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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys! Crunch is back! Some may recognize, some may not. Seeing a lot of new members here and it's good to see. Anyways, on with it.

Why I wanted to build columns:
Almost since day one I've seen column builds for cemetery's and graveyards. Over the years I've kinda developed a graveyard theme for the yard. Starting with tombstones, and eventually working my way up the prop building ladder to an animated monster in a box. Ground breakers were next to grab my attention and of course went well with the theme. This past year (2013) having a couple kids walk through the yard and not even look twice at what I had put out, reinforced the idea that I needed not only fencing, but any proper cemetery had columns as well!

Lightweight and Light on the pocket book:
Like some of you, I found the forum looking to do prop on the cheap. On a less than shoestring budget. Columns always seemed to be quite complicated with store bought lumber, beveled edges, plywood panels covered in styrofoam insulation sheets. All I could read was "money money money money money". I've seen columns done on the cheap, made with cardboard, but I'm hoping to reuse these columns year after year. Another thing that came to mind was weight. That's A LOT of weight. Then I had the eureka moment. Corrugated plastic. That was my answer. A single 4x8 sheet is $25

Corrugated Plastic:
Corrugated plastic comes in sheets like plywood 4ftx8ft. A quick brainstorming session and I decided I wanted my coloumns 4ft tall, 1ftx1ft. One sheet of the corri-plast, as I first heard it, should do both columns easily. So, onto the next brainstorm I went. The inner frame of the columns. Something to fasten my corri-plast to. 1"x1" would do and figured out I could get two 8ft 2x4's, rip them down and cut them in half would give me my eight posts to put together. First into two frames, then attach the frames together to complete one column. Using scrap wood we had laying around from a very recent deck build project I made the braces for in between the frames.

Tops and Bottoms:
My next step was to come up with some tops and bottoms for the columns. Again, turning to the scrap pile I found some 2x6 which would give me good thickness from the inner frame, as well as girth from the top of the column to the middle, 5 3/4" tall. Roughly measured (as everything has been so far, and will be) to have everything come flush on the ends without cutting 45's. Back to the corri-plast I went and again roughly measured some panels from the 4x4 sheet (cut it in half to handle it easier) and attach with small wood screws to the 1x1 inner frame, enclosing it completely and giving me a nice flat surface to attach cobblestone or bricks to. Which brings me to my next step.

Getting the rock look:
I work at a place that deals in custom ordered blinds, as well as installing them. The boxes the blinds come in come with white beaded styrofoam blocks on either end of the box. Usually 4-5" square. Seeing all the work done on this forum, and some other places its sourced me to, I had the idea that could carve my bricks or cobblestone out of them, and stick them to the corri-plast column panels. That's about where I'm at now. The columns have been paneled in corri-plast and I'm starting to collect styrofoam blocks for carving. I picked up some PL 300 specific for foam board so it doesn't eat into it. Fingers crossed it will hold on to both the foam and the plastic.

Weatherproofing:
For this I think I'll just coat it in an oops latex paint, as close to a stone colour as possible. From there highlight, dry brush and touch up as I like. As simple base coat that covers all the foam is all I'm concerned with.

More to come I hope as I continue to build. I'm hoping starting this thread will keep me motivated to see this project through to the end so I can begin fencing, and staining a ground breaker I corpsed last year. Also, as they stand they're basically square tunnels. Plywood top or something alike to keep from seeing inside is best I can come up with. I'll keep my eye out around the season to find a little skeleton dude to sit on top or something I think would be a nice little touch. Anyway, some build pictures below up to as far as I got done so far.

As alway, please let me know what you think, suggestions, critiques or constructive criticisms, lay it on me!

My phone isn't gunna lemme copy and past the image URL apparently, pictures coming in the next post I hope!
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
EDIT: See below post, the URL's didn't work, image codes used in the below, images can be seen there
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
First frame getting braced


Multiply this x2


Tops and Bottoms


Corri-Plast Panels
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Great idea Crunch!! I've been looking for a cheap alternative to the pink insulation foam for larger projects like this. How easy is the corrugated plastic to work with?

