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Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm slowly getting this assembled, but I thought I'd do a "start to finish" post that I will come back and update as I progress on the build.

This is my take on a FCG crypt. I wanted something that was big and more realistic than some of the phone booth-sized crypt designs out there, and I also wanted it to be lightweight, easy for a beginner, and most of all... collapse flat for storage.

If this goes well, I will post plans and an exploded view of the crypt. I've been designing this for a while, and I have plenty of illustrations that should make this easier to follow along with.

I want to say up front also: I am not a perfectionist. I enjoy making things and can appreciate a well made project, but I will NEVER have the patience to do stuff where things are perfectly level, mitered at 30藲 angles, etc. I was trained in some of my prop building in a college theater department, and learned the motto "as long as it looks good in the third act from the back of a galloping horse" and took it to heart. (in other words, it's going to have other things going on around it, the lighting will be dim, and the audience will be taking in the whole picture, not eyeballing my slightly crooked corner join )

Fully assembled size will be 5 wide x 6 high foot walls (making a 5 foot square) with the roof measuring 1 foot at the peak, for a total height of 7 feet. Door opening is 3 feet x 6 feet.

This design will probably not work in an area that gets strong winds, as it will be pretty light and the foam might be damaged. I plan on weighting it down and using rebar or something to anchor it in my yard, but the wind isn't a big problem for me, so keep this in mind if you decide to build something similar!

6 sheets 8x4 foot Foamcore (1/2 inch thick - that's all that is available in my area. I am using a mix of blue and pink. Strangely I found the pink slightly easier to work with, but there should not be a difference ;) )

1" x 2" x 8 foot lengths of wood. I forget how many, but each wall needs 4, the front needs 6, and the FCG is going to need two to mount, and you'll have plenty of short lengths to play with.

foam adhesive (liquid nails or generic, doesn't matter - used in a caulk gun)

duct tape (the real stuff that STICKS)
box knife
straight edge (for measuring and cutting)

Black and white paint

There is probably some stuff I'm either forgetting or will need further down the road, in which case I will mention it when I get to it. :rolleyes:

Starting pics:

Front assembly. The opening is 3 x 6 feet, so the foamcore just needed to be skinned over the assembled frame on either side (1 foot x 6 foot lengths). I have braced it at the doorway with 1 x 2s as well.

The other three walls are just basic square frames, screwed together at the corners with no bracing, since adding the foamcore will provide a certain amount of bracing in itself. I attached the foam to the wood with regular nails, driven in until they were just barely compressing the foam. I didn't want them sunk below the surface, and they are really to provide a basic hold on the foam until I could glue everything together.

In the closeup image, you can see that I had to splice another section of foam to cover the entire side. So you end up cutting one 4 foot x 6 foot piece, and finish the wall with a 1 foot x 6 foot piece. I duct taped them on the inside, and caulked the exterior of the seams with adhesive. If you look closely, you can see the adhesive also run around all of the interior sides where the foam meets the wood.

As you can see, each wall section is independent of the others, and can be stored flat against a wall. I plan to paint them obviously, but there is going to be some tricky stuff involving the seams of the corners. I hope to figure that out pretty soon.

Part 2
My wonderful hubby helped me screw the walls together - one person to hold the walls together and one to do the drilling. There are three screws to each corner, for a total of 12 screws total holding this thing together. It's actually pretty darn sturdy, and will be easily disassembled when it comes time to store it. So that at least worked the way I wanted!

This isn't the best angle, but it's out of the way so hubby could park in the garage. I plan on adding more pics this weekend.

Shot from inside the crypt. You can see two of the screws in the wood that hold the walls together. You also should be able to see the adhesive again.
It is really important to get a good join with the adhesive - it not only makes sure your foam isn't going anywhere, but acts as a seal to prevent light leakage. I want the black light to be hidden and the ghost to glow mysteriously, not have little cracks and gaps where light is leaking out.

This is my first big challenge. See the wood there? The foam from the side wall (blue) is meeting up with the wood from the front. There is about a 2.5 inch gap between the blue foam side to the real corner (where the pink is) so there is a slight step down from the foam to the wood. I plan on either cutting strips of foam to tack on there (2.5 inches x 6 feet - I'll use scraps) or else just painting it up and seeing what it looks like after it's painted - it may look like it was meant to do that.

and finally... my roof

This really needs to be thought out well as far as the roof - want it flush or a little overhang? I debated this for several days, and finally decided I wanted a little overhang so I could use some scrap to create molding strips. I cut THREE triangles (after measuring at least three times to make sure of the size). The third triangle is in the center acting as a support strut (where the bricks are in the pic). The roof is ALL FOAM. Also, it must not overhang the walls on any side - Try to get it as close to flush with the walls as possible (I plan on a 6 inch molding strip all the way around, covering the wall/roof join - the roof will snug into this like a foam cooler). Once I cut out the triangles and the two roof panels, I used nails to pop into the roof and spear the triangles.

Then I got the adhesive out again, and ran it along the roof/triangle seams (including the top peak) and used a damp paper towel to smooth the adhesive into the gaps, and then set brick on top to weight down the roof so the surface was in good contact as it dried. After it dries, I will flip it up, and caulk the interiors with the adhesive. I also dipped the nails in adhesive as they were popped through the foam to make them stay in.

I should be working on this much more this weekend when I get my hubby to help, so more progress pics to come!

Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
More progress

Part 3

Crypt assembled and with the first coat of paint. I was testing the FCG in the first pic.

The interior of the crypt and the roof were both painted with flat black, and the outside was a medium gray with some mortar mix mixed into the paint for a more toothy texture.

