Goldie's Toxic Waste Barrels





Introduction: Goldie's Toxic Waste Barrels

Here are some toxic waste barrels that I made for my haunt 2007. I was trying to think of a way to make toxic waste look like it was really toxic. I wanted it to look alive, like lava-with lights flickering from inside and steam-fog. Here is what I came up with and it looks great in person. The orange ones looked live lava and was extremely convincing, and the green ones looked toxic.

Step 1: Step 1

I got some empty cardboard 55 gallon drums. I wanted them to look like the black and white steel drums, so we painted them. We spray painted them with black and primer grey, and we used duct tape to section them off where we wanted different colors.

Step 2: Step 2

I made some toxic waste signs on my computer and attached them using 2 sided tape. I attaced string lights by draping them down the outside of the barrel and covering them with foam insulation Great Stuff. I used 2 strands of lights, one flashing and one non flashing. Inside the barrel I put rope party lights because they are brighter and flash brighter, and create a better glow.

Step 3: Step 3

I cut out a square in the bottom and the backside of the barrel to put in a fog machine. In this picture you can see the inside rope lights on and the fog, but I didn't have the lights on in the front ooze running down the front of barrel. In this picture you can see that I painted some of the Great Stuff running down the barrel and it does make it look better when the lights are on, painting them helps add the color.

Step 4: Step 4

In this barrel I wanted to add a person to the inside, so I added a skeleton head. I wanted it to kinda look like something from the movie; "The Return of the Living Dead", at least that is where I got the idea from. I cut out a window with a jigsaw and I used a piece of clear mylar for the window. I cut out a large round cardboard piece and attached it inside the barrel, at the bottom window level. I added string lights, Great Stuff and the skull. After dried... I painted the Great Stuff with orange, yellow & black. After that dried... I drilled holes down thru it so the fog could rise up thru and look like it was cooking/steaming. In regards to safety I would suggest that you drill holes thru the cardboard first and then work around them with the lights and Great Stuff. Allow some extra room due to the expanding Great Stuff. A better and safer option might be to check out Goldie's Bubbling Cauldron and look at how I made that. I put the lights thru wiffle balls and put Great Stuff over top. You could put holes in it first prior to all the work, that would allow fog to rise up thru.

Step 5: Step 5

In this picture you can see it with the lights on and the fog comming out. Unfortunately you can't see the skull in this picture but it looked pretty good in there. In my Toxic Waste scene I had this barrel lifted up higher than the others, so the skull could be seen by all.

Step 6: Step 6

The barrels are done and you can see how they look at night. I made 4 barrels. Two in green and two in orange. The orange ones looked like live molten lava, they looked Hot. (I was afraid to touch it when it was all lit up-it was very convincing) And the green ones looked toxic. The green had an eerie glow and the green flashing lights made it look radio active. Thanks for looking.

Let It Glow!

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32 Discussions

Here is my version of this great Instructable. I used smaller pails and they are all stuck to a cardboard base. This lets it looks like there is a flow to the waste, when it is actually just me covering up the string of lights.

I used orange halloween lights so that is where the colour is from, plus the yellow spray foam. If I made another I would use green lights.

3 replies

Wow that looks Great!!! I am proud of you!!! Sorry I haven't responded earlier. I couldn't remember my password to get on here and I just now reset it.

Your buckets look awesome! Planning on making some this year, where did you get the buckets and how big are they? Thanks in advance.

Hi. They are just 5 gallon pails from Home Depot, painted black.

I'm trying to get rid of this prop as I need the space and the neighbourhood kids are bored of it. If anyone lives in London Ontario and wants it, give me a shout!

can this be done with expanding foam and glow sticks? im planning on using it in a forest for an airsoft game and can't get electricity into the forest.

1 reply

I imagine it could be. You could also use Battery operated string lights...usually available in craft stores.

What color lights did you use? Just clear or did you use green lights for toxic waste.

1 reply

I used green rope lights in a couple of the barrels and orange lights in the other two. Thanks for asking, Goldie

Wow. I'm scared from here. Love your technique to get the texture and lighting correct. It's interesting how fake toxic waste usually looks more dangerous than actual toxic waste. Now where'd I put that gas mask?

1 reply

this is an awesome effect! where did you find green rope lights? did you need a fog machine for each barrel or did you connect it somehow?

1 reply

You can find rope lights during Christmas season and some stores carry them all year round. (Such as a A.C. Moore, Michaels, Ben Franklin's) I used a fog machine in each barrel.

These are awesome! I'd love to see this effect somehow worked with a TCT (trashcan trauma) prop!

First off killer Idea The great stuff really adds a wonderful texture. Second where did you get those 55 gallon barrels?

4 replies

I don't know about his fiber board drums, but I used a plastic 55 gal that I got for free from a car wash. When car washes buy soap it comes in these barrels, and when they deplete it they just toss it out. Go to your local car wash and ask if they have any empty ones, and if they don't, when they'll be through with it.

Whether it is fake or not, I would never dare to touch one of your "poisonous" barrels... Great instructable! I love it, and it is very scary... Good work you had done! I will rate you.