This Instructable has been entered in the Halloween Decorations contest. I would really appreciate your vote if you think it's worthy ;-)
Since I have been involved with our local haunted trail, I have wanted to build a large scary clown face entrance to our trail. This entrance could also be used for a fun house, evil carnival or your own yard haunt.
If you don't want to make a clown, you could use this same method to make a skull, zombie, vampire or pretty much any character you want.
Be sure to check out the video about this project for even more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV6qe4wIqPo
Here are the required materials:
- (2) - 4' x 8' x 1/2" sheets of plywood (sanded on one side)
- (12) - 2" x 4" x 8' framing studs
- (2) - 2" x 4" x 14' framing studs
- (4) - 4" bolts, nuts & washers
- A variety of different sized wood screws
- Outdoor latex primer
- Black latex paint
- Water based Spar Urethane
- Acrylic craft paints & brushes
- Graph paper & pencil
- Basic tools, saw, drill, etc.
Here are a few items that would be very helpful, but they are not absolutely required:
- Airbrush set with small air compressor
- Brad nail gun and air compressor
- Overhead projector and transparency paper, or projector connected to a computer.
Step 1: Step 1: Design Your Scary Clown Face.
The first step is to come up with a design for your entrance. If you don't know what design you want, ask Google. The internet was a huge inspiration for my design. I found several "cartoonish" clowns that I liked and ended up using features from several different designs. Just don't copy any design exactly.
Use graph paper to draw your design to scale. If you're not an artist, just take your time and press lightly on your pencil so you can erase when you make mistakes. You must be happy with your scale drawing before continuing with this project.
Step 2: Step 2: Cutting and Framing
I wanted to make my entrance in such a way that it could be taken apart into three separate panels for easier transporting and storage.
The top panel (with the clowns face) measures 4 ft. high x 7 ft. wide. The two side panels each measure 7 ft. high by 2 ft. wide. Each panel is framed by screwing together 2" x 4" framing studs. I mounted plywood to the studs using a brad nail gun.
For the large panel, I framed it in such a way that there was about 10 inches or so of plywood hanging over the frame. This is so the teeth could overhang the doorway thereby adding a bit of realism. The side panels then have an end that is not covered by plywood. This needs to be the same length as the overhang on the top panel so when the panels are assembled, the plywood on each panel will but up against each other.
I used 3/8" plywood for my entrance, but I ended up having to beef up the area behind where the teeth would be cut out. I would recommend using a thicker plywood from the get go (at least 1/2").
Once the panels are constructed, test fit them on the floor to make sure everything fits. If you're happy with the fit, rotate the top panel and one of the side panels on their side and clamp the frame pieces together. Drill two holes through the frame of both the top and side panel so 4" bolts can be inserted through the holes later. Repeat for the other side.
Step 3: Step 3: Priming and Painting
Once the framework is built, it is a good time to use wood filler to fix any imperfections and nail holes on the front of the plywood panels. Spend some time sanding the front panel using progressively smoother sandpaper. You'll want the panels as smooth as possible.
Next cover the entire surface front and back with several coats of exterior white latex primer, lightly sanding the front panels between coats.
Once the primer has dried, apply a couple coats of black latex paint to the back side of the panels and the framework. Make sure you leave the front (canvas) white.
Step 4: Step 4: Transferring the Clown to the Plywood
There are a couple different ways you can transfer the clown face (or whatever character you choose) to the plywood. The easiest way that I have found is to copy your graph paper drawing into a transparency sheet and project it onto the canvas using an overhead projector. Then use a pencil and trace the lines onto the canvas.
If you have a projector that connects to your laptop, you can scan the graph paper into an electronic document and project it using your laptop.
If you don't have a projector, another way (although more difficult and time consuming) is to divide the drawing and canvas into square foot sections. It is much easier to free-hand transfer one square foot at a time as opposed to the entire image.
Once the outline of the clown has been transferred to the canvas, use a jigsaw to cut out the teeth.
Step 5: Step 5: Painting the Clown
Now for the fun part. This isn't absolutely required, but I chose to use an airbrush to paint my clown as opposed to brushes. If you are not experienced with an airbrush, don't be intimidated. This was my first time too (seriously). Just take your time and practice first using scrap wood or cardboard until you get the hang of your airbrush.
You can spend an arm and a leg for special air brush paints if you want to, but I just used cheap acrylic craft paints from Hobby Lobby and mixed them about 50/50 with water. My airbrush did clog occasionally but I just cleaned it out by spraying water every so often, not a problem.
Make sure you start with lighter colors and work your way darker. If you make mistakes with dark colors, they are difficult to cover with the lighter ones.
Once you are finished painting, brush or roll on several coats of water-based spar urethane to the surface to protect your masterpiece from Mother Nature. Make sure you use a water based spar urethane. Oil based urethane will discolor your lighter paint colors.
Step 6: Step 6: Getting It Ready for the Haunt
I was lucky enough to be able to dig holes where this entrance was to be placed. I screwed a 14 ft. 2" x 4" to each side of the frame. I then dug two 3 ft. deep holes and inserted these long boards. I had a helper hold the entrance plumb while I filled the holes.
A little bit of dirt was added at a time and then tamped tight and repeated (like a fence post).
Two more 2" x 4" supports were then attached at an angle from the back side of the entrance for added support.
If you don't have the option to dig holes where your entrance will be, you will need to engineer some other support system that works best for your application. Just keep safety in mind. This entrance is big and heavy and could definitely injure someone if it were to fall or be blown over from the wind.
This Instructable has been entered in the Halloween Decorations contest and I would greatly appreciate your vote if you think it is worthy. Also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more cool Halloween projects.