to reduce the weight and chance of injuring someone if it falls?

I guess your HOA will not let the grass get tall to add to the look.

By the way, what part of NOVA? I'm in Reston.
I'm in Cascades in Sterling... hi neighbor!

Adding broken looking windows is a good idea. I was considering a window sticker though that just looks like broken glass as opposed to real glass or plexi, both of which would be too heavy because I'm use just using cardboard, not wood, for the frames.

I am definitely doing some pop-up skeletons or mosters in the yard and windows. The bushes are perfect hiding spots. I wonder what I could use to have lighting turned on at the right time to highlight the props? what would you use?
 

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I was starting to feel all alone in NOVA. Other than a pumpkin here and there, I'm the only one that decorates for Halloween in my neighborhood. Good to know there are some others in the area.

I use motion sensors to trigger my props. I bought cheap motion sensor flood lights and an extension cord from Home Depot. I spliced the two together. Obvously be careful when dealing with electricity. The bad thing about the motion sensor (at least the several I have) is you can only choose the test mode (about 5 seconds duration) or 1 minute. So I purchased a couple different controllers this year for more flexibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just checked out your pics and your haunt is pretty cool. Did you do all that with foam? I want to use foam, but don't think I have the right tools. If I wanted to do basic tombstones or signs without investing a ton of money, what tools would I absolutely need to get the job done?
 

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Thanks, I hope to get better pics this year. The ones I took last year were more so I remember where things go.

The "let me out" pic shows a little of the facade I built out of foam and the "cemetery sign" pic shows the sign I made. I live in a townhouse as well, so storage is an issue. For the facade and cemetery sign I used the cheap white foam since I was going to throw it out. I used a dremel to carve the mortar lines, used flat black spray paint to color and eat away the foam to give it a stone look, and construction adhesive to attach it to the frame I built across the walkway. This year I'm going to build out and up from the garage.

For tombstones you'll want to use the pink foam for durability, and it is easier to carve.

I think a dremel is the most essential tool and is always generally helpful around the house. It makes quick work of the foam. You can probably find one on craigslist pretty cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That is awesome! I love the lightshow! The candy door is pretty neat, too. Might be just the thing I was looking for for my front door. I just recently moved into my neighborhood, so I'm not sure what the traffic will be like. It doesn't stop me though! Good idea to check out craigslist for tools, too. Thanks for all the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
8/9 update: okay, I finally started really working on the project again after a couple of busy weekends off. I got all the supplies I needed for my condemned mailbox. Total cost was less than $30, but of course I spent more than that (can't help myself inside the home depot.). I'll post some pics tonight once I find my camera cord. I also have started cutting the frames for my windows. So much to do, so little time!

The reason I'm writing though, is that I've decided make the inside of the mailbox part of my haunt. I was thinking to put a glowing green light inside of it, with a little dry ice for neat fog effect, and do one of the following: make the lid open and close all by itself OR make it appear as though something in the mailbox is moving/shaking.

Any ideas anyone?
 

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Since Halloween is on a Saturday, you can install your modified mailbox after the mailman drops off Saturday's mail. If you mailbox isn't too difficult to remove, you could buy a used one or make your own out of scrap wood. Then drill holes in it for light to shine out. You could hook up up a motor or pneumatic cylinder inside to make open/close the door, and run a pipe from a fog machine into the mailbox.

As an alternative, you should consider a small MIB. Probably would take just a little more effort, but you could place it any place you wanted. Also, going with the abondoned house theme, you could do a bottomless well. Here is a link to a bottomless pit that looks cool.
Bottomless Pit 2007
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the advice. Actually, we dont even have mailboxes on my street. All of our mail is delivered to kiosks. So having a real mailbox in the front lawn adds an element of humor. For mounting, I'm going to have to build a post from 4x4's. I found some scraps at home depot though, so I think I can fix that issue for free.

As for running a hose form my fog machine, thats genious. I was going to get dry ice... fog makes more sense and is less expensive. Do you happen know exactly which type of motor would be the best to use. I know its way, way way, over my head, but I might try to make it talk... in sync with audio. I saw this other guy make singing pumpkins and I thought that if he could get his pumpkins to sing, then I could get my mailbox to talk.


Here are the pics of the mailbox so far, as promised:






Mailbox was $14.99 at HD. I banged dents all over it with a hammer, messed up the lid a bit, and used matte black and rust colored textured spray paint to make it look old and dirty. I can definitely fit some sort of small motor inside, along with a light, and a fog machine hose. Just not sure what kind of motor I need to get the talking effect. If you find any good examples or instructions, let me know.
 

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In the past I've used wiper motors which I bought from monsterguts.com and a smaller motor I think is used to open/close car vents. I'll see if I can find the website for where I bought the smaller motor. The smaller motor does not have much power, so I would recommend the wiper motor. You may be able to get away with using the smaller motor to open/close the mailbox door, but the wiper motor will allow you greater choice in the future.

If you have a compressor (or want an excuse to get one), you could use a pneumatic cylinder instead of a motor. Most of my props will be pneumatic this year, and so far I like the results.

Because of the width of the mailbox, you probably need to have the linkage attachment low on the mailbox door, plus that will make the linkage less visible.
 

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That's a great looking mailbox. Have you thought of adding an accessory to the red flag? Maybe a small bat or pumpkin. Or, replace the flag with a same size corpsed cardboard arm and hand! Perhaps add some sharp teeth to the openning.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's a great looking mailbox. Have you thought of adding an accessory to the red flag? Maybe a small bat or pumpkin. Or, replace the flag with a same size corpsed cardboard arm and hand! Perhaps add some sharp teeth to the openning.
Actually I hadn't thought of it, but its a great idea! I'll see what I can do this weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update 8/13: I went to HD, again, and spent way too much money. Your a bad influence on me Goose!

My new $70 dremmel... not a bad price, and it came with attachments. I tested it on some foam board though, and its not as easy to use as it seems. I'll need some practice before I start carving.


Got some pickett fencing for the yard. I'll age it using paint and webs. 7 pieces will make one 5' section, and I need 30 feet total. At $10 per section, it's pretty expensive, so I'm trying to find as much scrap wood as possible to mix in before I buy more picketts.


Got the most rotten looking piece of 4x4 for my mail box post. It was 8' so I had them cut it in half... one piece can be used for my for sale sign! It's so ugly already, I don't have to do much aging!


Then I cleaned out most of the unwanted paint at HD... got green, brown, black, and even a gray stone tectured paint. A little disappointed though becuase the can that looks like it contained red actually had light grey in it. I guess I can just add black to make it a darker grey.


I found pieces of paneling that are the exact same size... I've decided that they would make the perfect column... just need to make a frame, and paint them with the stone paint!


I also got some foam board and started drawing tombstones out...


And I got some Great Stuff. Decided that the posts looked too plain, so I added some evil roots to them! I'll paint the roots tonight!


Got a lot of work to do tonight!
 

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You've been busy. How are you going to secure the mailbox post?

The dremmel has a mind of its own. When I used it on the foam for the facade, I drew stones of different sizes. That way when I went outside the lines it didn't matter.

I like the evil vine.

Not sure if you have seen this picture before. or if it will help with ideas for your fence. It is from another member's haunt. I don't remember who, though.
 

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