Boo-It-Yourself

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Graveyard / Cemetery Fence

We started out years ago showing people how to make huge, awesome tombstones for Halloween Decorations out of inexpensive Styrofoam insulation sheets found at most home-centers. We always found it outrageous that a bland store-bought Halloween tombstone would cost ten to thirty bucks! --For something made out of pennies of Styrofoam. We even video taped a segment (a popular video on YouTube) showing people how to easily make these. This sequence was specifically video taped for our ever popular “X-treme Haunted House Make-Over” (see BigScreamTV.com). But it never ended up on the DVD program. Do you know why? Because the national distributor (themselves both wholesalers and retailers of Styrofoam tombstones) was worried that it might hurt the sales of their huge-profit-margin Halloween tombstones! Well….we’ve got another simple project that might make them white as a ghost. An easy, CHEAP graveyard fence! (This must be pounded into the ground---so it must be used on grass or dirt. This is not a free-standing decoration)

Categories: Decoration. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Easy, but does require a tool to cut hard material.
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Expense: $6 - $10 per 10 foot section

"Grave Yard Fence"

Believe it or not, the store have caught on to making these, and they’re dying to sell you a tiny section (maybe 3-5 feet) for fifteen bucks! It’ll take a fortune to have a decent length of it. Once you’ve made all of your fantastic tombstones, you’ll want to “finish off” the effect by fencing ‘em in. (The fence can also be used along the walk-way or for many other non-graveyard Halloween decorating applications.)
We’re not saying this is the best looking cemetery fence. Indeed, it’s pretty sloppy. But when installed around the yard, it really adds an extra touch. And “at these prices” you can easily cover some large territory for only a few dollars.






Ingredients:
PVC pipe, ½ inch diameter.
Gray and or Black Spray Paint.
Tape: electrical or masking or cellophane.
TOOLS: hacksaw, hammer, tape-measure.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe is that white, plastic pipe that comes in 3-10 ft sections at your local home center. It comes in various diameters and it’s often used for sprinkler water piping. It has many, many uses in liquid transportation, but we’re interested in it because it is really inexpensive!

You’ll need two 10 ft. lengths of PVC pipe (1/2 inch diameter) for every ten feet of yard that you want to span. (You DO NOT need a truck to haul this—stay tuned.) The only reason I did not list this decoration as SUPER easy is because a non-craft tool of some sort will be needed to cut the pipe. Although it is rather soft and easy, it takes more than a pair of scissors. You’ll probably want to use a hack-saw because most households have one. If you don’t, cheap hacksaws (and a newer version that looks somewhat like a serrated knife) is available for a few bucks. Either bring your hacksaw with you to the home center (and leave it in the car) or purchase a cheap one at the home center. Purchase the amount of piping you’ll need. Bring it out to your vehicle. If you have and SUV, you’ll probably get it to fit inside. If you don’t, just cut the 10 ft. pipes in half (into 5 ft sections) and toss ‘em into the car.
Once home, cut four 2 ½ foot sections (out of either the five foot sections or the ten foot sections that you brought home) for every ten feet of yard length you want to span. You should end up with either a ten foot length or two five foot lengths and 4 2 ½ foot lengths for each 10 feet of yard. Truthfully, I recommend you just cut the ten foot lengths into five foot sections as well. Two reasons: It tends to look better in the finished project, and it’s easier to store for next year.


The six 10 ft PVC pipes that I bought were enough for 30 feet of fencing.
Most PVC piping has annoyingly inconvenient manufacturer information printed along the side of it. May sure you cover that over when you are spray painting it. Take your black and/or gray spray paint and “coat to taste.” Some of you may like totally gray fences.
 




Cover any printing on the PVC pipe.
Some may like black with a powdering of gray on top. I prefer simply powdering my white fence with black. A completely black fence is not recommended because NO ONE will see it! (And they may even trip over it.) That brings up a good safety tip: Keep the fence in areas that people will not be crossing. It’s okay to have it alongside a walkway, but note that this fence is for decoration only. It will not have any ability whatsoever to withstand any force of any kind!

Once you have your sections of PVC, this project is ready for “installation.” This project must be finished “on site,” so if it’s not time to actually put up the Halloween Decorations, then put it aside until the big day.

Once you are ready to install the fence, take a tape measure and lay a 2 ½ pipe every 2 1/4 feet along the ground that you will be fencing in. (Yes, I wrote 2 ¼ feet! You must have some overlap on your top pieces to ‘tie’ them together.) Note: be sure there are not electrical or water or other “lines” running under the ground where you will be inserting these pipes. Next, get your trusty hammer and pound those 2 ½ pipe “stakes” into the ground. (No need to be “level” or straight. In fact, I encourage some sloppy tilting and angling. (You can also add MORE vertical stakes in between at random…just to “add” to the sloppy, irregular, haunted effect. )This is a “haunted” fence! Just make sure the angling is along the direction of the route of the fence. All of the pipe-tops must be attached to a common railway.) Keep pounding until the pipe is sturdy enough to stand and endure some wobbling or tampering from curious human visitors.

Once the rows of pipes are sticking into the ground around your yard (be it grave yard or other), you are ready to attach the cross lengths (railway) to the top of your stakes. For this, use just about any kind of tape you can find. I preferred working with the electrical tape. It’s really a matter of choice. Lift the PVC rail pipe (the five or ten foot section) up towards the top of the first pipe. Wrap that tape around the stake pipe and the rail pipe criss-crossing over each a few times. Next, go to the far pipe, lift up the other end and do the same. You may want to, again, keep things “non-level. It’s recommended to put a little slant in the railway. Lastly, tape the two inside vertical stakes to the horizontal top rail. Voila!



You will continue this procedure down the length of your fence. If you followed. You will note that, since we placed the stakes into the ground every 2 ¼ feet, there will be overlap on the top rail. This is so you can “splice” together each section of top rail for each five or ten foot section of fence. Simply vertically overlap the two top rails at the “joint.” Again, sloppy comes out looking just fine.

For an added “touch”, you can cover the tape with small lengths of rope. I personally used the fence where people would not be seeing it “close-up” so I did not bother. An added touch: Use your spider webbing on the fence!

That’s all there is to it. When I was putting this together I was thinking, oh this isn’t going to look so good. But I will tell you, once installed, it really added a perfect touch along the walkways and the tombstone graveyard. It’s another Halloween Decoration that I keep in my bag-o-tricks.

Additional projects:
With longer (taller) stakes and several cross pieces, consider making tall “gates” for your entry way. There’s no need to make them functional (they do not need to swing or move in any way.) Just have them angled in a fixed position.


Don’t forget to add generous amounts of spider webbing and perhaps an “Enter if you dare”, “BEWARE!”, or “I’d turn back if I were you” sign.

For other crowd-stopping Halloween how-to tips on decorations and effects, please visit BooItYourself.com!

To see some really awesome and hard-to-find Halloween multi-media products (DVDs, CDs, downloads) please visit BigScreamTV.com!

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