Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!!!
Do you remember the concrete art sculptures made by Catherine O'Hara / Delia Deetz? Remember, Beetlejuice made them come alive in the marriage scene? I've always loved Tim Burton's style and I decided to try my hand at making one of those sculptures. I put the whole thing on casters and now it is a throne in my workshop. This Instructable outlines my efforts and also has a bunch of process photos to show you how I went about it.
There's a bunch of cutting and welding involved, so please exercise the appropriate precautions with all tools if you try this.
- Rebar rods
- Rebar mesh sheet
- Galvanized floor mesh
- 5/8 plywood
- Black tint
- Thick rubber gloves
- MIG welder
- Mitre saw
- Drill press
- Zip ties
- Water spray bottles
- Black paint
- Angle grinder (cut off wheels and wire cups)
Step 1: Build Seat Base and Shape Rebar Skeleton
I made a simple stool using 2x4 and 5/8 plywood. Because I wanted to use casters I made the back of the stool slope down. This added some balance when I got to the rebars.
I bent the rebar by wedging it between cinderblocks and some wood poles. I goofed around with the shape of them until they were approximately what I wanted, then I welded the tops together. I PL glued them into the wood base.
Step 2: Weld the Back Structure
This was a bit freestyle; I just bent the bars, welded them on and cut off the excess as I needed to. I gave myself a fairly decent slice across the back of my hand, be really careful with freshly cut metal!!
In order to make the wire mesh shape bend and shape onto the rebar I used a big c-clamp. I found that screwing it on and off for each weld joint became a bit tedious and decided to try an experiment; I cut off the torque handle and put the threaded rod directly into my drill. I believe I have invented a new and awesome tool. The automatic C-Clamp by Deville's Workshop. You could also weld a good 1/2" nut to the end and use a strong socket driver if you were trying to clamp heavier things. Anyway, it works a charm!
Step 3: Fill Out and Shape With Foam
Once the general shape was sort of smashed into place I cut up a sheet of insulation foam and started to zip tie it in place. I was trying to keep the entire project somewhat within a reasonable weight zone, but in the end this chair is heavy as heck.
I used spray foam to glue everything together and fill all the gaps.
The final step here was to cover the entire chair in a sheet of galvanized floor mesh, usually used for laying down big flat floors. I did this to help hold the concrete that was going to go on in the next step.
Step 4: Add the Concrete
I used Hydrocal, which is often used for decorative molding and lawn statues. I would mix up really small batches (it flashes in about 15 minutes) and really try to squeeze it through the mesh. My plan was to to several thin layers. This entire process lead to a lot of apparently inappropriate rubbing and massaging of a big concrete phallus, which my neighbour over the fence would remind me of every twenty minutes or so.
After I finished the front I decided to start adding tint. I was too lazy to walk over to the Home Deeps and buy a concrete tint so I just used a painting tint that I had in the shop, it seems to work out alright.
Step 5: Smash It and Grind It and Paint It
I spent a really really long time smash the chair with a hammer, trying to reduce any bulges and bumps to a relatively smoother surface. This was followed by a LOT of angle grinding with a twisted wire cup brush, trying to smooth out and hide my poor skills as a concrete applicator.
When that was finally finished I gave it a few final thin coats, let it set, then walked around the whole thing with a spritzer bottle filled with watered down black paint. When I was happy with the finish I let it dry and put a coat of "wet look concrete sealer" on it. And it is done!
And that's that. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or if you can see an obvious way to do any of the processes better (I make up a lot of things as I go along, so there's always room for improvement). Thanks! DAZU