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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning to use wood frames for the garage haunt this year (most likely covered in black plastic). I had originally hoped to find 2x4s or 2x3s for cheap at Lowes or Home Depot, maybe with rejected, aged, or warped wood.

However, before I get too far into the preparation, can I go thinner on the wood? Is a 1x3 or 1x4 too flimsy?

I'd hate to overspend on wood, but I'd also hate to buy a bunch and find it's too thin.

Added for clarity:

I was planning to do something similar to what you find here: http://www.printwithmypic.com/blog/?p=1991

Essentially, 2x4s for the frames with 1x4s to brace across the tops. Then staples black plastic to form the actual walls.
 

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For walls? I think yes, too thin, though I've never made Halloween walls (but have worked with them at a semi-professional charity haunt). You probably need to specify application. Also, basic design. Are you attaching the sections to something solid? Are they extending to ceiling? Feet for balance?

2x4s or 2x3s are pretty inexpensive, and might even be less expensive than 1x (not certain).

Since you are using plastic sheeting, I would want to make sure the frame at least was stable, so would probably do 2x4.

I'm sure people with more experience than I will weigh in, but if I were making two or four sections of more or less free standing wall, I would make essentially giant Shoji screens. I would buy the cheapest ultra-thin 4x8' panels I could (hard linoleum or wood) and attach a lightweight frame of 1x2"s to them. Then I would make a track to put them on using a 2x4 flat, with two 1x2s nailed on top, with a space in between to snugly slide my panels into. You would still have to attach to real walls, floors or ceilings wherever possible, and add footings in corners/ends (which you could do by nailing a 9" square of 1/4 or 1/2" wood from below to the 2x4). Probably need to firm up support at freestanding ends. Panels like this would be easy to store (being thin), fairly lightweight so wouldn't crush anyone if fell, yet sturdy enough to feel a little like a wall.

Sorry, just brainstorming.
 

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More expensive (but easier and lighter) would be to use 1 or 2" styrofoam insulation panels. You could frame them with 1x2s (or even lighter things), put a 1x3 footer on them and then have a larger 1/4" square at the ends for balance (nailed from below). You can paint the insulation. If you like stone, the white insulation (especially) looks amazingly like granite if you dry brush it.

Of course I would only use Styrofoam in the lightest of use applications (a lightly attended home haunt), as it will get beat up with even casual traffic.
 

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I use 2X2s for my walls. They're not too expensive and they keep the panels relatively light and sturdy. Plus it's easy to screw them together them when I start setting up the panels side by side. I would think that using 1Xs would make that a little difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you put panels inside the frames? So they're essentially walls? I'm thinking this year I just want to build frames that I can put tarps/plastic on to create the path. Nothing more. Not this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If 1x's work for your design and they're more cost effective, go for it. In most cases, 2x4's are overkill for prop walls that aren't load bearing.
Good point. These won't be load bearing. They're little more than frames to create the path for people to walk through.
 

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Oh, I think you're doing something different than I thought. I put the 2X2s on my plywood panels and use the panels as my haunt walls. You're talking about using the plastic sheets as walls, yes? Putting the sheets over the 1X frame? How would you attach each frame to the next?
 

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If you only need a simple frame to attach a tarp to then weight will not be an issue however wind will. You can use a 1x frame but I would stake it to the ground otherwise just use a 2x4 (1 1/2" x 3 1/2") it will give you a wider base for stability.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you only need a simple frame to attach a tarp to then weight will not be an issue however wind will. You can use a 1x frame but I would stake it to the ground otherwise just use a 2x4 (1 1/2" x 3 1/2") it will give you a wider base for stability.
It will be in the garage. But I agree, regardless, that the base should be wider for stability.
 

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I used 1x furing strips to frame my foam walls for my house last year and they worked great and there cheap. i think they would be great for something like this if they were secured really well to a nice base.
 

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I went with 2x3s. The cost for 1x3s were not that much cheaper and I liked the added thickness and strength for hanging cross beams and hanging props. I use 3 inch drywall screws to build the frames as well as to connect walls together. You get a few connected and the structure becomes very strong.

My event is outdoors and I did tarp last year. The weather kept me busy. If you find tarp is tearing too much, put your staples through black gorilla tape. This year I went with some 1/8 plywood. Cheapest I could get at $10 a sheet but a foot or elbow can easily punch through.

Here is a photo of tarp last year and the beginning of the plywood this year. I'm going to use painters tape where the walls meet and paint black to hide the seams.
walls.JPG
 

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As a carpenter, I recommend using 2x3's for the studs, 1x3 for the plates. Screwed together, everything can be knocked down, stored, saved and used again next year. But the idea, above, of using 1/8" plywood, thats excellent. Costly, but if you use two sheets at each corner, it will add a lot of stability. Plus, you can paint it!
 

