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Faux Steel Haunt Panels

4946 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MichaelMyersSickHead
Note: This is a repost of an old tutorial whose links to pictures were broken with the software update at HF.

Problem: Your garage haunt has an opening to the outdoors. Two rather BIG openings. You thought tarps would do it but alas, they look awful. You go to Transworld and gawk at the gorgeous vacuform panels. They are at least $100 a piece, have minimum orders and cost a fortune to ship. What to do... what to do? Why... get the old standby - pink styrofoam, of course.

You'll be transforming pink foamboard into scary industrial steel panels to disguise the happy girly color.

Here's a video tutorial which is a great way to get an overall feel for what this build will be like. Please watch:

Let's get started...

Materials Needed: (for one panel)
3/4" thick pink or blue foamboard panel
Three 8' furring strips
Twelve 4" x 1 1/2" pieces of plywood
Four 2 1/2" coarse drywall screws
Twenty-four 1 5/8" coarse drywall screws
Foamboard glue
Glidden Gripper
Twenty 3/8" tile spacers: https://www.lowes.com/pd/TAVY-100-Pack-1-in-W-x-1-in-L-3-8-in-Gray-Plastic-Tile-Spacer/1198403
Quart of exterior gray Glidden Gripper paint (exterior)
Silver latex paint (had used Ralph Lauren)
Raw sienna acrylic paint
Rust colored monster mud
Light rust colored monster mud
Flat black acrylic paint
Clear gloss acrylic varnish
Paper towels

Optional Accessories:
4 mini louvers 3" (air vents): https://www.lowes.com/pd/Air-Vent-3-5-in-L-Mill-Aluminum-Soffit-Vent/3017509
1/2" thick pink or blue foamboard panel
PVC drain strainer
Plastic rafter vent: https://www.lowes.com/pd/ADO-Products-Provent-22-in-x-48-in-Rafter-Vents/3032768
16" x 8" air vent: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Air-Vent-8-in-L-White-Aluminum-Soffit-Vent/1000515457
16" x 4" air vent: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Air-Vent-4-in-L-White-Aluminum-Soffit-Vent/3017528
Hooks and zip ties for mounting to house
Cement block(s)

Tools Needed:
Table saw, jig saw or band saw
Caulk gun
1/8" drill bit
Carving tool kit
Box cutter
Paint roller
Small foam paint roller
3" brush
2" angle brush
1/2" brush
Stanley SureForm Shaver
Paint roller tray
Paper towels or sea sponge

Optional Tools Needed:
Tin snips
Air compressor with blow gun
Piece of PVC pipe
Nylon paint stripper brush
Hardware scissors

Make a Frame: Frame out your panel using furring strips. Place two 8' pieces vertically on your workspace and cut two 45" pieces for the horizontal top and bottom. Note: The pink foam you see is not part of the panel. I used a 2" thick one as a workbench. Pre-drill each corner with an 1/8" screw bit and drill into place using 2 1/2" screws.

Place Glue: Lay down foamboard glue on the entire frame. Remove the protective plastic wrap on both sides of the 3/4" thick foam. Line up and place the good side down on the frame.

Clamp in Place: Evenly spread out the plywood pieces around the edges of the foamboard and glue. Secure with two 1 5/8" coarse drywall screws at each end of the plywood pieces.

Cut Edges (picture 1): Cut a 3/4" thick foam panel into 3 1/2" wide strips lengthwise. You will need 3 strips per panel. Use a table saw (easiest), jig saw or make a rigging for a band saw.

Glue Strips (picture 2): Lay down a strip vertically next to the furring frame, mark and cut to fit. Glue in place using Glidden Gripper. (Note: Super 77 glue was used before I discovered Glidden Gripper). Do the same for all the edges.

Attach 'Rivets': Randomly place 20 tile spacers on the edges of the panel. Push down to create an impression. Dig out where the impression is to help the tile spacers sit down nicely onto the foam. Glue into place and smooth out the caulk around the edge. They are haphazardly placed so you get the feeling some crude men/monsters built them. They don't use rulers.

Optional - Mini Louvers (picture 1): Cut the back ridge of a mini louver so it will sit down better into the foam using tin snips. Mark where you'd like it and pick out a seam so it will sit down nice and flush. Glue into place. Repeat for the other three corners.

Optional - Drain (picture 2): Cut a large square of 1/2" thick foam out. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap on the foam. Glue at the top right of the panel using Glidden Gripper. Dig out a spot in the center for the drain and glue in using foamboard glue. Put the glue heavy around the edge of the drain and smooth in. It will look like metal welding once it's painted.

