Mansion at Midnight: Cheap Grecian/Roman Like Column

This is my little not so scary Halloween blog "Mansion At Midnight"
... Inspired by Disney's Haunted Mansion...
I always wanted to be at the Haunted Mansion at Midnight...

Thanks for stopping by...

In Irons

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheap Grecian/Roman Like Column

I know I am kinda all over the place on my Halloween a little here a little there...its only way I can do it with as busy as I am.

For my next project, I am planning on having a Madame Leota head bust in the garden (ok cemetery) out front for Halloween and have been looking for a column ... looked high and low...Michaels, Lowes, Home Depot, etc, but no joy.

I practically gave up on the idea until I saw the sonotubes at Lowe's (for making concrete columns).  I thought well maybe I can get one of those and paint it...then thought heck what if I got some sort of corrugated sheet and wrapped that around the column.   Further searching yielded the excitement of finding corrugated plastic sheeting and you can easily cut it with heavy duty shears (ok heavy duty scissors).

Here is a pic of the sonotube and plastic corrugated sheeting:

I then wrapped the sheeting around the sonotube column and used bathroom shower panel adhesive (to be compatible with plastic sheeting) and screwed it on the back with particle board screws (coarse thread).  I then got crown molding and promptly discovered my miter saw cannot handle a 6"crown molding so I could not put on 45 degree angle.  So I grabbed my handy skill saw and made mitered joints by hand and with a wing and a prayer made my cuts.  Make no mistake, I am no accomplished carpenter or even qualified wood butcher.  But I endeavored and I also made a small pine box and then just wrapped the crown molding straight on it and screwed that onto it and filled in gaps with caulking....didnt get the angled shape I was hoping for but I think it came out ok.

The steps are basically:

1. Get sonotube, corrugated plastic panel (its like 24"x8' and it comes in white!), bathtub panel adhesive, particle board screws, 1x4 pine board, small sheet of luan panel ($3?) and crown molding
2. Wrap the panel in a circle and insert into the sonotube and take a pencil and mark your cut on the plastic corrugated sheet.
3. I just kept the plastic sheet in the sonotube and with heavy duty shears cut it to length of the sonotube
4. I then took the plastic sheeting and ran some of the adhesive on the crowns of the fold of the corrugation (the parts that touch the sonotube) and wrapped it around the sonotube.
5. I just secured the ends with screws, they are on the back of the column so are not visible
6. Then I made a small box with the 1x4 board and cut the crown molding and secured it to the small box and put the luan panel cut to size on top of it.

I will screw straight metal brackets onto the bottom as it will be stuck into the ground in garden (ok cemetery) surrounded by hedges....then styrofoam Madame Leota Bust will be placed on top of it with the fantastic Mr Chicken video projected onto it.  I hope to have movies and pics later when finished...

Then I wanted to have a bust to be able to to do the Madame Leota effect.  So I got some of the components, part of a the stand from pot from Big Lots, a cedar finial for wooden fence post and a pvc finial from a pvc fence:

I then discovered that the pressure treated finial mated to the pvc one...sweet! Note the monster mud on hands:

I then mounted the finial to the stand, I will be spray painting the wood finial to match...

Ok here is the finished column and bust...its strange in the pics it looks un-level and color is varied I attribute that to the lense on my cheap cell phone camera. Ok I know the bust totally stinks....just not good at the paper mache thing...maybe next year I can improve on it.

And here is off to the side...
I just grabbed some spare spooky cloth that is more like webbing from dollar tree and used monster mud to make a hood on the styrofoam bust.  First time I used that stuff I think it came out ok not perfect.  I wish I could make the busts like some of the folks on Halloween forum but I have to do the best I can with budget of time and money.

I hope to post videos soon....its a pain in the butt to upload videos and convert and all....



  1. Your stuff looks great and is so simple! I think I will tackle this and the candleabra stand next week. Many thanks.

  2. Thanks! If you are not supporting a real heavy column top you dont even need the sonotube. I was able to take the other half and epoxy and screw it together. You can roll the corrugated sheet and put one end in a bucket to help secure it while you screw the ends together...once you start messing with it you will see what I am talking about...

    I plan on using this to mount a Madame Leota type bust....maybe this other half I can put like a spooky book or some other graveyard looking item...

  3. Neat tricks! Very clever. Looks great!

  4. Thanks for the nice comments Dave, coming from you that is the greatest compliment!

  5. I just had to pop back by here to say that the corrugated plastic idea is great! Very clever.

  6. Wow, thanks so much for the GREAT comments!

  7. I wonder if you can do columns like that (14") diameter & height 16 ft. I need 12 of them for my project. How much will it cost? Thanks

  8. Hi Habibah,
    The problem is that the width of the corrugated plastic is 2 feet...the length is 8 if you circle one of the sonotubes its not going to make it all the way around... I think you are going to narrow down the width of the column if you want to completely encircle the sonotubes or go with smaller sonotube diameter.

    The corrugated panel is around $10 each, the crown molding is like $12 for I believe 8 foot section.

    The sonotubes do not come in 16 foot height though. Thats going to be a problem. You will have to find a means of joining them together.

    For the dimensions you are saying, its going to be around $50 a column for you to make it as a rough estimate. You can check prices at Home Depot or Lowes

    Wow thats a lot of columns... what is your haunt going to be like?

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