Saturday, August 14, 2010

Giant Glowing Spider Web

We pride ourselves on doing “cool stuff” for Halloween Decorations. Although we surely like to do a lot of clever “animated” special effects for Halloween, we also like to do some simple Halloween decorating that makes people go “ooh and aah.” This Halloween effect definitely falls into the G-rated, tame category, and it’s nothing shockingly new. Still, we hope it will give you a few handy, less expensive ways to do awesome decorating for Halloween parties or for trick-or-treat visitors on Halloween night!

Categories: Decoration. Cool. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 15 – 30 minutes.
Expense: $1.00 - $15.00 depending on version.

"Glowing Spider Web"

A little ways back in our Halloween FX tips guide “Extreme Haunted House Make-Over” (see, we showed people how to use black-lights to make things glow. Our biggest angle was showing everyone how to use inexpensive workshop fixtures and where to find the least expensive Black Light bulbs. You will want to check this out. In this article, we’re going to cover a quick and easy way to make a HUGE glowing Halloween Decoration for your Halloween escapades.
This may same almost too simple….and it really is. Still, I want to share cost effective ways to do cool stuff that people may not have thought about.
Assuming you have your black-lights all set up, you need to fill the area with glowing decorations. How about a giant spider web? There’s several ways we can do this.

Spider web version 1:
Ingredients: Masking Tape.

Here’s the only real trick involved. Some masking tape glows vibrantly under black-light. Some does not at all. There’s no real way to know without buying a few samples from your local store (home-improvement, department store) and trying it out. The reason this is worth doing is because it’s just so inexpensive. Masking tape can be found for under a dollar.

If you want to be a “super sleuth”, for a few extra bucks ($7.00 + shipping) you can pick up a battery operated hand-held black-light. This can come in REALLY handy if you intend to create A lot of other GLOWING decorations by finding inexpensive fluorescent items like tape, string, paper, etc. It’s always hard to know if it will react to black-light without testing it first.

Once you have the black-light-reflective tape in-hand, pick a location to spin your web. It can either be a large “opening” somewhere (window, entry-way that will not be used) or simply a big, empty wall. I hardly think I’ll need to explain what to do next, but, here goes anyway. Stick the end of the tape at the highest point and roll down the tape-roll all the way to the floor (or as low as you can go) and press it against the wall. If it’s in an opening, just make sure each (the top and bottom) are secure. Then move on to doing this horizontally and diagonally. You’ll probably also want to dive each of the reaming spaces (diagonals) in half and put another tape strand in there.  You must then begin the somewhat more tedious task of putting in the “hexagonal” cross pieces. This does not need to be perfect. You can measure out equal spacing on each strand, but I wouldn’t bother. In fact, cooky, crooked strands make the web look all the more like a spooky arachnid spun the Halloween web. A foot in between the cross pieces in more than enough.
Spider web version 2:

Ingredients: Fluorescent Masking Tape.
This is the EXACT same scenario, but you can exchange the less expensive regular masking tape (it glows vibrant violet-purple) with a somewhat more pricey ($5-$10) roll of fluorescent colored masking tape. Again, you must be careful in choosing the tape. Believe it or not, although many brands of tape are labeled as having fluorescent colors, the colors do not react to (they do not glow under) black-light. Total bummer! Once you find a nice neon/fluorescent roll of tape that does, simply follow the directions in version 1.

Spider web version 3: Silhouette Web
Ingredients: Masking Tape. (This tape does NOT need to be reactive to black-light…ANY cheap masking tape will do.)
Fluorescent spray paint. Inexpensive generic or store  brands will do.
Black Plastic “drop cloth”  (2 mil or greater in thickness). For “smaller” webs, you can take a black garbage bag and cut it open.
I know, I know…the first two webs we spun weren’t exactly entanglements of ground-breaking decorating. But this third version is a little less obvious. In one way, it’s easier to deal with as you can do the whole “spinning” operation flat on the ground.
Get a large piece of cheap black plastic drop cloth. You can easily find this stuff at home-centers. It will come in rolls of various sizes. You will end up needing to cut out (use scissors) the appropriate size from the roll. I chose and 8 foot by 8 foot section. Roll the drop cloth onto the floor or ground (I used the drive way) and cut out your giant square. (Black plastic garbage bags which you most likely already have at home can also be used. Simply cut open two of the three closed edges and “unfold” the bag into a flat piece of black plastic.)
Next, follow the steps in version one (but obviously, you’ll now be horizontal, not vertical.)
Spin your masking tape web onto the plastic.

 Now, take your fluorescent spray paint and spray it along each of the strands of masking tape making your web. There’s no need to be accurate or careful. Let the paint hit the tape and all of the “over spray” form around the tape. Imagine your doing a sloppy job of painting each strand. You can use multiple fluorescent colors as well. (I used two or three.) The good news with fluorescent spray paint (unlike the tape) is that I have not yet accidentally come across any that does not react to black light.

Once you are finished and the paint has dried: You are going to peel the masking tape OFF of the plastic drop cloth. If you are really careful and patient (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can try it) you can peel the web in-tact off of the plastic and use the fluorescent web elsewhere. The masking tape web is merely a by-product of this Halloween Decoration. If you can’t do anything other than get the tangled mess of masking tape off of the drop cloth, that’s fine. Toss it away. The real gem is the silhouette of a web that you’ve created on the drop cloth. It looks REALLY COOL under black-light. What’s also extra great about this is you can easily hang it anywhere, even horizontally above your head from the ceiling. Another awesome thing is you can roll it up and save it for next year! It’s the web that keeps on giving!
For other crowd-stopping Halloween how-to tips on decorations and effects, please visit!
To see some really awesome and hard-to-find Halloween multi-media products (DVDs, CDs, downloads) please visit!

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