Optional - Large Steel Plates (picture 3): Cut two very large squares of 1/2" thick foam out (remove the plastic wrap) and glue one above another onto the panel using Glidden Gripper. Cut the rafter vent so you get two good-looking grids. Place them beside each other underneath the foam squares. Glue into place using Glidden Gripper.

Optional - Air vents (picture 4): Glue the large 8" tall vent near the top and the 4" tall vent underneath. Put the glue heavy around the edges and smooth in to again give you a welded look.

Paint Panels: Roll paint onto the panels on both sides and use the 2" angle brush for areas the roller can't reach. Had used gray Glidden Gripper primer paint as an experiment and loved it. Its coverage was phenomenal. You may want to consider using this or an exterior latex gray paint. Drylok could also be used giving your panels a grittier look.

Paint Silver: Paint the panels with silver paint using an up and down drybrush technique but use a lot more paint so you see obvious up and down strokes. Should give you the impression of brushed metal.

Add Rust: Raw sienna is a great color to add a rust look to your panels. You'll be using a drybrush stroke again here but you can use more random strokes on the wide edges so they will show more rust coloring. The plan here is to make the wide edges look like iron and is a different metal then the sheet metal the panel is made of. Use the 1/2" brush for the inside edges. You still want to put some rust on the sheet metal but use light up and down strokes to keep the illusion of sheet metal.

Optional - Blow on Rust: I go back and forth on whether this was a good effect. You can judge for yourself watching the video. If you like it, here's how it was done: Scrape some rust-colored monster mud onto a scrap PVC pipe and blow it onto the surface using the blow gun attachment from your air compressor. That's it and have fun. Oh... drinking and blowing chunks of monster mud is an excellent past time. I would know.

Optional - Texture on Rust (picture 1): Use the nylon paint stripper brush in alternate directions to give a diamond plate look to a panel.

Sponge on Rust (picture 2): Use a sea sponge or wadded-up paper towels and dabble on the rust-colored monster mud. Change up to a lighter colored monster mud to help give definition and depth to the rust.

Gross Slime (picture 1): Place a large amount of green monster mud in places where slime would ooze out. Start at the top and use the assistance of gravity to give you a realistic look. You'll probably have to help it along with your brush.

Mud Splashes (picture 2): Apply brown monster mud using a small foam paint roller. Concentrate on the bottom of the panels where mud would be splashed up from passing trucks, marching infantry, and/or hordes of zombies.

Bird Droppings (picture 3): Drop white monster mud at the top of a few panels as nesting birds would do.

Black Dry-brushing: Drybrush flat black paint over the entire panel using cross-strokes on the edges and up and down strokes in the center. This is a magic step and adds the final convincing look of metal. It makes it look old and adds great depth.

Rust Stains (picture 1): Water down the raw sienna paint and push onto spots of the panels where years of rain would have rusted and stained the steel. Concentrate on the corners of the air vents and rivets. Let it dry for a bit and then brush it back down to smear it up some. You could also use even more watered-down raw sienna paint in sections on the panel to dull and rust it down. Do the same process using black paint in either the same area or new areas. Let dry.

Gloss Paint (picture 2): Paint gloss over any slime or any spots on the panels to make it look still wet. Dip your brush into the gloss again and fling it onto other areas for a yucky splattered look.

Install on House: Place your first panel on the house. Pre-drill and attach a hook to the top furring strip frame of your panel. Place another hook on the frame of your house. Zip tie in place. Do the same for the other corner of the panel. Place another panel next to the first one and put another hook into the furring strip. You can use the same hook on the house to zip tie the second panel in place. Repeat for all the panels.

Walk inside the garage and at the bottom of the panels place more hooks on the small pieces of plywood so you can zip tie the panels to each other to help add strength and join them up. Go back outside and place a cement block at the bottom to keep them from swaying out too much from wind. Unlike what's pictured though, place the cement block on the edge where an exit is. Kids were so scared they were plowing through the exit so that will help keep the panels in place.

This process is explained in a section of this video:

Well, you are done!! Thanks for checking out this new tutorial.
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Wow, thank you for those wonderful comments. I took one summer art class and that's it. My career was in food service and while climbing up that ladder I was a garde manger (you decorate things with food) and also a food stylist. But, buried deep down was the desire to do exactly what I did for Halloween. Play with all kinds of things that open up the creative mind. Don't be fooled though with how effortless it looks. Editing makes anyone look like they don't make any mistakes ;)
what fabric did you use on your walls?
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