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.