Introduction: Forest Cabin Halloween Facade
Runner Up in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2016
This instructable will not be a direct how to make the facade i built but more a tips and tricks and how i made my facade, in hopes of inspiring you to create something like it.
I hated how my house never looked spooky or helped with the backdrop to any of our halloween home haunt themes. So after my wife decided she wanted to do witches, i decided the witch needed a forest cabin. I set out with pen paper and a tape measure.
The facade uses 16 - 4x7 or 4x6 panels made of plywood and 2x3 or 2x4 framing, various real glass old windows, plywood roof and porch pieces, real tree trunks and branches from southern Oregon, and lots of reclaimed wood and pallets. Accessories really make it complete and must not be overlooked. In the next steps i'll take you on the journey of building a facade for the first time (yes i have never built a facade before).
Materials needed but this is not all inclusive.
- SCAFFOLDING!! (100% must have for a 2 story facade)
- 2x4 or 2x3's
- 1x3's(trim boards) 1x2's (curtain holders) and 2x2's (bracing)
- fence boards of various lengths
- latex paint to mix to get your aging color
- flat black spray paint
- bolts, nuts, washers
- drill bits
- staples and air staple gun
- tree trunks and branches
- wood trim for front door
- pallets for porch
- screw gun
- tie plates
- LED's for windows
- speaker wire
- electrical tape
- 12v and 110v power
- porch light
- pine cones, moss, and branch pieces
- any other accessories that fit your theme or design
Step 1: Build Your Flats (walls)
I didn't take a good pic of the walls when i was making them but the video on the first page shows the panels before painting and such.
Take your plywood and either trim it to 4x7 or leave it as 4x8. The reason i made mine 4x7 on the bottom and 4x6 on the top was that the bottom sections were already cut to 7ft and i cut the tops to 6ft to allow me to install it. I was building this by myself with 6 ft scafolding so it had to be feasible for me to reach stuff.
Cut your 2x4 or 2x3 boards to frame the plywood and using your air staple gun staple the crap out of the frame to the plywood. This saved so much time and money as screws would have been costly. This is only up for a month or so and so staples worked perfectly. It's very very sturdy and not one staple has come out of the wood even with rain most of Oct.
Repeat with all panels.
Paint the panels with your base coat but don't cover the plywood, let the water/paint mixture soak into the wood still showing the grain. So no rollers, brushes ok but using a gravity fed or electric spray gun works the best and it's so fast!! The drying time is almost 0 if you do this in the summer. Wear protective stuff over your face though as usual. Gloves too!!
Move all the panels to the installation area.
Step 2: Bottom Floor
Measure where you want the facade to go. If you add turns and corners to your facade it will add depth and allow for great stability when building and while it's up. My town gets alot of wind pretty much every day and this facade once built in this way never moved a bit under 40-50mph winds every few days.
I measured the basic flow of my house as the living space is set back from the garage, so i had 1 8ft run then a 90 deg corner to another 8ft run and then a 90 deg corner to a 16 ft run to cover the front walk way and the garage. It overlapped past my house on both sides to hide the house even more.
As you can see in the pictures i painted them before i installed them, using my harbor freight electric spray paint gun and a custom mixture of gray. Using the spray gun allowed for the paint to be watered down and thus soaked into the wood not covering it, thus aging the wood. I used a scenic painting technique shown in the video above by Mr. Allen Hopps of Stilbeast Studios. He shows how to use a piece of pink foam or other long straight edge to paint "siding" lines along the walls. I used black spray paint to create the shadow of the siding. This looks amazing in the dark and the daytime.
Think about where you want the door, i put my door right in line with my actual door and thus allowing me access to my actual house through the facade door.
If you know where your windows will go, cut them out of the panels before you start to install the walls, otherwise you will have to cut them while they are upright. DO NOT CUT THE UPPER STORY WINDOW HOLES WHILE IT"S INSTALLED. not good for safety. I cut the window hole smaller than the actual window so i could screw right through the frame into the wood panel. I put some scrap 2x3 pieces behind the wall panel for stability. Add a 2x2 or 1x2 "curtain rod" and staple some curtain material to it.
I attached each panel with 2 bolts/nuts/washers about 2ft from the top and bottom of the panel. This made for easy install and take down. One the corners i used corner brackets found in the building braces area of home depot.
Install the bottom section first and make sure the tops are all flush with each other. Being level is not as important as them being flush with the panels next to it. Use shims made of left over pieces of fence boards (that you used to make the door you see in the pic).
Step 3: Paint Siding Lines and Cut Second Story Window Holes
When you go to paint all your siding lines, do it all at once and mark out the spacing. I used 8" but use whatever you want. Mark it out on each panel then spray the lines using a piece of pink/blue rigid foam 1-1/2" thick or more. Spray with FLAT black spray paint. Spray left to right sweeping as you see in the video above.
