Halloween Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some backstory: I have created a fake power generator using plywood, various random electronics (displays, switches, etc.), and paint for a mad scientist's lab scene this year. While it came out decently, I didn't like the plywood + paint = metal approach because it took a TON of effort and the wood grain still shows through. Not to mention the fact that working with clear coat paint is the bane of my existence.

Does anyone have any suggestions for alternatives to wood for future projects? One of the important features is that it needs to be fairly sturdy in order to attach various electronics (some of which can be moderately heavy, up to ~1 lb). Something like foam board probably won't work very well (not sturdy enough, can't easily attach screws to/through it, easily damaged from minor use).

Some random thoughts:
  • Foam board + some sort of wooden frame that would let me attach stuff to the wood while having the foam board be at the top.
  • Some sort of metal sheet layer on top of the wood that gives the metal look (metal looks like metal, who would have thought?). This would require fairly precise cutting of both the wood and the metal to get the holes to line up.
  • Some form of plastic sheet that I could cut, attach to, and paint to look like metal.
  • Build it out of metal. Square steel tubes for the frame and sheet metal for the faces. This would probably be the heaviest version and require a bunch of extra tools/equipment/supplies that I don't currently have. I would also have to be careful about insulating whatever electronics I have in it from the frame/faces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Two thoughts
Plywood that is smooth finished on 1 side. [ use a primer first]
ABS plastic. look it up in your local directory.
I used a primer on the one I have (several coats with sanding in between each one to try to level it out) and then several coats of silver paint on top of it (with sanding in between each coat), then a couple of coats of clear coat (no sanding). The grain still showed through.

How easy is it to paint ABS to get it to look like a shiny metal such as aluminum or steel?
 

·
Human Candy Shovel
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
I used a primer on the one I have (several coats with sanding in between each one to try to level it out) and then several coats of silver paint on top of it (with sanding in between each coat), then a couple of coats of clear coat (no sanding). The grain still showed through.

How easy is it to paint ABS to get it to look like a shiny metal such as aluminum or steel?
Use a different brand of primer. You shouldn't see any grain with that much paint.

Or put on a layer of bondo. That will seal away the leeching effect of the grain and level out the surface at the same time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
Possibly use particle board, MDF or luan. All can be purchased in a fairly smooth finish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Use a different brand of primer. You shouldn't see any grain with that much paint.

Or put on a layer of bondo. That will seal away the leeching effect of the grain and level out the surface at the same time.
I think I've been using the wrong term. It's not the grain as it's really the texture of the wood. I could use bondo/putty on the entire surface to even it out and then sand it down so it's nice and even, but that would end up being a great amount of work too since this is roughly a 4x8 sheet of plywood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Use MDF - smooth surface and easy to work with and paint. That is what I used for my large Bat Computer I made a few years ago. View attachment 225299
Do you recall what brand/color paint you used for that finish? The silver that I used made it look a little like duct tape (which is why I added the clear coat on top of it).
 

·
Hauntless
Joined
·
8,398 Posts
I've used Monster Mud to help change up the texture of plywood:



A link to that tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/892-painting-faux-metal-tutorial.html

Also have made some sturdy metal-like items using cardboard:



Link to tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/892-painting-faux-metal-tutorial.html


Also foam board can also hold some items (I'd say up to 1#)



Tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/1098-faux-steel-haunt-panels-tutorial.html

Hope that helps. Went on a faux metal tear a few years back :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've used Monster Mud to help change up the texture of plywood:



A link to that tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/892-painting-faux-metal-tutorial.html

Also have made some sturdy metal-like items using cardboard:



Link to tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/892-painting-faux-metal-tutorial.html


Also foam board can also hold some items (I'd say up to 1#)



Tutorial: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/1098-faux-steel-haunt-panels-tutorial.html

Hope that helps. Went on a faux metal tear a few years back :)
I've seen a couple of these tutorials before and really liked them. However, in this case I didn't want to have an overly rusty look, nor overly textured. I tried using some of your techniques (and wanted to do more to add some rust, but ran out of time so it's rust-less this year) but without a huge amount of success in this instance. I think my primary downfall was using regular old plywood (not super smooth 'furniture grade') and/or not smoothing out the wood enough beforehand. Next time I try, I'll get a small piece of MDF to experiment with and then go from there. I'm concerned about cutting into it and then screwing/bolting to it since MDF/particleboard can start to fall apart if you do that wrong/too much. Although, I did just have a crazy idea. I could make the frame like I did this year, but with thinner plywood. Then put a large piece of cardboard on top of it (glued in place probably). Then attach the bits to it and screw them down tight enough that they create little indentations, but no tearing or other damage. I could then take the cardboard and metalicize it like your second link, while I have the indentations for the screw holes as appropriate which would look like the pieces were riveted in place. I'll have to experiment with it next year (and find a sufficiently large piece of cardboard...)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top