Introduction: Burning Embers Halloween Prop

Picture of Burning Embers Halloween Prop

In this instructable I will show you how to build a smoldering pile of embers prop. Use it under a cauldron, burnt corpse etc.

Step 1: Materials Used

Picture of Materials Used

Materials used:

1 or more cans of spray foam insulation

1 or more orange string lights

plastic bottles

plastic floor liner

1 roll clear packing tape

1 can of Grey primer spray paint

1 can black spray paint

1 can red spray paint

1 can rubberized undercoating


Step 2: Preparing the Lights

Picture of Preparing the Lights

Cut a few plastic bottles open, removing the bottoms and tops.

You can also use larger bottles by slicing down the side as well and rolling them up to the desired size.

Run your string lights through these bottles. Perfection isn't required and some lights outside the bottles is ok, just try to to have most of them inside.

Alternatively you can use clear plastic sheeting such as plastic drop cloth available in your local hardware stores painting section.

I used both methods in the above example.

If using plastic, roll it up around the lights and tape in place with the packaging tape.

Form a circle with the lights as best you can and curl the end into the center of the circle.

Use the packing tape to hold everything in place.

Step 3: Spray Foam Insulation Onto Lights

Picture of Spray Foam Insulation Onto Lights

Cover the lights with the spray insulation. You don't need to cover it with a thick layer, just enough to hide the plastic sheeting and or bottles. Remember we want to see the light.

While it's dying you can tap at it with the foam cans tip to roughen up the texture. Be careful this crap gets everywhere if your not carefull.

You can also add bits of wood or charcoal to the foam at this time before it dries.

Step 4: What It Looks Like So Far

Picture of What It Looks Like So Far

At this point it lights up very bright in the dark and looks like a pile of white hot coals. Its possible to stop here and use as is, If your not planning to have your props out before Halloween day that is... it will need more work if it's to be seen in daylight and not just in the dark of night.

Step 5: Paint the Foam

Picture of Paint the Foam

Once the primer is dry it's time to paint the foam.

First apply a layer of fire red, once that's dry apply the black spray paint leaving about half still showing red.

Step 6: Apply Rubber and Ash

Picture of Apply Rubber and Ash

Grab the rubberized undercoating, holding the can about a foot away spray the surface with a light spattering of the rubber. Immediately pour ash all over the surface you just sprayed.

Once that's done spray another light coating of rubber on top of the ash.

Wait a minute to for it all to dry. Once dry turn over and shake off the access ash.

This step can be repeated if it didn't hold onto enough ash.

Step 7: Finished Embers, Possible Uses

Picture of Finished Embers, Possible Uses

Here is what they look like when finished. I included a few pictures of a burn corpse i made laid over the coals as an idea of how this prop could be implemented in your haunted house or halloween decorations.

Step 8:


RobbieG16 (author)2016-09-25

Such a stupid question but what kind of rubber did you use? I'm pretty confused about that?.

jzuwala motts (author)RobbieG162016-10-04

Any kind of rubberized spray should work fine, for example flex seal or liquid electrical tape

PatW7 (author)2015-07-22

This is really incredible. I don't think I've seen anything that looks quite so realistic, including many "faux fireplaces" that I've seen. It takes me back to days... kids... science projects... specifically, volcano reproductions... doesn't it look like lava, as well? Thank you for your imagination and creativity!

jzuwala motts (author)PatW72015-08-15

thanks! I'm glad you liked it. It does look a bit lavaish, there's alot of directions you could go with this project. All the alternative uses for its project posted in the comments are great ideas.

Dreamchronic (author)2015-06-03

Cool as hell!


