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Has anyone tried different light combinations? I was thinking of using red, blue and green LEDs each color in a string of 100. Trying to mimic the blue/green glow in places. Maybe not a good idea for coals though. But I think I may give it a shot. Got some boy scouts who are going to do a theater merit badge for Halloween so we are looking for a bunch of cheap props they can build. I got a few on my list but I would like to see a better version of what I did last time.
 

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Discussion Starter #223
I know this is a looong thread, but there are lots of pics of others' application of this formula with plenty of light variations. I'm not sure if I've seen those combinations, but have a look.

My original has some red, lots of orange and some purple - all on different blinking/controls sequences. The slow lite up and fade with each string on different timing really provides the most realistic effect, IMO.

Experiment with the combinations you like and please post pics of the results. Good Luck !! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #224
NEW Foam available ....

Our local Walmart has started carrying a "GE" foam that drys lighter than the Great Stuff and seems to be more firm when dried. The GE a bit less costly than Great Stuff and comes in a smaller can that seems to go just as far.

I have been making sand cast skulls this Summer - about 150 from Great Stuff and 150 from the GE foam. The GS stays softer and shrinks considerably. The GE will also shrink, but much less. The GE dries almost like those large blocks of foam you buy at JoAnnes and Michael's, but the surface dries smooth.

The GE RED LABEL foam at Walmart is definately a good, perhaps preferable alternative foam for the Glowing "hot" Coals

Hope this helps someone.
 

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Our local Walmart has started carrying a "GE" foam that drys lighter than the Great Stuff and seems to be more firm when dried. The GE a bit less costly than Great Stuff and comes in a smaller can that seems to go just as far.

I have been making sand cast skulls this Summer - about 150 from Great Stuff and 150 from the GE foam. The GS stays softer and shrinks considerably. The GE will also shrink, but much less. The GE dries almost like those large blocks of foam you buy at JoAnnes and Michael's, but the surface dries smooth.

The GE RED LABEL foam at Walmart is definately a good, perhaps preferable alternative foam for the Glowing "hot" Coals

Hope this helps someone.
Thanks for the insight LT scare, I will have to look into this.!!!

John
 

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LED Warning

I've posted a warning about using LED lights for the "hot coals" effect. I never thought that they could be a fire hazard!

Check out my post before you go ahead with this type of prop: You've been WARNED!


Also, I've posted a request for how to modify the LED strings I found at Target that are far superior to the junk strings I got off of E-Bay. Just need to figure out how to slow the twinkling lights down to a slow fade in and out. Got any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #227
Thanks for the heads up MokkNoir. My original prop uses the old incondescent minilights and is still functioning without issue. Had it on for several hours Sunday night - no problems. Please recall that I suggested using wiffle balls and ping pong balls over the bulbs and not completely trap them, if possible, with the great stuff. I can't say for certain, but I'd guess that this method might have avoided your smoking LEDs. The Incondescents I used are definately hotter than any LED made anywhere.

For any of you making this, or a similar prop, please don't spray the graeat stuff directly onto the lights, regardless of what kind of lights you use. Others might have done this with no problems, but better to be safe than sorry.

 

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Just wanted to chime in on this I finally made a small version of this maybe 18" by 18" for my witch and cauldron the pictures do not do it justice just used some orange lights and wiffle balls this looks absoluterly real gonna find a cracking fire mp3 and hook it up to my lightning fx box and see how ot comes out
 

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I used my new "hot coals and rotisserie this weekend to an overwhelming
response. Certainly a big hit. To the point that I had several offers to buy
them.

People actually borrowed my flashlight, got down on their knees and gave
it a good look. One of the most realistic props of the season.

It was a cool night here...some of the children pretended to warm their hands
as they sat by the fire. You could see the childrens breath in the air as they
warmed their little hands.

Totally blew the paying customers minds when they attempted to warm thier
own hands.

I sat it up as the lead prop...outside the corn, as part of the show before people
entered. "Something to look at."

My rotisserie is "hand-crank" model. Had a little skelly riding around. I like them
slow-roasted, you know. Had me a nice little poker, I would stop and poke the
poor skelly.

Checking on dinner. Talking to the crowd the whole time.

Then lead a group into the maze.

My first prop inside was my dead-man. I'd dance around and
try to get everyone to stay for dinner...we're gonna drag this dead
guy out front and cook him.

Fresh ribs tonight for sure...

So to the original poster who brought us this ideal...My hat is truely off
to you. That simple fire turned into a good half-hour show.