(FYI any Australians viewing this, it took a few minutes' Googling to work out we call "corri-plast", "corflute"...!)
If you can work with cardboard you can work with this. It's exactly like cardboard, but made out of plastic, not paper. The worst of it is cutting against the "grain" of the corrugations.
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Why not just build a Hot Wire Table for cutting long straight pieces?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiitiKyu_Iw
Long straight pieces of the corrugated plastic or the styrofoam? If you're suggestion it for the plastic I think it's a great idea! Just gotta find something that would work as the train controller, don't imagine those are easy to find or cheap around here.

If you're suggesting for the styrofoam, it's funny you say that. I was just gunna head out and carve some more stones and get an update for you guys. I'm using shipping styrofoam blocks that are already square edges, factory cut. I'm looking to rough em up a little and round them out. I'll be back with some pictures
 

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It was designed for styrofoam. But I don't see why it won't work for the plastic since it is such a low heat and basically all you are doing is melting through styrofoam or plastic. Ebay may have have some cheap/low cost train controllers.

This guy is using 5 volts from a computer power supply: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA5WowY6j5Q

This guy talks about using a different type of power supply: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDdDO_TC68M
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
It was designed for styrofoam. But I don't see why it won't work for the plastic since it is such a low heat and basically all you are doing is melting through styrofoam or plastic. Ebay may have have some cheap/low cost train controllers.

This guy is using 5 volts from a computer power supply: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA5WowY6j5Q

This guy talks about using a different type of power supply: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDdDO_TC68M
PC power supply eh? Those things seem to be very useful in the Halloween community!
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Quick update from the other night. Showing y'all what I'm starting off with, and turning them into. Just scooped about 40 blocks today from a big job.



 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Not much of an update, but I got some pictures of some slate/cobblestone work last week as inspiration for the look I'm trying to achieve. I like the one with the space in between vs tight. Whaddaya guys think?





 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
From the other day, was playing around with placement of the stones and trying to figure out how much more I need to collect from work. Turns out I need A LOT. This 1 side of 8 took up most of my big stones at that point. It kind of concerned me at the moment, not knowing how many more big blocks I would be able to collect in the near future, Halloween being in 91 days as I write this. I'm starting to get antsy and want to get onto painting and building fence!


 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I plan on making my own columns as well. Your work here will help me out a lot. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome! Thanks for letting me know! This will help keep me motivated to keep working on them. I've just been collecting and carving foam blocks. I found out they start at an 1" thick. Guessing that the wood tops and bottoms are 5/8" based on the stones I'm carving. Hoping to start gluing some stones on in the near future so I can move onto paint!
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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Discussion Starter #18
Why not just cobble the front side and leave the back and sides blank? This may seem like an undesireable shortcut, but remember that you control how your columns are lit. My columns get very little, if any, light on the sides.
I'm hearing ya! And it's a good suggestion. But I gotta street light that lights up the front half of my yard, meaning 3/4 sides would have to be done anyway. Using bleach white plastic for my panels, as a kid I would think it looks unfinished, and I would feel that way now. Doing all four sides and having them usable, upside down and backwards, no matter what orientation they're in I can use them. Just set em out there and done.

Appreciated input, and something I never thought of. If someone else is doing columns, they may have not either.
 

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Have you thought about putting fake/decorative vines on the sides and back in case you don't get all the stones done in time?
 

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Crunchitize Me Cap'n
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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Have you thought about putting fake/decorative vines on the sides and back in case you don't get all the stones done in time?
Faux vegetation never crossed my mind! Thanks for the idea. Definitely add some greenery in the painting, and maybe even some moss on the corners. I think I have more foam then I think. As soon as I know the caulking gun is ready to take my tube of PL300, specific for foam board, I'm gunna head out and start laying some stones out and getting them glued down
 
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