If you've read my Werewolf Costume instructable, you know that I am the project manager of a charity haunted house for the Mill Woods Family Resource Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. We have a very low budget and everyone that works the event is a volunteer.
My goal every year is to make the illusion of what we try to do as believable as possible without spending a lot of money and all the materials have to be easy to procure (eg: from Home Depot) as we need to be able to spend little time shopping and a ton of time building and decorating!
The particular year (2011) that this project was used, our theme was "Da Swamp" . One of the "scenes" in the haunt called for a haunted pirate cove.
Here, then, is the broken pirate ship decoration that I built (with some other volunteers' help) at a low cost!
Step 1: Framing the wreck, attaching the styrofoam panels
The frame was like a lopsided pyramid that had it's peak stretched to one side. That side would obviously be the bow (front) of the ship.
The overall frame would be about 4 feet wide at the base and about 8 feet long from the back of the base to the front of the bow where the sides would join each other.
All of the 1x2x8's were simply joined together with wood screws.
Once that was done, we took 1" thick sheets of styrofoam panels (available at hardware stores) and attached them to the frame so that they would bow out, forming the look of the hull of the ship. This was done with fender washers and wood screws. (If you don't use washers, your screw head will simply go through the styrofoam panel and not hold it in place.)
As you'll see, we then attached a thinner piece of styrofoam to the side, used some duct tape to close off the front of the ship (holding the two panels shut) and then distressed the panels a bit to give it a wood grain look. To hide the top of the frame that stuck out over the top of the bow of the ship, we were going to simply cut them off, but then decided to put a long cardboard tube (the kind that black plastic sheeting you can buy at hardware stores is wrapped around) would make a good front of the ship.