Welcome to my first instructable! This is a project I was paid to do for a Halloween Party for a bar in Nashville in 2005. I created these broken gothic arches with candelabras out of styrofoam and pvc. This is the only project that I have actually documented, so I thought it would make for a decent first go at creating an 'able. I hope you enjoy it, and can actually have some fun making these neat props. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
I was able to get quite a bit of these styrofoam sheets from a friend who worked for a local contractor. They were happy to get rid of these old concrete forms. However, if I were to do this again, I would probably use the pink insulation sheets available from one of the bog box home stores. Cutting styrofoam is a huge mess that leaves lots of polystyrene beads EVERYWHERE!
The polystyrene sheets were long enough, and of the right width to get a couple of the shapes I would need to glue together to make the appropriate thickness for the broken arches. I attempted to use one of those heated wire foam cutters, but that took a long time, and stunk up my apartment, so I switched to a hacksaw blade. I traced the shape out with a sharpie marker, cut one, and used it for the template for the others.
This was the original cut shape. I measured them out to be a bit too short initially, since I wanted to have enough room to carve the broken edge, so I changed it to be a little longer
This is the "new" shape that appears in this photo to be glued together, but it is not. I was testing to see how much styrofoam I would lose by making the shapes longer. If you plan out your templates to make the best use out of your styro, you can make a lot more pieces.
These are the styrofoam pieces, glued together. I used four foam pieces, adhered with Gorilla glue. (Note: Gorrila glue seems to expand as it cures, and I had these foam blocks sitting on my carpet. I ended up gluing a few of them to my dining room floor... yeah.) I made 16 of these broken arches. The bar had a sixteen columns throughout it's floorplan, eight of them were in a double row of four on either side of the bar. This made for a really cool look! (see first pic)
Next, I carved the "broken" edges and the stone joints with a hacksaw, and coated the styrofoam with a layer of plain tile grout. This is available in 5 gallon buckets at the home store. If I had been able, I would have colored the tile beforehand by adding the latex paint to the grout.
I painted the broken arches with a grey latex paint.
Then with some black paint, I dry-brushed the details of the joints between the stone and cracks and the like.
This step was kind of a huge pain, because I didn't really think of how much cutting of pvc I would be doing. I used a hacksaw blade and since I didn't have a real workshop, and a way to hold them steady. It was a hassle. When I was down to my last few pieces, a friend of mine came over and said, "Why didn't you use a pvc pipe cutter?" That would have saved me a great deal of time and trouble.
I started by using various lengths of pvc for the candles, with two 90 degree bend joints and one 4 way piece. I used hot glue to simulate the melting wax and painted them with a pale yellow latex paint.
The lighting was pretty simple. I am not an electrician, but it seemed pretty basic. I used flickering candle bulbs, and light bulb sockets and standard lamp wiring, with a little switch that had a fuse inside it.
I had to make 16 of these, and as I mentioned it was a pain. Please save yourself the time and trouble and use a pvc pipe cutter. I used schedule 40 pvc, but you can use the lighter stuff if you like.
The finished candelabra, with a piece of mounting "stone" Note the lamp on the floor behind it that I used so I could wire the candles properly, and not burn my place, or the bar to the ground.
And... again... the finished product. Decorated with those cheapy cobwebs that you stretch over stuff. I used bailing wire to attach the arches to the columns. Thanks for taking a look!