CarolZ1 (author)2015-04-12

where did u get the ash?

jzuwala motts (author)CarolZ12015-04-13

My fireplace

RenMandFx (author)2015-04-11

were theses steady state lights or twinkle lights?

have you tried with twinkle lights?

and what if you mixed red, white, yellow, orange, and possibly even blue lights all together?

jzuwala motts (author)RenMandFx2015-04-13

they were steady but twinkle should work just fine. I like the idea of mixing different colored lights, that should produce some interesting results.

satoko68 (author)2015-01-13

I'm thinking used that dried moss stuff & give it a light coating of spray paint for even more texture & interest. This is very very cool!

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-29

way too much fun. I love it

pbiehler (author)2014-10-26

You could do this in another way and for other reasons. Like for a fake fire in your fireplace in summer time. That way you wont have to deal with your energy bill going up if you need a special addition to a party or romantic night.

bagnitsch made it! (author)2014-10-25

Mine had more of the look of red hot coals. Not very hard though!

mortuuslacus (author)2014-10-11

Lava Flow

tamara.campbell.355 (author)2014-10-08

cool idea. Will the lights melt the plastic if it's on for a long time?

garnoft (author)2014-10-05

Very nice.

sabu.dawdy (author)2014-09-30


co0pster (author)2014-06-30

Cool,got a new one for the cemetery this year! Thank for sharing

rlryhorchuk (author)2014-06-29

coals for a fireplace; will be trying this

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-06-27

This is such a cool idea. Thank you so much for sharing :)

Grazerquart (author)2014-06-26

If you change the colors and final layers slightly it would be possible to have the effect of a melting corpse or monster.

I'm working on an instructable on how to make the burnt corpse shown in the photos at the end of this one

kstadtlander (author)2014-06-25

Awesome decoration for Halloween. Looks easy to make too.

bagnitsch (author)2014-06-25

That's actually really cool. Could be like at a luau party too, for volcano lava.

Mielameri (author)2014-06-25

This looks amaaaaazing! Well done! And so easy, too :)

0505 (author)2014-06-25

This is so awesome. Thinking about doing a zombie like this. Amazing.

rebel3217 (author)2017-10-23

Just tried this and it looks pretty good, except it seems to be curling up!

martiallaww made it! (author)2016-08-25

Fantastic instructions...thank you!

amandaggogo (author)martiallaww2017-09-03

That looks awesome!

looks awsome!

Mhorr (author)2017-04-05

Thank you, it's the exact inspiration I were looking for, I will attempt to create a forge with this method, my only doubt is: With all three paint layers the foam will be still transparent to light?

cynthia deleon (author)2015-11-21

I did do this and I loved the out come. Do you do similar things for Christmas? I wanted to do a snowman outp of the same principles principles. Any suggestions

should work great for a snowman, you could use yoga balls of decreasing size and cover them with the great stuff

ChristpherJ made it! (author)2015-10-22

very cool project, here,s my try at it

That looks great! I was thinking of doing something similar this year by hollowing out the center and having a skeleton emerging from a fiery pit/tunnel from hell.

can't wait to see it!

cutternorth (author)2015-10-04

That you for this one. It was so easy and our lava cane out great!!

looks great

djetek (author)2015-10-03

This is awesome I plan on making an open pit to hell for halloween this year and this just made my day. Great Job.

Granny_Leah (author)2015-09-26

Excellent tutorial!

I plan on making a walk of hot coals this year, and this looks perfect!

Thank you

show us the results!

DkPhoenix (author)2015-08-21

Hello again and TY so much jzuwala motts! I did get two strands and suppose I will shoot for the one and see how that goes first. Now, to figure out how to add an image on my

DkPhoenix (author)2015-08-10

Hello! I've tried private messaging and guessing since I'm not paying for this app service I'm reduced to commenting. I'm making this for this year's Samhain/Halloween season and was wondering the strands you used, I have purchased two sets of 50 count orange light strands and wasn't sure if you used one or two strands in your display/prop you built and have pictured here. Thanks in advance!

jzuwala motts (author)DkPhoenix2015-08-15

I used one strand of lights in the prop seen in this tutorial. It all depends on the size you're looking for. I generally use 1-4 stands.

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