Introduction: Foam Mausoleum
This static Halloween decoration was made from 10 sheets of 4'x8'x10" white foam for the walls, 1 4'x8'x6" white foam piece that was cut to make the steps and 2 10"x6' columns.
Step 1: Cutting the Foam Walls
We used 10 sheets of 4'x8'x10" that was obtained from a local architectural foam supplier and custom ordered.
A template was cut out of plywood for the alternating pieces so that the wall pieces would fit together.
After attaching templates to the foam with bar clamps, we then used a Hot Wire Foam Factory 2'x4' Foot Compound Bow Cutter to make the cuts through the 10" inch thick foam. On the bigger cuts we cut out the main chunk and then came through again and made the closer cuts.
Step 2: Cutting the Windows and Door
Once the walls were cut and after the grout lines were drawn.
Then we made a paper template to see where to best place the windows.
We then made a template out of plywood. We made it one half of the shape and then flipped it for other half of the window.
To start the hole to get the Hot Wire 2'x4' Bow Knife in to cut the window we took a cordless reciprocating saw with a 12" blade to cut out a hole in the middle first then used the bow finish out the cuts.
Since the door way and the break out in the back are on the edges of the foam and joined together, we were able to just cut those openings easily with the bow.
Step 3: Fitting the Walls Together
The pieces were cut out so that each piece would pressure fit together like a big three dimensional puzzle.
There was some sanding with sandpaper and a drywall rasp to get the pieces to fit together easily.
Once the walls were together we stood the panels up to test the fit and work on the next step of the project.
Step 4: Grout Lines and Texturing
One the pieces were together, we could drawn and make the grout lines for the stone structure. Paying special attention to the size of the bricks on each wall to make sure they looked even and matched the brick sizes on all sides.
Then using a Dremel Trio, the grout lines were made and then each was hand textured and heat gunned, to enhance the texture.
This process was done on both sides of the walls since you could see inside the mausoleum.
Step 5: Stairs and Columns
We ordered custom sized columns from a local architectural foam vendor and cut them down to look ruined. The bases were made and shaped from scrap foam.
The stairs were also made from custom foam pieces that were shaped with a Hot Wire Bow and then glued together to make one large piece of the stairs. .
The columns are attached to the stairs but running a piece of PVC through the stairs and the columns - then rebar is put in the ground to hold them into place. Since foam is light, this keeps them in place in case of wind storms.
Step 6: Test the Structure
The pieces were test fitted and the structure was set upright before the final paint was applied.
This also helped us see where there were any gaps and if any of the structure needed to be shimmed to make sure it was level on the lawn.
Step 7: Painting
After the mausoleum is assembled we start with a base coat of flat black exterior paint applied with a paint sprayer to every exposed piece of foam. Do not use spay paint as it will damage the foam.
The walls, inside and out are then painted with two different shades of gray exterior house paint. The darker gray is first with a faux sponge roller brush. Use the roller to coat of the dark gray paint to cover 80% of the black surface of the wall in small batches.
Be sure to leave black paint showing in all the recessed areas.
While the dark gray paint is still wet, take the lighter gray and cover over the dark gray about 50%. Then take a rag (I use an old wash cloth) and tap the painted surface over and over (be sure to change hands to alternate the pattern) to blend the two colors and remove the pattern left by the rollers. Let this coat dry before going to the next step.
We then 'aged' the prop. We do this with a mixture of water and black exterior house about 50/50. Take a squirt bottle of water and spray where you want your drip areas to be and then take a small paint brush with your watered down black paint and drip where the water naturally runs down the structure, be sure to take a dry rag to wipe down the drips so they look like weather washed brink and not dripping mascara.
This makes the structure look more weathered and worn.
Step 8: Final Details
The broken metal gate/door was made out of PVC and a wood frame. The PVC was cut to fit the opening and then screwed into the wood frame.
The we took pond liner filler (black Great Stuff) and used it to make the grate/gate look like aged iron. Then we painted it black and dry brushed it with two shades of gray.
We made the gate holders out of wood and then used the same pond liner and paint technique.
Because we want to keep the walls flat, instead of gluing the holders to the frame we drilled holes in the frame and created the attachment system that allows for easy removal.
We used a sheet of rear projection screen for the back opening of the mausoleum in the back for the ghost projection.