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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #1
I built this fence pillar for Halloween 2009 as a prototype. There will be a light in the top portion and I will slide in translucent plexi panels in each of the four sides and put a cap on it. My intention was to frame out the lower portion and then attach chicken wire loosely around it and coat it in stucco or some kind of cement. I stopped at this point to see it anyone had any ideas on whether or not I should proceed. For those of you that are about to type that I should use styrafoam I would really like to try this this first. The van you see in the back of this pic has sheets of styrafoam in it . I just want something more substantial due to wind, rain and people actually leaning on the fence. If all else fails I will use styrafoam. But, I think this will look pretty cool. So any suggestions on how to coat this puppy would be greatly appreciated. I need to make 8 more of them so I need to get going.:D

I actually think it would look really cool the way it is if I had a pirate themed haunt! :) All I would have to do is slide in the plexi panels in the light portion and put a cap on it.

 

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Hauntless
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I think the chicken wire and monster mud coating would be a great idea. What theme is your haunt? Because you could incorporate a lot of things in the mud. For example:

Bones embedded in it.

Reapers on the face of it.

PumpkinRot type scarecrows on the face of it.

Peeling mortar with an emblem like Haunted Mansion
 

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This is great! Im a big fan of wood. Fight the foam!

Is the bottom open? I think that is an important thing, make it so that you can put other things in it for storage. You could also mount a motor through the top to make something spin... or with the hole, you could mount a green or red light inside, then that plexi glass area could give of a pretty earie glow.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #4
I think the chicken wire and monster mud coating would be a great idea. What theme is your haunt? Because you could incorporate a lot of things in the mud. For example:

Bones embedded in it.

Reapers on the face of it.

PumpkinRot type scarecrows on the face of it.

Peeling mortar with an emblem like Haunted Mansion
I am going with a pet cemetery theme. If I chicken wire it and then monster mud it will it be waterproof or do I need to add a coat of something else to waterproof it?
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #5
This is great! Im a big fan of wood. Fight the foam!

Is the bottom open? I think that is an important thing, make it so that you can put other things in it for storage. You could also mount a motor through the top to make something spin... or with the hole, you could mount a green or red light inside, then that plexi glass area could give of a pretty eerie glow.
The plexi that I am going to use is tinted kind of yellowish(I think people use it for greenhouses). I am actually using the light fixtures out of fridges and stoves. I don't think the light bulb will be visible through the plexi so it will have an old eerie feeling and I have flicker circuits rigged up to put in a few of the pillars so they will look like they are broken and short circuiting.

Oh and the pillars are hollow and don't have a bottom. That way I can slide it over 2x2's that I drive into the ground. Then I can screw them to the 2x2's and the will be really secure. I don't plan on putting any props in or on the fence pillars, but I do have something for the columns on the entrance archway. I am going to have chains hanging down on the columns and I built a rig that goes inside the column and rattles the chains when people walk by.

I actually don't mind the foam, its just we get a lot of people and they like to go right up to the fence and I think this will make it a lot more sturdy. If I don't come up with a good way to coat these I think I will try and come up with a way to make the frame inside the foam pillars sturdier. Plus this just means I have more foam for tombstones!!! :D
 

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I made my entrance pillars out of 2x2 framework skinned with 1/4 inch plywood (not even pressure treated), with all joints sealed with paintable caulk and then primered everything. I wanted the pillars to be light but not fragile. I then made a batch of monster mud and used paint rollers to cover the entire thing. It gives it the appearance of being made of concrete, and has actually fooled some people even in the daylight. I did have to give it a new coat last year and touch ups every couple years, but its held up well for the one month a year I've had it up over the last six years. I live in Houston and we often get rain in October. I then wired in a pair of outdoor wall lights someone was throwing away (I did the flickering light effect in one also plus spray frosted the glass), and added a couple vacuum formed bats from Party City that I painted bronze. Like Terra described, there are many ways to go once you decide what look you're after. My pillars are eight feet tall, so its very important to secure them well to prevent wind damage and for the safety of the TOTs. Let me know if you're interested in how I secure mine and I can post it.

