Introduction: Halloween Silhouette for a Large Garage Door

I basically wanted to try my own version of this project:

Halloween Garage Door Silhouette by mcorbin


I had a bunch of old 1x12's stacked in a corner from some old shelving I took down.

So my thought was, instead of using my garage door as a backdrop, I'd build a shadow box. (My garage door has those little fancy windows.)

Step 1: I Created an Image...

The first thing I did was search the internet for interesting profiles.

Then I measured my garage door to figure out the aspect ratio.

In a photo editing program, I combined all of the pictures that I liked that would fill the space in an interesting way.

Keeping some of the original components as a nod to the original creator.

I got a copy of corel trace with my laser engraver. That allowed me to export the picture to a CAD format.

In a CAD program, I scaled the size to match my shadow box dimensions. Then I sliced up the larger vector image into smaller panels that would fit nicely onto 4x8 sheets of plywood.

(I've included the CAD files)

Step 2: I Built the Shadowbox Frame to Fit My Garage Door Opening...

Using the old shelving, I built a Shadowbox to fit the opening of my garage door.
(There is only a 1/4" clearance in either dimension.)

Then I added some vertical supports, painted the frame black, and installed some back panels made from 3/8" plywood.

I painted the frame with flat black paint, and the back panels with flat white primer.

I had to give the white panels a couple of coats to thoroughly cover the wood grain pattern from bleeding through.

Step 3: Phone a Friend...

I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is a member of a Maker Space that has a CNC Router.

I e-mailed him the CAD file I created (and gave him some $).

He bought the 5/8" thick plywood material and also routed the profiles out for me on the CNC Router.

NOTE: The cutouts are jagged. This was an unintentional by-product of vectorizing an image the size of my computer screen and scaling it to the size of my garage door. At that size, the pixelation becomes apparent.

However, in an odd way, this made it cooler. The jagged edges made it seem more "Haunty".

Another NOTE: There was a lot of firring around the edges of the routed profiles, so we did a lot of edge clean up by hand.

Step 4: Prep and Mount the Profiles...

So, one of the biggest steps was creating the lighting.

But, I got carried away and didn't remember to take any photos during that step.

However, you can reference mcorbin's project to see how I did it.

The only special thing that I did, was I built a smaller box behind the windows of the house where I installed the orange light so I wouldn't have the orange light bleeding into the background, this gave the effect of lights on in the house.

I also entwined a blue and purple set of LED string lights behind the top edge of the shadow box to give a blue aspect to the backlight.

The other thing that was a little different, was that I plugged in an LED flame bulb and set it down on the base of the shadowbox behind the cauldron.

If you were to see it live, it gave a dynamic flickering effect that made the cauldron fire look more realistic.

For a little added flare, I bought a "Moon in my Room" night light and hung it on the backdrop of the scene.

Another friend stopped by to visit, so I put him to work helping paint all the profile edges before we mounted them on the shadowbox frame.

To mount them, I simply screwed them to the edges of the frame.

I did build one brace to help reinforce the "owl tree". It was tall and swayed alot. (I didn't get a picture of that either. Sorry.)

Step 5: Slide It Into Place...

Lol, warning.

It get's a lot heavier when you mount all of the panels to it.

At first, I could slide the frame around easily by myself.

Once all the panels got mounted, it was quite a bit harder to move.

Although I could have gotten it eventually, I just had my wife help me push it into place.

Make sure to keep it upright and balanced, I could tell it would have been hard to stop it from falling if it swayed beyond it's tipping point. (After we slid it out the door, we lifted it onto a couple of movers dollies to spin it.)

But it still fit perfectly in place.

Step 6: Stand Back and Admire the Handy Work...

Once we put it in place, I hung the moon and plugged it all in.

Then I could hardly wait for it to get dark.