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This is my first discussion thread but I’ve been a student and watching and learning for a while. I adopted the Nightmare Before Christmas theme this year and ran it from October 1 until New Years, with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years modifications as appropriate. I will expand this theme over the next few years, but I really want to include fake snow on some of my props. Problem is that I want it to be removable so it is only there for Christmas and New Years. Essentially I need a custom fit cap to go on things like Zero’s dog house and some fencing. My initial thought is to use plastic wrap to cover my pieces then spray expanding foam. Later carve, shape and color it. But I don’t know how to make it secure so it won’t blow off during our Southern California Santa Ana wind events. Any thoughts and ideas are encouraged. Thanks in advance!
743696

this is the look I’m going for, but removable and reusable. F97FD254-DDC2-4A78-98E8-5B2E03BD3926.jpeg
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Probably for a home haunter without access to vacuforming (which would be the great, but really complex to do for multiple props) the easiest/cheapest way to make some snow drift toppers that will form/fit and easily remove would be using carvable foam insulation (the pink or blue stuff). You can cut it, carve it, sand it easily. The trick is going to be fitting it to existing objects and your artistic ability to shape it to look like what you need. LOTS of fine grit sandpaper and making sure you're in a well ventilated workspace (outside is a good idea) and would recommend wearing stuff you don't mind getting COVERED with fine dust and wear a mask to avoid breathing in tiny particles.

Painting it will require layering techniques and brush on latex/acrylic paints (no spray paint - it melts foam). Base coat of medium blue then, light blues, then sponge on some bright white on the upper half, taking care to not cover the blue in the deeper areas.

Mostly you'll need to do a rough cut/glue together, then fit it to each item, remove it to sand and shape, then paint up. As far as attaching, if you got it really snug, then it would likely stay put on its own, but you'll need to be careful with any adhesives since they can pull at the painted layers and potentially damage your existing props that need the snow caps. I really don't have good ideas for attaching so it's removable without damage if you're working with strong winds. Hopefully someone else with better knowledge can help on that part.

Some ideas:

^Dave Lowe's bumble tooth is a good example of carving/sanding/painting foamcore with curves/texture that mimics snow. He's added some tartar (the yellowing) buildup, but imagine if it was tinged blue - would look more like the snow drift cartoonish snow you're shooting for.

^more of his snow technique using the expanding foam and you can see his suggestions on shaping/painting specifically to get a snow effect. This snow is much more lumpy and that's the main issue I'd be concerned with compared with what you are using as an example. Expanding foam is cuttable/carvable to a point but it is so messy and also tends to become quite brittle after being exposed to air/sun (even if painted). My personal experience is that if it is outside for more than 2 years, it will start falling apart and any props built using it will need repaint/replacing much soon than the sheet foamcore.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great information Frankie’s Girl. I made several of my props using the pink insulation you refer to. I know many paints and adhesives don’t play well and will eat away at the foam (from reading many of the other posts here). Looks like I have lots of carving, sanding and painting in my future. Thank you!
 

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I did this with loctite foam and bamboo skewers to hold in place. And yes, plastic wrap underneath so I can remove the snow. It will yellow though in the sun, mine did after about 3 weeksthough View attachment 743726
Thanks MatrixMom! The skewers are something I hadn’t considered to hold it in place. Did you paint yours or just left the foam exposed?
 

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I like the plastic wrap/spray foam idea. Any way you could incorporate a wire mesh as you're spraying? Basically, cut a piece larger than your prop, spray an initial layer down and while it is still expanding you lay the wire into the foam. You could also add additional weights into it. By making it bigger than the prop you would give yourself anchor points that you could then secure to the prop or the ground. Just a thought, haven't tried it.
 

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There are also some flexible foam paints - not like the "puffy paint" used on bedazzled denim, but flexible urethane foam coatings that have some thickness to them and are able to bond with slightly flexible substrates.

Smooth-on makes one called Urecoat that I have used with their flex foam casting products. That might work to give you a smooth surface that hides small sanding issues. It isn't white on its own, though, you would need to add white tint (which they sell).

Alternatively, white plastidip might be a good coating, they make a UV resistant version. That would let you remove the snow without cracking the paint and might save some heartache when you invariably find the places you wanted to sand a little better before painting. Smooth and contoured is a harder effect than twisted and wrinkled (corpses are easier than balloons). Just some ideas, good luck!
 
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