And stold the night. As a group, the fire department spent $800.00 this
year on new props. Some really nice stuff to add to our collection.

The fire walked all over them all night long. To the extent that many
people would go through the corn and then came back to the "fire' to
warm their hands and hang out.

If you don't have one of these fires yet, you gotta make one. It's the
"must-have" of the season.

Big-time hit !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #231
Just wanted to chime in on this I finally made a small version of this maybe 18" by 18" for my witch and cauldron the pictures do not do it justice just used some orange lights and wiffle balls this looks absoluterly real gonna find a cracking fire mp3 and hook it up to my lightning fx box and see how ot comes out
Glad it works for you. Any pics?
 

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I had a huge problem with these last year. I had a 3'x3' section of coals with skeletal "cremains" that sat inside of a faux boiler we had built. About an hour or so into the night, we started to notice an acrid smell of chemicals and guests noted that they saw smoke coming from the boiler, and how cool it was. i narrowed it down to the heat from the string lights releasing chemicals from the Great Stuff foam. Since it's insulating foam, it just holds heat in until it burns out the lights as well. I shut it down.

This year, I've taken a different approach. Using chicken wire as an armature, I squirted Great Stuff (in moderation) all in the chicken wire, making sure to leave in some good sized gaps for light and ventilation. I left the entire back of the coals open to allow for even greater ventilation, greater light intensity shining onto the back of the boiler, and it makes it incredibly easy to swap out dead light strings. You can even mount a lamp receptacle with an orange party light in there, and it burns bright.
photo (1).jpg
Chicken wire creates space in which to place the lights. (Soda bottles were used to help hold some stubborn, saggy bits of chicken wire. They were removed in the end.)

photo-(2).jpg
Built up from the ground up. Larger spaces in the foam allows more air flow, plus more direct, "hotter" light.

photo-(3).jpg
Black coat with lighting. I later dry brushed in grays and whites on the high points, and fixed the shading on the side of the skull.

It still gets smelly, but not as bad as it did last year. i think with a fan blowing into the cavity will keep the foam cool enough to not release those chemicals intot he air.
 

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It's called Great Stuff. You can get it just about anywhere, but it runs a little on the expensive side if you're on a budget. If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore near you, check there. I got slightly damaged cans for $2 each.

I found out what was causing the smell in my first set of coals. It wasn't the Great Stuff burning. It was the heat from the string lights being held in starting to melt the wires. It's a HUGE health hazard to your guests, so you need to be careful to either use LED lights that don't heat up, or use my method of chicken wire to build open space so air can flow in there and keep the lights cool.
 

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Thanks for the advice. So if I do Led I'm ok because it wont get too hot? Seems like this kind of foam works in lots of applications now that i'm looking into it. How quickly will it dry?
 

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Discussion Starter #238
Great Stuff is great, but you need to know:
VERY MESSY
VERY sticky
The thicker you lay it on, the longer it takes to dry
Will always shrink - I made about 200+ skulls with it using fine sand molds. The skulls would shrink and deform - actually look cooler IMO - for about two days.

Wear disposable rubber gloves and I recommend you coat them with WD40 (I also used WD40 on my sand molds to minize the wasted sand)

Do not expect to change the shape of the great stuff by touching it to move it. Better to spray too much, then cut down with a knife (cuts VERY easily when dry) later.

Walmart has a GE copy cat brand of Great Stuff that is about a $1 or so cheaper than GS. It seems to have identicle characteristics.

I STRONGLY recommend you work in the confines (no wind) of your garage and on a plastic drop cloth.

You can paint the dried GS with spray paint, acrylic or whatever.

In my experience, NONE of my LEDs covered in GS have gotten too hot. However, there have been some reports of this being a problem. IMO it's best to use pieces of a milk carton or whatever, to create air pockets around a group of bulbs before you spray, then poke a hole thru the GS as a vent. Several have reported this is not necessary - it may not be for most lights. My oldest "Glowing hot coals" use this process. They are about 5 years old now and still function perfectly despite being stored out side, wrapped in a couple of plastic bags.

Hope this helps.
 

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Do not expect to change the shape of the great stuff by touching it to move it. Better to spray too much, then cut down with a knife (cuts VERY easily when dry) later.
You can actually do this to some extent if you wait till it skins over, but not fully dries. You should be able to pinch, crease, dent, and dimple it to add more texture, or squash down parts that are too high. You won't be able to make huge changes, but you can add subtle details this way. Just be sure a good thick skin has formed and wear gloves in case any squeezes out.
 
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