I added several lights, outlets and shelving for my stereo, but really you could pretty much anything or nothing in there.
Step 1: First: Sketch what you want this to look like...and make a short parts list
I usually have more than one idea sketched out, so I go back and figure out what I think I can afford.
The first idea involved making a accordion structure that would segment the walkway to my front door to create "rooms" as the kids walked up. I still may do this, but not this year - last year was too spooky and some kids would not come up the walk so I am trying to tone it down...
Back to the project - after I sketched the cemetery gate, I estimated what I would need in minimums.
2 - 4x8 sheets of cheap plywood
20 - 10' 1/2 PVC pipe (schedule 40 - sprinkler pipe)
4 - 2x4 8' long
6 - 1x4 8' long
6 - PVC 3/4" to 1/2" T fitting (close up to follow)
6 - PVC 1/2" end caps
1 - 4x8 sheet of pink (or blue) home insulating foam board
Foam board glue
Spray paint - cheap stuff $.99 black and gray (gray is double what the black is but you only need 2 cans - I used 12 cans of black on this project)
I needed other stuff too - but I have a pretty good stock of random parts and hardware as I have been doing this for about 20 years now...
Step 2: Buy the stuff and get started!
I started by trying to lay out the columns on the plywood in such a way that I would get the most out of one sheet. I decided the best thing to do would be to just rip the plywood in half lengthwise and then clamp the two halves together. This would allow me to sketch on one side and trim both of the sides at once. Since I didn't have a template or even any measurements to go by, it was pretty important I keep the sheets together.
Once I had the basic shape of the columns, I needed to work on the "rake" or tilt of the columns. Initially I cut way too much and the columns had no chance of standing on their own. Once corrected, I was on my way!
Step 3: Construct the column boxes
I first attached the 2x4's to the front of the column (leaving enough room for the thickness of the plywood) using drywall screws and gorilla glue.
Step 4: Construct the foam stones
Test assemble the foam pieces on the structure using small nails until the entire things is covered and you are happy with the effect.
I divided the foam board into two roughly equal halves - one half for each side and saved all the little pieces in a bucket to use as chinking between the stones.
Step 5: Skull faces
Step 6: Paint the mortar
Step 7: Paint the faces of the stones
Step 8: Backwards a little to the cemetery topper...
For this I used two sticks of the PVC pipe and heated it with a heat gun until I could mold it into a jig I made (I just drew a spiral on a piece of the scrap plywood and put screws where the bends would be).
I made this spiral on both ends of the PVC pipe for a total of four. Once assembled and painted, the topper looked pretty good. As a bonus, the topper gave a route for the wiring between the two columns (keeping the wires off of the walkway).
Step 9: Making the cemetery fence sections
Initially, I made everything straight and even, but the effect was...well, straight and even. I really wanted this to look old and neglected so I made sure the second time I drilled the holes for the PVC pipes offset and random.
I also found that the drywall screws worked very well as wedges to hold the PVC without damaging it and allowing me to disassemble or refit things as necessary.
Step 10: Make the fence supports
I used over sized "T" connections (3/4" to 1/2") to allow the fence to be positioned in the yard and then used short pieces of PVC as the anchors.
Step 11: Paint the fence, add electronics and wiring, test fit
Step 12: FInished!
I have included more pictures of the total effect, thanks for looking! See you next year!!!
BTW - I have a blog (who doesn't) I post all kinds of stuff on - kind of a distillery for the weird...