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Maybe use a wood / pvc / chicken wire combination. Use wood for the bases. Drill holes in the wood for the pvc to slide down into. Form a wall with pvc and 90 connectors. Then wrapped with chicken wire to form barriers and cover with whatever you want. They are sturdy & light. This makes it possible to break down easily for storage as well. I just laughed because I meant for this to be a money saving idea and I am in full blown Halloween "Let's do it" mode. The idea has potential but kinda overboard. Hope I at least provided a good laugh.
 

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If you are only using this to guild people where you want them to go I would not use wood. No matter what you use the plastic is not going to hold up as support if someone runs into it.

Are you OK with putting screws/eye hooks into the walls, floor and ceiling of the garage? If so use wire a thick picture hanging wire will work. It will save you most of the money you planned on spending. It will be 10x quicker setting up and taking down.

You run your wire from one end of the garage to the other attaching to eye bolts and pull as tight as you can get it. Get a couple hot glue guns and a large pack of glue sticks. Also keep a wash cloth wet in a bowl of ice or use can just use the ice. Drape the plastic over the wire and make a seam with a two or three inch gap (like a curtain) and run a bead of hot glue (low temp glue) and press the plastic together and have someone following you with the ice cold rag or ice setting the hot glue seam. Goes really fast at this point. Or you could lay the plastic on the floor of the garage and make the top seam and run the wire through it then connect it to the eye bolts.

Do the same for bottom. But if you need to create a path that does not go wall to wall you can put a eye bolt into the floor of the garage and connect the bottom wire to that eye bolt. This works very well and stays fairly tight. To make rooms you just just run more wire across the room.

Take down is as simple as cutting the wire at one end pulling the plastic off the wire and rolling or folding it up. Then cut the wire at the other end. If you are going to reuse the wire next year cut you a couple ft piece of 2x4 and put long nails in each end and wrap the wire around each nail...going from one end to the other.

It's really hard to see in these pictures but I used this in my very first setup back in 2000. I used it outside without walls to connect the wire to. I put pvc about 24 inches into the ground and use that to guild the wire that held the plastic. Photo bucket no longer allows 3rd party connection so I will leave the links..got to look close at the top of the PVC to see the wire. I don't have one with the plastic attached. BTW there was 20mph wind the day of Halloween and it was strong enough to bend some of the metal polls I used. I had to cut the bottom wire so the plastic did not hold the wind. You wont have this problem inside. My last few haunts used wood frames with plywood...very expensive and I used the cheapest boards I could get. Even reject lumber each frame cost over $10 for 8x8 wall just to frame
http://photobucket.com/gallery/user/madmax42303/media/cGF0aDp6enogMjAwMCBteSBmaXJzdCBzZXR1cC96eHpoYW5nLmpwZw==/?ref=1
http://i985.photobucket.com/albums/ae339/madmax42303/zzz 2000 my first setup/zxzbride.jpg
 

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Here's what we've learned...

1. Nobody is looking at your walls. They're looking at what's inside the walls, so don't waste a lot of money on them.
2. Building a wall with 2 x 4's that's as sturdy as a real wall is a bad idea for a haunt maze as some people freak out and hit against them. Better to let them easily tear through than break something hitting a hard wall.
3. The more you put into walls, the more you have to find space for them after Halloween. You need something that's easy to put up, take down, and store for next year... unless you have a tradition of a big Thanksgiving Day bonfire. :)
4. You're not going to beat the wind. If you build a wall that'll hold up to say 30 MPH winds, for some unknown reason, you'll gets gusts of 40 MPH right before Halloween. Always seems to happen that way. We make our walls with sheets of black plastic with slashes or holes cut in them, or we cut strips of material and run them with gaps between them. Not as pretty, but they definitely laugh at the wind.



We used 1"x2"x8' pole seconds from Lowes. Cost about 89 cents each.
 

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If you're spli covering in plastic, 1x3s can do the job. I built a portable paint booth out of 1x3s and it lasted for many years. Follow a theater flat construction plan and you ought to be good. what-are-stage-flats.jpg
 

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this is genius and cheap!!! thank you!! I am already over budget on halloween but want to do a garage haunt adn this works! i just need to figure out how to split off and do a seperate room this way...last year we just lined the side and back walls with plastic sheeting. I still have the sheeting, so i just need to make the seams and get eyebolds and wire. what gauge wire do you think? and how would i bolt into the cement garage floor??
 
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