Since it looks like you used pallet wood for the sides, and it sounds like you prefer a masonry look, the wood will give the foam a very solid base making it less prone to damage. But as long your gaps are fairly tight between the slats, you may be able to add just enough monster mud or stucco to give it a relatively smooth outer surface without adding so much additional weight to make moving them an Olympic event.

Demon Dog
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #11
OK so I decided I would try a couple different techniques on my prototype pillar. I found an unopened 5 gallon tub of all purpose joint compound in a dumpster. Yeah I dumpster dive, a contractor tells me when he is tossing metal so I can recycle it, and when I got there I found the joint compound. So I covered two sides of the pillar in joint compound. I am going to cover that in Drylock. I just need to get some black paint to mix with the Drylock, because all they had was white Drylock in my area. Hopefully I can mix up a decent shade of gray.



I think it looks decent so far. Hopefully with some sanding and a coat or two of Drylock it will look pretty cool. I wanted to try Quickcrete as well on the other two sides and then maybe make another pillar and try monster mud on two sides of that and stucco on the other two sides and see which of the four turns out best. Unless the helpful folks on here give me even some more suggestions. :)
 

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ardhauntjunkie, that's looking great! Can't wait to see the end result.

I must confess I'm so envious of everyone's columns, hearses and Mausoleums!

Note to self - MUST win lottery, but large super cool looking house and make whatever I want for my yardhaunt!!! LOL
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #13
ardhauntjunkie, that's looking great! Can't wait to see the end result.

I must confess I'm so envious of everyone's columns, hearses and Mausoleums!

Note to self - MUST win lottery, but large super cool looking house and make whatever I want for my yardhaunt!!! LOL
No need to win the lottery. I have built this for free so far. I know that I lucked out finding the joint compound, but with some creative searching a lot of props can be built dirt cheap.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #14
I made a short video of the flicker effect that I want to use in one or two of my pillars. I used the starter from a fluorescent light fixture. I will probably end up needing 8 or 9 total pillars So I think one pillar with a flickering bulb on each side of the house will do the trick and then just normal lights in the rest of the fence pillars.

YouTube - Movie 0002

I still need to come up with glass for the light fixture. I realized that a lot of fridges have glass shelves. One that I have on my truck right now has shelves that say they are tempered glass. I measured and I can get all four of the pieces of glass for my prototype pillar from one fridge. If anyone knows how to cut tempered glass I am all ears. This pillar has been free so far. Including all the wood, the light socket, bulb, florescent light stater and wire. So it would be pretty cool if I can scrounge the glass as well. Then all I would need to do is buy paint for the pillar(I am hoping to find that in the oops paint section at Home Depot) and paint to frost the glass. ;)
 

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all dry-lock is ..is latex paint with sand in it basically you could also go for that fake brick paneling on the columns.
 

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I hear ya yardhauntjunkie. I lucked out and built my flickering LED candelabra for about $8 total. Just gotta get more creative in finding stuff like that!
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #17
I am bummed because I found out tempered glass can't really be cut. I came across some cool glass in a refrigerator and I was going to use it in the light fixtures for the top of my pillar. But, I can't cut it down to size because it is tempered. :confused: So now I am trying to find fridges that have shelves and bins that are plastic or plexi that I can use for my light fixture. I am assuming I can paint the plastic to "frost" it. Plus it will be safer then having glass.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #19
I am so excited. I found some wavy plexi in a fridge. It was the bottom of the pull out bins. I simply used the table saw to cut the bottom out and then trimmed them to fit. I got two pieces from each bin so I was able to get all four sides of my light fixture for one my pillars!!!!!!!! 8 or 9 more to go. :)



This is a close up of the wavy plexi. I am going to paint the wood of the light fixture black so it looks like metal. I am not sure about the top yet though. I don't know if I want to have it look stone like the pillar or paint it black like the fixture.

 
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