Living in Salem, Halloween is a big deal around here. I started making my own outdoor props for my yard haunt about 6 years ago. I like to change out some pieces each year... one new piece this year was "The Rack".
Overall pretty easy make and if your local hardware superstore has a scrap wood section; fairly inexpensive.
Total Cost (less the skeleton): about $40-60
This is my 1st Instructable, be kind :)
Time to build: 1 afternoon
Tongue & groove 1/2" pine boards
2 Eye Screws
1' in pipe (or a metal mop handle)
4 Standard, everyday, wrist & ankle cuffs
12 Big Shiny Nuts & Bolts
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Step 1: The Frame:
The whole thing is built on a 6x2 frame made with 2x4's
Make sure it pretty rigid, I used cross pieces at the corners and L brackets. It doesn't have to be pretty (mine isn't) because you wont see it.
At this point, you can decide how you want this displayed. Mine was to be at an angle, so I added some 2x4 legs just to the top part.
Step 2: The Planks
You want them wide enough so they come out about 4-6" from your skeletons shoulders and the last plank should be the one the head rests on. You're going to add 2x4 extension pieces in a later step to get your full/final length.
(note: the shorter ones in the middle weren't really planned, for the width I needed, I came up short and I didn't want to go back to the store to buy another full board.
Once they're all cut just start screwing them to the frame,starting at the bottom.
I used 1" drywall screws, because the wood is soft, I had a ton laying around the basement and this wasn't going to be a permanent structure
I added 1x1 rails on the edges to give it some depth and also for a place to secure the chains to.
I counter sunk the screws for these by 1st drilling a hole slightly wider than the screw heads to a depth of about 1/2 inch
Step 3: Age the Wood
Ok, so I'll admit, this is my favorite part.
1. Please be careful,
2. Do this outdoors (so you can have the garden hose ready)
3. Practice on a few scraps or on the backs of the planks until you get a feel for the distance from teh wood and pace to move at.
Using a blowtorch, just pass the flame about 2-3 inches above the wood and a steady motion. This brings out the grain and gives the wood an aged look. Yes, I GUESS you could stain it (probably best if building this with children), but that takes longer (and isn't as much fun)
Step 4: Some Decorative Touches
For the wood rails: I decided they needed something to:
1- Hide the holes
2 - Add a little flair
I drilled a couple extra holes into the rails, at regular intervals, then I bought some big *** bolts, nuts and washers & worked them into said holes
Step 5: The Wheels
The Wheels: I found a couple old kids bikes on the trash, so they were free! (TIP: always have some tools in the car)
Add a piece of 2x4 to the edge of your top planks to extend the deck and to house the wheels.
I used a 1.25" Eye Hook screw in the top of each 2x4 to run the axle through
Using a 3/4 metal mop handle for the axle, I placed (read: hammered/forced) the nuts from the wheels into each end of the pipe and screwed the wheels in place. If the ones from the bikes wont fit, you can try other sizes nuts.
Ultimately they were a little wobbly and I ended up drilling holes through the pipe and using thin wire wrapped through the spokes (near the wheel hub) secured the to the pipe.
This was the most difficult/time consuming part of the project and a lot of not-nice words came out of my mouth.
Note: If I had more time, I think it would have been cool to hook up the bike chain to another wheel hub & motor and have the wheel spin.. maybe next year.
Step 6: Attach the Chains
For the Arm Chains, I just looped the chain a few times around the axle and secured with some wire and a dab of hot glue so the chains wouldn't slide around
Leg Chains were put in pace with a cheap stainless steal loop "thing" screwed into the rails.
Attach the cuffs with the provided mini-padlocks.
Step 7: Add the Victim
Add a tattered shirt,
A lil corpsification (found here on Instructables)
I had a plastic heart laying around (but who doesn't?) so I sliced it open and added a small 5w bulb that came out of a plastic pumpkin. I just cut a hole in the wood plank and ran the cord through.
During the day it looks cool, you know, a heart just hangin out in a skeletal chest; but looks even better lit up at night.
Step 8: Lighting
He looks much better when down-lit.
I used an LED spot light and tried a few different colors, He's toward the front of my yard and the rest of the yard is bathed in red & purple lights, so blue really made him pop, plus it allowed the heart to really stand out.
Step 9: Thats It!
I hope you enjoyed my 1st Instructable! One of the good things about this project is the piece really does break down easily and can be stored in a fairly small area. Or, if you're like me and don't have a lot of storage space, just save the hardware and enjoy the wood.
Participated in the
Halloween Decor Contest