We were hosting a "Christmas in Whoville" event for the kids at church, so the first step was to build the entrance from the cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The lesson is brief, but we really like how this came out. Let's get started!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Many of these things are optional, but here is everything we used:
- Foam Insulate Board 1-inch thick
We like to use the foam board because its uses are so versatile and it's weight really helps with hanging. We normally like the thinner boards, but the thicker 1-inch boards did the trick. We used 2 4x8ft boards.
- Hot knife/ old wood burner
The best way to cut this foam with a nice, smooth edge is to use a hot knife. For certain areas, we also used an old wood burning tool that had the knife blade attachment for it. Just be sure to open the door and wear a mask. The fumes are bad!
- Paint (pink and white)
- Fake spray snow
Purely optional, but we had a can of the spray-on snow leftover, so we added it on top of our white paint for some additional texture.
- Black cut-out letters
Thankfully, we had access to a Cricut cutting machine, so the letters were a piece of cake. Alternatively, these can be painted freehand or stenciled.
- Duct Tape
- Fishing Line
We wanted our entrance in the middle of the room, so we used fishing line to help suspend it from the ceiling.
Step 2: Draw Your Outline
We decided to use two boards stacked horizontally to make our entrance because we could make it wider and fit more people through the gap.
We placed the two boards on top of each other and used the screenshot from the cartoon as a place of reference. We tested out a few different lines before settling on the ideal outline of the entrance.
We were not worried about drawing various lines on the front of the project because it was going to be painted over. However, be warned; certain colors of markers will be a pain to cover up, depending on the lightness of your pink paint. We had a hard time covering up any overlapping lines.
Step 3: Cut It Out
Now it is time to cut out the design. We used an old wood burning knife to melt through the foam around our lines. A helpful trick for this method is to cut on the outside of the line by at least the width of the knife. The foam will then melt away right up against the lines you drew.
Be sure to wear a face mask and work in a well-ventilated area. The fumes can be dangerous.
The areas that we designated for "snow" were cut at a slightly different angle (45° out roughly) so that the boards could have texture and look more round. The other areas were cut inward so that they would have harder, more rigid looking edges.
We cut the two boards separately, minus the areas where they will be connected. For those sections, we pushed the boards together firmly and made a single cut to ensure they line up seamless.
After you cut everything, save the scraps for other projects, and then see how it all looks together!
Step 4: Paint It
Painting the foam is pretty straightforward.
Get a roller, and roll a coat of pink all over the boards.
Get a brush and paint all the sides and edges.
Get a roller and paint another coat of pink.
Wait around, and if necessary, paint another coat.
Since our arch was going in the center of the room, we also had to paint the reverse side. The backside has the marking from the home improvement store. They're slightly indented, so no amount of paint will hide it completely. It is still visible at a slight angle, but three coats of paint did an excellent job hiding it straight ahead.
After it is all painted pink, go in and add your white paint for the snow. We did our best to make it fluffy and round. After it dried, we added the Spray-on Snow to give it texture.
Step 5: Add the Letters
Thankfully, we had access to a Cricut machine. We wanted the letters to be about 10 inches tall, and we used the "doctor soos" font found online. We cut out 12 x 24-inch sheets of black paper and used the machine to cut about two letters for each cutting mat.
If you do not have access to a cutting machine, you could draw the words, use a stencil, or purchase letters st any craft store. The free-spirited and silly curves of the Seuss and Whoville world really help for creative liberty (and masking mistakes).
We laid the letters out on the arch to fit them.
We then glued them by spraying the board with spray adhesive and layering the back of each letter with Elmer's glue. We worked left to right for "welcome" and then right to left for "whoville." The remaining space helped us to evenly align the word "to."
Step 6: Attach the Foam Together
The original plan was to place dowels into the foam and fit the edges together with glue around them. We tried that, and it seemed to almost work, but we could not get enough to pressure to hold it together seamlessly.
The remedy for this was good old-fashioned duct tape.
We kept about 2-3 dowels in each side, but we squeezed the boards together tightly and wrapped them in the tape. It held nicely!
To hide this fact, we got some ribbon and wrapped them around the seams with a big bow.
No one knew!
Step 7: Hang It Up
We suspended the arch in the middle of the room by drilling a few small holes at the top of the arch. We ran a clear fishing line through the holes and tied them to the ceiling with the base of the entrance resting on the ground. The light weight of the foam made it easy to adjust, and gravity did the rest. It stayed right in place!
Step 8: You're Done!
It's all done! Time to celebrate (aka use the scraps to make more decorations using the same methods).
Thank you, and enjoy!