This started out because my husband has completely driven me crazy with finding him a small display case for his Bram Stoker's Dracula vinyl model, and so far we've found nothing like that, so Valentine's Day being right around the corner I wanted to make something that wasn't crazy hard to make,way creative and something that could actually look like an actual piece of a castle and if that wasn't enough finish just in time to give it to him for Valentine's Day! so having said this........ NO .......I'am NOT an expert nor have I ever attempted to make castle forms, castle things or displays of sort, especially those made out of styrofoam and newspaper so please be patient , this was a trial and error project, but the results were pretty decent and he'll love it!!
This whole project cost was $ 0.00, freeeeeeeee
And it was done under 2 weeks , it took me a little while only because I could only work on it a little at a time , while my son napped and while my husband was at work . I wanted to surprise him with it.
Styrofoam ( lots of it)
Gift wrap rolls (bare of course) I had these when I worked at a department store, used them for all kinds of things over the years , but now they've found their permanent home.
Long handle lighter
Shrubs ( the kind you use to make dinoramas)
Big cardboard piece to use as a floor
You will also need to make paper mache mix:
Flour 2 cups
Water 1/2 water
Vinegar 1 teaspoon
***remember working with paper mache is pretty awesome and usually everyone's got their own way of making the "PERFECT" mix like I usually add a lot more flour than water and vinegar to make a thicker mixture to work with, works better , well It really does for me, And remember the vinegar keeps it from any mold growth.
Step 1: Oh the Possibilities.....
So take a good look of everything you gathered...... Play with the styrofoam piece or pieces , don't be afraid to think outside the box , start by measuring your " columns" make sure their all the same size , otherwise this form will be sloped , now start attaching and gluing the paper rolls into the foam piece , now keep in mind for this step I had to use paper mache mixture and newspaper to keep everything together and make it stronger, have a quick check to make sure your columns are all the right size, otherwise your gonna have to go back and fix that before you adhere it,I then let it sit overnight so everything adheres properly
Step 2: Cobblestone-y Floor
Start by getting a piece of card board like the one from the cokes you buy at any supermarket, cut it to fit the top portion you made prior to this, paint black or whatever color you like and start carving small pieces from a separate styrofoam piece , cut small uneven pieces w your knife, I carved tons of them some bigger the others and some from a different type of foam I found , remember to mix and match , different styrofoam will give different textures and a slight variation in color, feel and look. Now use your glue gun to adhere your foam pieces, this is where it gets a little tricky though , why you ask because I used a lighter to melt some of the excess of the styrofoam, awesome awesome look to it the only thing is you have to be careful this stuff burns quickly. Very quickly so you need to be extra vigilant with this ( kids ask your parents for help on this one) and parents please be careful when your doing this step. You have to do this step quickly or it eats up the entire styrofoam piece so easy and quick that's the way to go with this step , now I found a pale gray and a black which I sponged in , gave it a rough, cobblestone-y look to the floor
Step 3: Castle Bricks
Now this step I used toothpicks to play around with the foam squares I cut, I wanted to look worn and oh so old, toothpicks give you the freedom of designing and ideas without the commitment of gluing down then having a change of Heart, for me the was no pattern and not a lot of thought with this step I just followed the arches in the styrofoam naturally and arranged the other foam kinda around the arches , I painted the whole thing black and started gluing the styrofoam in( removing toothpicks as you go) once Iam done painting the entire thing and adding the blocks I use the lighter method again, simply kinda run it though the entire thing , naturally some of the foam will shrink and look Stoney and uneven and yes some of the color will need to be repainted but this is exactly what u want, again keep a close eye on it, the fire runs pretty quickly w styrofoam.
Step 4: Columns and the Inside
This step is pretty easy I simply painted the columns a medium grade gray , and added some black along with a sponge to add texture to it and on to the next step, I also painted all of the bottom which is the inside of the castle form black and added a little crackle paint for a subtle effect.
Step 5: The Top of the Castle
Now the top of the castle is pretty easy all I did was cut more styrofoam squares some big some small , I put the bigger squares towards the front and the small ones towards the back and sides, I used just regular hot glue for this, then I painted them gray and sponged them w black , I also used the lighter method, just basically torching them ( some more than others) just to give it more of a run down look, at this point I started noticing that my whole display consisted of 2 colors which to me was a little boring, soooo I remembered I had a little bag of shrubbery left over from a past project, I then decided to use this to put a pop of color and it would give it an old abandoned grown in kinda look, I kinda went around and put little bunches of shrubbery where my display was looking a little less than perfect, I did this throughout the whole structure.
Step 6: Details Details and More Details
After I did the shrubbery I want thrilled w the bare top look so I went to my garage and dug up some old cardboard pieces I had, lucky for me the piece had a very gnarly look to it already, I then painted gray once more sponged it w black and used something called crackle paint, to make it look a little vintage, makes me think of castles when I see it, anyway I waited two hours after I put a light layer on to it , I covered some of it in shrubs like I did the castle form. And attached it w hot glue at the very top. All the exposed white styrofoam of the castle I painted gray and sponged black in I also torched it a little first just to make it a little more run down looking. And after this your pretty much done.
You can make this lightweight, super affordable castle form for your kids , it's good for boys or girls , or for awesome husbands that complain about not having shelf space lol it can also be for a school project or anything like that, this is very easy to make the only really challenging part is patience and experimenting with different "techniques " and materials. My take is play with it and see where it goes.... It's always worked for me! Hope you like it
Happy Valentine's Day !!