Saturday, June 17, 2017

How to make a VBS treehouse Part 1

I made this tree for a VBS (Vacation Bible School). This tree stands nearly 12 feet tall and is nearly that wide. 
I had to make it in a shop that has a ceiling of 8 foot and it had to be transportable. 

I started off making about a 7 foot tall frame from 2x4s. I wanted the bottom to curve in some and not  be a square tree. So the I cut 45 degree angles on two of the pieces.

I then cut a weird shape out plywood for the bottom of the tree. I screwed this through the plywood onto the bottom of the frame. 

I got a large box. I opened it up and crumpled it. I started stapling the cardboard to the frame.
Here is the side.


On a few spots I had to put screws in to hold the cardboard flat. I screwed a scrap piece of board onto it just to give it a wider surface area.  These scrap boards will be covered up later so there wasn't any worry. I used thinner boards because they are easier to cover up.

The back

I screwed 2x4s into the frame. These are going to be the supports for the branches. (I should have made them longer because once I got everything on them I thought they weren't going to hold. They did though.)

 I then added more cardboard on the sides and taped up gaps. I also shoved chunks of scrap styrofoam in areas to make it more organic.

To add in the ease of transporting, (and to make it look more professional) I added a piece of cardboard to the back. This is relatively light and the cardboard will be able to rest on the dolly (two wheeled cart).

Now the fun part. I took Great Stuf foam and lightly ran it in vertical lines up and down the trunk. On the spots where I had the boards I made knots and clumps of the foam.

This took several cans of Great Stuf. After it hardened I stood it up and touched up some spots.

To Be Continued.....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Giant Movie Reel Prop

So I was asked at the last minute to make a giant movie reel prop for a stage.This is what it ended up looking like.

According to the project triangle, this was going to be cheap and fast.

I started out with 3/4" pink styrofoam. The color doesn't matter.  The pink and blue styrofoams are denser than the regular white stuff. I measured out two 4'x4' squares and cut out the two outside reel wheels from it.  (I forgot to take pictures of this.)  Then I cut out a small separate piece to serve as the film.  This piece (shown behind the main reel) is shaped like a donut with the hole cut out from the middle. The piece shown is the front. Does this make sense or should I type slower? 

On the inside of the back piece, I glued some styrofoam pieces in a circle to hold the cardboard in the next step. This will make more sense as we go along.

Now for the "film." I took some cardboard and cut it into a 2' wide by long enough to wrap all the way around the small donut circle that I cut before. 

Here I was making sure the piece was big enough to go all the way around the styro blocks.

I test fitted the front to see if it would fit, and it did.

I attached the cardboard to the blocks with screws.
Then just to get rid of the corrugated cardboard edge I covered the edge that would be shown in masking tape.

I put the front piece back on and screwed the cardboard to the inside reel.

I dipped the screws into Gorilla Glue before screwing them in place.

Here it is standing upright.

I painted the "film" flat black.

I then cut a piece of black visquine 2 foot wide. I wrapped the visquine around the cardboard reel and taped it into place using black duct tape.

If I had more time I would have added some more details.

Here it is onstage.