Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jack Skellington's Gates

The inspiration
For Halloween 2011 I decided to attempt to make Jack Skellington's gates from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas.  My plan was to make them entirely out of PVC pipe and then build a wood stand to hang them off of.  I will attempt to write a tutorial on how I did this but unfortunately, I am always forgetting to stop and photograph my steps. Luckily, there isn't a whole lot that is really needed visually to explain how I made it as it is a pretty simple build. 

The supplies needed are PVC pipe (I used half inch as I wanted to keep the weight as low as possible) PVC connectors, a child's hula hoop, adhesive for the PVC, hot glue gun & sticks, empty water bottles, black pipe cleaners and about 4 cans of flat black spray paint. (I use the .97 cent ones sold at Walmart as I think it is the best spray paint in that price range and I prefer it over Home Depot and Lowes generic brands)  You will also need something to hold up the gates - I used two 2x4s and bungee cords to attach the gates temporarily to my stone pilars but if you want it free standing in your yard, you'd need more wood than just two. 

 Somewhere I have my original design plans with the exact number of connectors, PVC pipe, the lengths of each piece, etc.  When I get a little more time, I will come back here and edit that information in.  If you're reading this and plan to build the gates, post a comment below and I will make sure to get them added (because if its 2013 and the info isn't here, it's because I forgot to come back and add it) 

I am going to sum up the process of the build because its basically just like tinker toys, you piece all the connectors and PVC together.  For the eyes and the top triangles, I used 3 pipe cleaners twisted together, hot glued and then spay painted. Use black pipe cleaners. You can see I used orange because I ran out of black and it was a real chore to get the paint onto every little fiber to make it black. 

The mouth was made out of water bottles that I cut the tops and bottoms off of and rolled them into tubes and hot glued them to stay. I threaded some wire in the center, hot glued the ends and attached them to the hula hoop. 

Note that the hula hoop is child sized. A regular hula hoop would have either made the gates humongous or the face would have been out of proportion to how the official gates look.

I will add more pictures of the hinge mechanism (again, all PVC) and the stands that I built.

Due to the curved top of the gates, I wasn't able to use PVC connectors to join the vertical bars that connect to the curved top. My solution was to cut those bars at an angle and then hot glue the seams. So far they have held up great. (I did the same process for where the other vertical bars met the bottom of the pumpkin circle)

 The gates are 8.5 feet tall, not hung.  Once hung, they are just over 9 feet tall. They are operational and I sort of wish I could leave them up year round. 

 The cats were something I made in a hurry because I ran out of time (I always run out of time with Halloween stuff) They are made out of black foam board and wire.

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