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The Jello Sculpture 

To start, make two batches of Jello - Orange and black cherry. I add some blue and red food color to the black cherry to make it darker. You will also add the extra gelatin to the black cherry to give it some stiffness. Pour a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of orange into your main dish as above. Use another dish for the dark Jello and pour it about 1/2 inch thick. Let them harden in the refridgerator. Once hardened, unmold the dark Jello onto a piece of wax paper. To unmold it, place the dish in a sink of hot water. Don't let the water get into the Jello. The bottom will loosen up and you can remove it by sliding it out of the dish onto the wax paper. Using a sharp knife, start carving out the trees, tombstone, fence, bats, ghosts, and whatever you want out of the dark Jello. The tree and things in the foreground should be the thickest Jello. Slice the farther back items a bit thinner and make the ghosts out of thin slivers. Lay the cut out pieces in the orange Jello to create the scene.

Now mix up another batch of orange Jello and let it cool, but not solidify. Pour a bit in the first dish. This is done to set (glue) the dark pieces in place. If you just pour in all the orange Jello, the dark pieces will float about and mess up the artwork. Put it in the refridgerator. Once that touch of orange Jello has set, take it out and pour in some cool orange Jello to fill the dish. Put it back in the fridge to set.

Now comes the neat part. Overnight (24+ hours later), the Jello will set and the dark pieces will start to become transparent. The thinnest ghost pieces will be just a shadow of their original color. The thickest pieces will retain their dark color. Using this technique, you can make the tombstones thinner in the rear of the graveyard and they will look like they are farther away. Use your imagination and create any type of scene that you can carve out of Jello.

Mummy's Eyes (mellon balls)

If you still need food for your party, why not try mellon balls dabbed with a bit of blue food coloring to look like eyes.

The Graveyard Fence

 

Unpainted fence showing the stagger and the supporting 3/4 inch tubes.

 The fence is made from 1/2 inch PVC tubing ($1.49 a section at Home Depot) and 3/4 inch tubing ($1.47 a section) with end posts made from 1 inch tubing ($2.49 a section) and 1 inch by 2 inch pine wood (comes in 8 foot sections - the length of each fence section - about $1.99 apiece). The tubing comes in 10 foot sections and you cut each section of 1/2 inch tubing into 3 pieces, each 3 feet 4 inches long. The 3/4 inch tubing is cut 47.25 inches long (2 pieces per 10 foot section). This is so the bottoms will touch the ground and support the fence when installed. The tubes are placed 8 inches apart. I staggered the tubing up and down. The stagger is 8 inches up and 5 inches up. The end pieces and center pieces are the 3/4 inch tubing. If I could do it again, I would have have made the second tube a down tube instead of an up tube. My concept changed as I built the pieces. Originally, I was going to have skull heads that I was going to cast in plaster on top of each 3/4 inch tube. The casting did not work well and the pieces would have been too heavy.

The tubing is held in place by 1 inch screws. Drill a small guide hole first and then screw in the screw. I tried to shortcut this and not drill a guide hold first and when the screw hit the tubing, it slipped and the screwdriver went into my finger. Ouch!.

Remember three rules: 1. Measure twice, cut once; 2. When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time (Don't get overwhelmed by the whole project); and 3. Don't take shortcuts.

 

The drilling jig.
 When drilling the wood, I measured each section and made sure it was exactly 8 feet long. The pieces are never exact. I then marked the wood every 8 inches and to save time, clamped four sections and a scrap piece of wood to my work bench. I used a smaller clamp to make sure that the wood stayed in line (arrow #2) as I drilled. Holes (arrow #1) were drilled with a bit and brace and adjustable bit from Sears. A piece of scrap wood supported my pieces to be drilled (arrow #4). As I moved the whole section, I stuck a cut piece of 1/2 inch tubing in the holes to make sure that everything lined up (arrow #3). If you use an adjustable bit, make sure that the tubing fits after every hole is drilled. I found that the adjustment kept getting smaller the deeper into the hole it went. I had to grind out a few of the holes after cutting.

 The cone making process
 The tops of the fence posts were a problem. I could have cut grooves and slipped in a piece of triangular foam as shown on Scott's page, but I wanted something different. After my casting failures, I decided upon foam spikes. I used a can of Great Stuff expanding foam and made paper cones for the spike shape. the cones were scotch taped into place and the tops cut off to allow the applicator tube to slip into it and squirt the foam. When the foam hardened, I peeled the paper off and had spikes. This served two purposes: 1. I did not want rain to get into the tubes and rust my screws; 2. I wanted some type of spike on top of the fence. The foam spikes were painted with latex paint and then later spray painted black. They look pretty good. I was going to cast Skeleton heads in the foam, but the instructions say that the foam will harden within 2 hours and clog the applicator. Hence, once the foam is started, you should use it all up in one sitting. With the extra foam, I made a few giant bugs on newspaper which you can see below.

 Pipe within a pipe for the end posts
 The end posts were made from 1 inch PVC tubing. Each piece is 47.25 inches long and I have inserted a 1/2 inch PVC tube, the same length, into each tube and screwed it into place with 1/2 inch #6 sheet metal screws. The ends of the inner tube were wrapped with duct tape to make them fit snuggly into the 1 inch tube. This serves two purposes: 1. It allows you to center the inner tube for support of the screws and attachments and 2. the inner tube will slide over metal rebar (about 20 inches long) hammered into the ground and used to support the fence. L shaped brackets hold the end of the fence to the end post. For 5 sections of fence and two gates, I needed 9 end posts. The end posts will have skulls on top.

The finished fence
 Here is the finished fence. It took several weeks of work and painting (we had a week of rain so I did not want to paint except on a clear dry day) so it is not something that you will throw together a few days before Halloween. My greatest fear is that kids will try to climb on it. Since it is built for show rather than strength, the first 65 pound kid will probably snap the railing. I have made some signs, but small kids rarely or barely read signs. It has held up perfectly for over 16 years, but alas, it was time to toss it and move on.

The Halloween Museum, page 1

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags, page 2

Halloween Parties and Decorations, page 3

Halloween History, page 4

Halloween Crepe Aprons from 1910s to 1920s, page 5

The Pirate and Retirement Home Parties, page 7

The Black & White and Pajama Parties, page 8a

The Hippie and Jumpsuit Parties, page 8b

The Hobos, Togas and Murder Mystery Parties, page 8c

The Famous Couples Party 2013 and the Day of the Dead Party, page 8d

Vintage Halloween Costumes for Sale, page 9a

Vintage Halloween Costumes for Sale, page 9b

Vintage Halloween Trick or Treat Bags for Sale, page 10

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Copyright 2006 through 2016 by Stuart Schneider. Do not use any parts of these pages without written permission.