Pumpkin w/ BIG stem
886 Posts
wow!!! thats pretty big!!!! where did you get the foam board??? our lowes doesnt have that kind but i havent checked home depot, because they stole my money!!! anyways its looking great and cant wait to see it finished!!! Happy Haunting!!!

Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
wow!!! thats pretty big!!!! where did you get the foam board??? our lowes doesnt have that kind but i havent checked home depot, because they stole my money!!! anyways its looking great and cant wait to see it finished!!! Happy Haunting!!!
The foam core is basic 4 foot x 8 foot and .5 inch thick. I got the blue stuff from Lowes and the pink stuff from Home Depot. (sorry they ripped you off; I've had bad experiences with them also!)

Part 4

After the base coat of gray, I got out a dark gray/almost black and sponges and a bucket of water. I spattered some of the dark gray with brushes, but the major stuff was done with sponges and water.

First, I painted the dark gray on, blotting and not covering the entire sections but more of a mottled kind of pattern, and then smoothed some of it out uniformly with a large sponge so it was streaky, but in a up/down pattern, top to bottom. I then took the sponge and soaked it in water and then drizzled water (if it's got a lot of paint in it, so much better) from the top so it would run to the bottom. If it hit patches of paint, it would cause the paint to run and streak. You can see this effect really well on the roof.

I didn't do as much to the front panels, as most of the lower section will be covered by half columns.

If it wasn't streaking or running enough, I'd add a little more paint to the sponge or even use a brush loaded with paint to touch up the areas I wanted darker, dip the sponge in water and go at it again.

Side of crypt. The cool thing about this is that the streaking completely hides the seams where the walls join together at the corner.

Roof. I think this is the best example of the technique.

Front of crypt.


Hauntingly Addicting
3,781 Posts
Hey girl its coming along quite nicely. I just posed a pic of my finished crypt. I should probably take a pic of it with the FCG inside:) Oh well, for now the one I have will have to do. Cant wait to see the finished product. Keep us posted.

Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the nice comments so far! I'm really winging all of this, so while it's not going to look as good as some of the spectacular crypt examples displayed on this forum, it's going to be a big step up for my little graveyard! :)
(and there is always next year to spruce it up and add to it!)

Part 5

The crypt is finally starting to look pretty good!

Molding strips for hiding the seam/join between the roof and the walls. I made them 4 inches tall. Basic gray paint base, let it dry and then did the drippy paint/sponge technique.

I forgot to say in the previous post... wear gloves when you do the sponge painting. Otherwise you'll have paint under your fingernails that will take forever to get off. :rolleyes:

The crypt in place, with the roof attached. I had hubby nail in the roof in 4 places. We also ran black duct tape around the interior join for more stability and light blocking.

You can see some white strips on the front near the seam - those are heavy duty velcro. The molding is foam, so very light, and is only there for decorative/seam hiding.

Closer detail of the velcro and front of the crypt.

The crypt with the molding attached. It is really starting to look like a crypt!
We still have the faux black marble columns to go on the front, and the crypt name plaque to place on the roof section, but we're finally in the home stretch. (whew!) :D


Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
FG, that looks absolutely fabulous. Can't wait to see the finished product with the FCG. Excellent work, my dear!!
Thank you!

I am going to hang my ghost in there with the black light as a static prop this year (too many problems with the motor to have her fly this year), but I am really pleased with how well this has come together.

The main goal of this was to have a crypt that collapses flat for storage, and with the exception of the roof, the walls will disassemble into solid flats - the breakdown and set up is depending on 4 nails, and 12 screws. I think that's pretty amazing.

Part 6

The pieces of the columns for the front. Hubby cut a concrete casting column in half with a circular saw (it is made out of HEAVY cardboard treated with a waterproofing surface). I cut a small, square cardboard box (I used two, cut in half, with a half moon shape cut out to fit the column) as the top and bottom pedestals of the column. Everything was covered with contact paper in a black marble pattern, and secured it with glue/staples.

The three pieces are not meant to be glued together (remember, I want stuff to break down EASY for storage) but I measured each section to fit together very tightly so that glue or other such attachments wouldn't be necessary.

A brick was set inside the bottom pedestal section after the column was snugged into place. The two pieces were then lined up against the front of the crypt, and the top piece snugged down over the top of the column. I used 2 very small pieces of the heavy duty velcro to attach the upper pedestal to the crypt wall.

First column in place. The brick keeps the bottom steady and stable, and the velcro keeps the top steady, and the basic construction of the whole thing works to steady the column as well. It actually stands very sturdy by itself without any other support once all three pieces snug together, but the velcro is to ensure that when the angels that go on top of the pedestals (they are made of resin, very light) they will be supported.

Crypt with both columns attached. I still need to add the ghost and the angels to the columns. I may add a small angel to the top, but this pretty much is the finished crypt. :)


Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,992 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Slight design correction made due to the columns on the front $#%# pissing me off.

The tops and bottoms of the pediments are attached to the column (glued and taped up) so the columns are now all one piece. I poked holes through the crypt wall (using a bamboo skewer) on either side of the underside of the top parts (where no one would see) and ran fishing line around the columns and tied off inside the crypt to hold the columns tightly to the walls. It worked perfectly, even when we got a bit of wind.

AND if I had it to do over again, i'd use plywood or OSB to provide more weight and stability. The foam roof will catch the wind and pop right off and it's gotten cracked and split. We had a bad thunderstorm come through the second year and tore up the roof and bent the walls so badly that we had to cut the screws to get it disassembled. We are retiring this since I don't have the time to rebuild it right now... but there is some kind of idea I'm sure someone else could make work from the basic build! :)
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