Do every panel as you won't want to do this once you get them up on the second story. Ensure you are marking out the same distance on each panel. As you can see on the second picture, i messed up on one panel out of 19.. which is pretty good. When i added roof and porch pieces the lines were masked by the depth detail. You can get creative with this though, you can add knot holes, grain lines, broken pieces etc. All depends on your skill level. Me being a first time facade builder, i wanted to get it up and add detail as i had time.
Screw in 2x3 blocks to the back of the panels on each side of the window holes for the windows to screw into.
Get ready to install the second story.
Step 4: Get Scaffolding and Install the Second Story
6ft tall scaffolding proved to be the one key piece to this install. Without it you are not getting this done. It made a nice work area, and we had it for 2 weeks and it was used non-stop.
Take 2 scrap pieces of 2x4's about 3ft long and screw them to the front top of the bottom section you are installing the top section on. This will aid you while you are on the other side pulling the panel up and setting it in place. As you saw in the first video, i used clamps while i was installing the bolts and such. I started in the wrong spot but you should start on the furthest right or left of your facade and work your way to the other side.
Use 2 bolts/nuts/washers on the bottom about 1.5ft in on both sides and 2 bolts on the sides about 2ft from the top and bottom. Basically duplicate how you created the bottom level but include the bolts to hold the bottom of the top panel to the top of the bottom panel. You can try to pre-drill the panels before you install but it never seemed to work for me as grass is uneven and such.
The other stability point was to take 2x4's and cut them to 6ft or so and using tie plates attach one end about 2ft down from the top of the bottom panel along it's 2x4 frame. It will extend about 4-5 ft above the bottom panel. When installing the top level attach the 2x4 frame to the top of this 2x4 as seen in the 7th pic above. This kept the top level from flexing and swaying in the wind and added a ton of strength and stability to the facade.
If you have a large open area in your bottom level as i did to show the witch scene inside the garage, you'll need to use a 4x4 or 2-2x4's to span the distance and create a header board as seen in the 8th pic above.
I did attach a 2x4 at a few points to the facade and attached that 2x4 to the house using those U shaped fence brackets. I think only 4 are holding mine to the house and i think only 2 are really needed.
Step 5: Make It Look Like a Home, Roof, Porch, Ivy and Windows!
I started with windows next and added them using the scaffolding for the 2nd story windows. The bottom floor didn't need a ladder or anything. Added curtains to the back and LED's on the top and bottom of the windows to give the look of candle light.
Add shutters to the windows but make them falling, or crooked or missing. I made several actually work with hinges and such. Get creative with this, burn them, knock some of the slots out, spray paint them to age them. I got all of my shutters from the habitat for humanity re-stores and craigslist. Some were closet doors that i cut down to size.
Age the windows if you want if they are not already. I used a paint stripper gel that took off 100 years worth of paint with little elbow grease.
Cut lengths of plywood for roof pieces and attach using 45 deg angle brackets for the top roof. I made mine about 15" wide i think and they were light enough they didn't need any support other than the brackets.
I made much wider pieces for the porch roof on the far left side and then 2 ft porch roofs for the front of the cabin covering the garage (long run). I used tree trunk pieces to support the porch roofs. Used a 2x4 on the wall, screw the roof piece to that and then let it angle down a bit and then installed the tree piece to create the slope angle.
We added ivy up 2 of the sides. I bought it off Ebay and between the two corners, the bridge and the wheels of the hearse we used 260 ft of ivy. http://www.ebay.com/itm/271950058516?_trksid=p2057...
Again this is where you get creative and go as far as you want with detail.
Step 6: Porch and Trim
I used long pallets and short mini pallets to create my porch. Painted them all brown with a roller to cover the wood and then covered the pallet fork parts with scrap wood i had. You don't notice the bottom with the right lighting so how you go on this is up to you.
I put 1x4 trim around the garage door span, and the two ends of the facade and the corner by the door. I stained it using the gray miniwax stain. Matched my custom wall paint mixture almost exactly.
Again this is creativity on your part, so it all depends on your theme or design.
Step 7: Lighting
The only lighting on the facade is on the windows and a porch light.
I used 5mm flicker LED's from Lighthouse LED's and speaker wire to wire them up. I made a custom power box and it had 12v outlets on it. Ran one master line around the facade where the top and bottom levels meet. This allowed for one long run of big cable and then smaller speaker wire runs to each window LED.
The porch light was a 110v porch light i got at the restore and i installed flicker circuits to the wiring (FS-2 fluorescent starters in the positive wire between the light and the power plug).
I also ran some flood LED lights to the yard to light it up. You can't really see it in pictures but i showed a few above.
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