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Haunted Hollow Mausoleum Build

176411 Views 168 Replies 67 Participants Last post by  jdubbya
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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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.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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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.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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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.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Tried doing a plaster mold to make some skulls but it didn't come out very well. I'll pour in a positive this afternoon and see how it turns out, but I'm not optimistic.

I did put in an order for some styro skulls this morning, so when they arrive, I hope to cut down two of them to mount on either side of the doorway.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I will try and put together a parts list with a cut guide. I can give you the amounts I paid for materials I purchased at Lowes, which should give you a rough estimate.

Let me put that together tonight. Hopefully, I can post something soon.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Mausoleum Collapse for Storage

Okay, this is how the mausoleum breaks down for storage. Each panel has been built as an independent section with a 1x1 frame. Here is a diagram of the 6 components that come apart.

 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Here is a pic of the front corner and a picture of the roof sections showing how they join at the ridge. There are no screws securing the roof panels, they simply fit into the frame snuggly.



Okay, to take the mausoleum apart, the first thing I do is pop off the two roof panels. Each one is independent and just rests snuggly in place. No screws.



Next, I remove the three screws from each corner and start to remove the four upright panels.



Here are some close-up pictures of the corners so you can see how they meet. This overlapping is an important part of the build as it allows the wooden framework to be concealed.



After I unscrew the corner screws, the four panels come apart very easily. Here’s a shot of the four panels apart. The two side panels are 5’ x 5”. (ignore the pink playhouse in the background, it is not a prop :p)



The final step is to gently stack the various sections one on top of another. I put the two roof sections on the very top. The whole mausoleum, when stacked, is about 1 foot high.





So, that’s it! The whole process takes about 5 minutes from start to finish. The collapsed mausoleum can easily slip into a garage or under a deck. You could even put it in a shed as long as the shed is either 7 feet tall or 7 feet deep.
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Here is a "blueprint" of the 1x1 framework. What I did was purchase 8 foot 1x4s and rip them down to three 1x1s. The mausoleum took 7 1x4s and 6 sheets of 3/4" styrofoam. To add a bit of weight to the base, I put in scrap 1/2" MDF that I had lying around. Te paint is some "oops" paint I got from Lowes.

I probably spent about $80 to build the mausoleum.

 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Great job on the mausoleum !!!
Didnt notice if it was brought up but you can use gorilla glue on foam..... Works great.
We used it on out pirate ship last years. You just have to clamp it of sandwich it between something because the gorilla glue expands a little.
Foam is awesome to work with huh ? ! ! ! !
Absolutely! I love working with the foam. It's easy to cut, easy to form, and fairly cheap. Plus, it's nice and light!

In another thread we discussed using gorilla glue. I thought about it, but I went with the Lquid Nails instead. I think from now on, I'll just use the Titebond All Weather glue. It really holds styro and wood together great, and I'm not worried about it's integrity since it's "All Weather".
 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Excellent work, TK421! I may just have to pop over to take a look in person one of these weekends. BTW, can I commission you to do a pirate ship? :D
Don't know if you saw this link before, but here is the Black Clover, a pirate ship float! They've got a lot of great pics on the construction.

Black Clover Pirate Ship Build



 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
I like the bottom left as well. I was drawn to that one originally because it looks like something you might just come across here in the Northwest.

Here are two that I like:





 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Love the build, if I built anything using that mush foam I would destroy it in a matter of hours when I tried to store it.
Storing is a big concern with everything I build. What I think I may do this year is build some "sleeves" out of MDF so that I can store the pieces under my sun porch. The sun porch has about 4 feet of clearance.



I am going to try the TiteBond All Weather on foam. I have never have any luck glueing foam to anything!
The Titebond All Weather (blue label) works really well with the soft foam sheets, but just like Liquid Nails or Gorilla Glue, you need to clamp pieces together for a secure bond. This works especially well when securing the sheets to the 1x1 wood framing.

TK421, what program did you use to draw the diagram?
The program I use is Macromedia Freehand MX. It's a fantastic program that I've used for years. Recently, Macromedia was bought my Adobe, and Freehand has now been rolled into Adobe Illustrator.

 

· Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
I usually start setting things up at the beginning of October. I put a lot of times into these facades, and I like to see them and share them as long as possible.

I will probably have a lot of stuff out the first and second week of October, and then bring out more "fragile" props the last week of October.
 
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