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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Building My Mausoleum or...
(How I learned to stop building heavy props and embrace the light weight world of styrofoam.)

Okay, so I took this beautiful Memorial weekend and built a mausoleum. I’ve been wanting to for a while, and this good weather gave me the opportunity.

A bit of back-story: I am building a bunch of new props this year and my plan is to build everything out of strips of 1x4 (usually cut into thirds to make three 1x1 lengths) and ¾” sheets of styrofoam. This allows me to improve some existing props and make everything lighter and easier to store.

This is a prop showcase thread decoted to my mausoleum build. A discussion of stryofoam builds and glues can be found here: Best Glue For Styrofoam?


Saturday: Day One

I started by building a basic frame. Each side of the mausoleum can be taken apart by removing a couple of screws. This design allows each side to be a flat piece for storage. (My 5 year old daughter is sitting within the frame.) Each side is five feet wide, and the peak is 7 feet tall.



I liked how the frame came together, but I was worried that it might actually be a little too light, so I cut some one foot strips of ½” MDF and placed them at the base of each side of the mausoleum. This added a few pounds to the base and made the structure more secure in wind. After that, I started lining the frame with the styrofoam sheets. I secured the sheets to the wood frame with Liquid Nails. (One thing I learned about the white styrofoam is that the Liquid Nails will slowly eat through any exposed styrofoam. It is best to leave the protective film on the side you are gluing. If you don't want to leave the film on, then paint the piece first so the Liquid Nails will secure to the paint and not directly to the styrofoam)



Sunday: Day Two

I continue to cut and secure the styrofoam sheets to the wood frame. I decided to go with a gothic style, so I carved a curve into the opening.



After the initial covering was complete, I went back and started cutting out details for the front and sides. For the round repeating archway, I used the foam copper pipe insulation. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I also cut a sheet to add depth and detail to the side panels.



Monday: Day Three

Day three was spent doing some finishing touches to the main forms and paint, paint, paint. Here are some pictures of what I ended up with Monday evening. My plan from this point is to add detail to the entrance. I am hoping to put a flat-cut skull on either side of the entrance within the pillars, and add accent medallions on the angled flat of the doorway. I am also thinking of adding a thin ribbing to the roof sections.





Here’s a detail shot of the entrance arch with the copper pipe insulation and styrofoam accents.



This is a "straight on" shot of the mausoleum to highlight the layering of the doorway. I am going to build a rod iron gate out of PVC pipe to go across the lower portion of the entrance. (my 12 year old is lying in the mausoleum to avoid the afternoon sun.)



My plan with the interior is to cut styrofoam sheets to fit between the wood frame so they look like interment vault cover stones. Each stone will have a humorous name or epitaph. I will be painting the interior (and continue to detail the exterior) so the mausoleum has a worn, stone appearance.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Now I know a lot of you will suggest I set up a crank ghost, but what I really want to do is build two slabs and lay out a skeleton on each slab. I'll light the interior (probably a red bulb) and allow ToTs to peak inside through a PVC "rod iron" gate.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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1,443 Posts
I was waiting all weekend for update pics. But, I see you saved them up for a grand unveiling. :) Great job. Looks like the weather there might have been better then here. So I guess it will start raining again when I get back. :D
 

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Devilishly Dutch
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5,920 Posts
Wow!! What great detail! Great work!
And that scary creature inside was the icing on the cake :)

MsM
 

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livin Halloween every day
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1,989 Posts
Very nice work and a memorable memorial day weekend.That is going to look great on halloween night.
 

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Registered
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453 Posts
Forget the winds Tk, it's us heathens from up north with a trailer you have to worry about!:D
I knew you were up to something big this weekend, that's spectacular!


I bought materials for my next 3 projects and just took a break from props this weekend.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I had a great ride Friday morning. Got to clear my head on the mountain loop highway. While I was out, I just got to thinking about how I would build the mausoleum, how things would fit together, etc. Came back for lunch with the wife and got to work!

Gotta give a heap of thanks to the wife for letting me "play" in the driveway all weekend. I had a lot of fun, and I seem to have had little helpers come and go throughout the day.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I really like working with the styrofoam. It's so easy to cut and secure. I'm going to try using the Titebond All Weather Glue for the next few pieces and see if its as strong as the Liquid Nails. If it is, I'll start using it exclusively. That way, I won't have to worry about the Liquid Nails eating away at bare styrofoam.

I'm also hoping to get a latex paint sprayer from Lowes. I have a decent compressor and I think a paint sprayer would make painting these large props a lot easier. I saw a kit at Lowes for $50 - need to go check it out.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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1,443 Posts
Also, once you disassemble it for storage, would you mind snapping a few pics so we can see its full design capabilities. ;) And maybe a few of it packed away for storage. You know you have Halloween disease when you are asking to see pics of peoples props stored. :)
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
HA! I know what you mean.

Sure, I'll take a few shots of it ready for storage.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Cool.

This year I am rethinking a lot of my ideas due to storage. I also have the dilemma of this year being a one and done situation. I am going to have a different theme in 2010, so not only am I worried about storage, but I also have to think about making things with dual uses or making things with as little cost as possible if they are only going to be used this year.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Yeah, storage is always a problem.

I just finished an addition off the back of the house, so now I have a big area underneath to store stuff. As long as I can break stuff down so it's relatively flat, I'll be okay.

Being able to break things down flat really helps. I build everything I can with screws, just in case I need to unscrew things to take them apart.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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1,443 Posts
Yeah I totally agree with the flat storage idea. I built my fence pillars so they come apart and store flat.



So are we going to have to wait until another 3 day weekend to see more progress pics? :)
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I hope not!

I'm in the office today, but I hope to get more work done this week in the evenings. I want to take full advantage of every dry day we have.
 
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